Coffou Cottage in Michigan City, Indiana, USA, was designed by Chicago-based Brininstool + Lynch with a simple structural system, and was enhanced by a horizontal wood rain screen of Western Red Cedar to privatize the entry sequence on the North, and a wall of operable glass on the South.
+ Project description courtesy of Brininstool + Lynch
For decades the woods and fields of Southwestern Michigan and Northwestern Indiana, with their close proximity to Lake Michigan and short travel distance from the city, have offered Chicagoans weekend reprieves from urban intensity. The owners of this cottage sought to gain a sense of privacy with their vacation property, and preferred the experience of pastoral views to the natural landscape over views to the lake waters. They were fortunate to find the land that fit their aesthetic aspirations, and subsequently desired a home that would meet their modern concept for living.
The cottage was designed with a simple structural system, and was enhanced by a horizontal wood rain screen of Western Red Cedar to privatize the entry sequence on the North, and a wall of operable glass on the South. The open plan of the kitchen, dining, living area, and porch – perceived as one room – strengthens the views to the meadow and woods to the South and maximizes solar gain in the winter.
Radiant heat in the ground concrete floors is enhanced by passive solar gain, and runs throughout the three-bedroom cottage. The arrangement of rooms and glass exterior walls allows for panoramic views of the outdoor environment, while providing the most energy efficient operation. A fireplace is positioned in the front hallway that divides the bedrooms from the living area, and a custom sofa bench set into the wall across from it creates a traditional fireplace inglenook.
Western Red Cedar was used to establish a material warmth and visual interest on the exterior, using a board and batten-like pattern for an open screen, and tongue and groove siding to establish the solid form of the adjacent volume, separated by the entry sequence. The warmth of material and visual identity is continued in to the interior where the same Western Red Cedar siding is used on interior walls and cabinets as is on the exterior, and where the wood screen can be seen from the screened porch and kitchen window.
+ Project credits / data
Architect: Brininstool + Lynch
Project: Coffou Cottage
Location: Michigan City, Indiana
Design: 2006 – 2007
Construction: August 2007 – July 2008
Consultants: C.E. Anderson & Associates, Structural
Contractor: Mulcahy Builders
Materials: Wood framing, Western Red Cedar exterior siding and rain screen, Western Red Cedar millwork, transparent glass, ground concrete flooring over radiant heating system.
Project Area: 2,800 square feet
Photography: Hedrich Blessing and Christopher Barrett Photographer