|The House on the Rock from the Southwest.||The Southern Elevation from below.||From the Southeast.|
Juniper Point in Pine Orchard, a section of Branford, Connecticut, is developed as a Planned Residential Community. There are 24 home sites on 23 acres with most of the sites 15-16,000 square feet in area. More than half of the land is held collectively by all the residents to preserve-as much as possible-the natural character of this extraordinary place.
The site for this house is dominated by a 16-foot high rock outcropping-a geological occurrence common to the Connecticut coastline. The form of the house emerged from an appreciation of the ecological goals of the developer of the land, and the dramatic horizontal plates of rock pushed up through the crust of the earth which form the surface of the site.
The house is not a single object placed on top of the rock: each of the major rooms of the program is set at its own level so that traversing the site and ascending to the top of the rock would be accomplished inside of the house. The hallway that originates at the rear entry near the garage begins a coursing which gathers circulation as it ascends. Small hallways split off, a cantilevered steel stair springs from the top of the rock to reach the library on the second floor.
Even though from the public side of the rock, the house appears to completely occupy the top of the rock, the highest elevation of the original rock is actually preserved in the rear of the house, becoming the symbolic center. The house wraps around the pinnacle, protecting it from view, and claiming it as private in an environment where the houses are quite close together.
The 5800 square foot house is constructed with a wood frame, and synthetic stucco (Dryvit) exterior skin. Custom aluminum windows fill the openings. All of the rooms on the first floor have polished concrete floors. The second floor is end grain fur. The kitchen cabinets are Anigre, the counters are concrete, cast in plastic-lined forms to achieve a surface of uncommon smoothness. The backsplash of the kitchen is sandblasted glass. At the corner overlooking the front hall, the glass is doubled, each layer laying flush with the surface of the wall. Light from hall is admitted to the kitchen through the translucent glass. The window sills are aluminum. The decks are Pao Lope. The mechanical system is propane fired hot water for heating with radiant slabs on the first floor and fin tube above. Air conditioning is supplied by a separate system and ducted through the structure.