Project In The Forest
Project In The Forest
Since ancient times, humans have had a close affinity with the tranquility and isolation of the forest.
Perhaps it is this joy we derive from living so close to nature that got my client interested in building his new home in the woods of Westerly and Charlestown, Rhode Island.
When my client first asked me to design and build his home, I asked if I could visit the site for a while. He agreed and gave me his key, and for the next few weeks, I stayed in the little old house on the residence, a sloping, 30 acre property in the forest between Westerly and Charlestown, immersing myself in the woods around me and trying to uncover and understand the nature of the environment.
I realized that building in this natural space would present environmental obstacles and technical challenges. Always up for a challenge, I accepted the job and started my sketches.
From there, I dove headfirst into my client’s, a psychiatrist from Manhattan with an active lifestyle, vision: a relaxed, peaceful, distraction-free space for himself, his family, and his friends away from the hustle and bustle of the city. My client also envisioned his new home as a place where he could enjoy three passions of his: entertaining, cooking for guests, and open spaces. These passions turned into needs that I would have to meet with my designs, and they drove me forward, forming the basis of my direction.
My client also requested a touch of the traditional architecture of his homeland, Iran, to be present in the final design. To achieve this, I incorporated a traditional Persian dome, yard, garden, arches and facade into the plan.
Taking my client’s needs into account, I designed the new residence to take advantage of and speak to its surroundings. With such a unique location to work with, I wanted to fulfill my client’s needs in a way that wouldn’t be possible anywhere else.
Using the site’s huge area and its distance from other residences and neighborhoods to my advantage, I placed the home’s entertainment spaces away from the main structure and provided exterior access to them. I also maximized the view of the forest by leaving out the usual separator doors between the living rooms, dining rooms, and kitchen, highlighting the home’s outdoor surroundings as much as possible.
South Elevation & Section
2-Kitchen & Stairway
3-Dome Room/Living Space
14-Starry Night Deck
Location: Charlestown, RI
Size: 3,200 sq. ft interior + 1,300 sq. ft exterior terraces + 15,000 sq. ft landscaping and garden
The “Project in the Forest” residence includes the main house, a tea house, a bathhouse, an office shed, and a garden called “The Secret Persian Garden” surrounded by the woods.
The upper floor has several accessways to the outside and two main entrances, both of which open into a central core called the “Sunroom.” The Sunroom has separate accessways to all upper floor spaces, but it isn’t necessarily the focus of the plan. Each space has its own unique character and is designed for its own unique function.
The lower floor contains two bedrooms, a workshop/garage, and other service spaces. It also has two accessways to the outside. The main accessway opens to the hallway and the other one opens to one of the bedrooms. The hallway also has access to the upper level.