Text description provided by the architects. The Cranberry Pond House is located on a parcel of an old farm in the foothills of the Catskills Mountains in New York State that is slowly re-establishing itself as a young woodland. The site overlooks a spring-fed pond that attracts frogs, turtles, beavers, osprey, herons, and ducks. The house is a sculptural form that rises above the landscape, allowing the site's ecology and hydrology to flow under the house unimpeded.
This 3-bedroom, 1,150 sqf home is designed around biophilic concepts of Refuge and Prospect – creating a house that feels both protected by its setting and expansive in relation to the calming view of the pond below. The house feels bigger than it is because of its connection to the landscape and the efficiency of the layout. The structure’s sculptural form relates to the scale and use of spaces within the house: social areas have dramatically tall ceilings, while bedrooms and bathrooms are more subdued and calming in scale. The linear form provides privacy between spaces and allows the parents' bedroom to feel like its own little cabin at the end of the house.
The south-easterly orientation of the glass wall allows for passive solar heating in the winter that is supplemented by a wood-burning stove and small electrical fan-coil units. The house and windows are highly insulated, surpassing energy code requirements to minimize energy consumption. Operable windows are planned to create a screened-porch feeling for the entire house, providing all the cooling needed in summer. Rather than designing around solar panels, the family opted to invest in renewable grid energy to offset the houses’ operational carbon footprint. Great care was taken to make the house straightforward to build with economical lumber sizes and a minimal amount of concrete. Long-wearing natural materials are specified on the exterior to minimize future maintenance.
Living in this house feels like living in the landscape, and it is a profoundly calming and restorative experience. Sun rises, storms, the moon rises and rainbows are on continuous display. Birdsong and woodland scents blow in through the windows and rain patterns on the metal roof. The project was built over many years by the architect and his family as a necessary escape from their noisy apartment and chaotic life in Manhattan.