Mohican Hills House by Robert M. Gurney

Located in Glen Echo, Maryland, just outside of Washington, DC, this new house is sited on a sloping, wooded lot with distant views of the Potomac River.

It was designed in 2015 by Robert M. Gurney.

Description by Robert M. Gurney

The house is positioned to preserve a majority of mature trees and is oriented toward distant views of the Potomac River and a south facing slope. A linear composition of spaces arranged along the ridge and open to an existing clearing provides a large lawn with minimal site intrusion. The house is organized around a two-story living space with an open floor plan that integrates the high-ceilinged volume with intimate spaces adjacent to the double height living space. A small office on the first floor is separated from the living spaces and is convertible to a fifth bedroom. A three story entry volume separates the master bedroom area from the subsidiary bedrooms.

Expanses of glass provide views into the wooded landscape toward the distant river and animate the house with light. A combination intersecting spaces and strategically located high glass panels insure light penetration all times of day and all times of the year.

This house employs a concrete slab throughout the main floor which provides passive solar energy assistance. The concrete is stained dark with the goal of increasing the potential solar gain and storage. Expanses of Energy Star glass provide an abundance of daylighting while solar sensitive shades mediate heat gain. Energy efficient appliances, high efficiency HVAC Equipment, wall and ceiling infrastructure with maximum insulation and a ventilated building envelope are employed with the expectation of reducing fossil fuel consumption. Large operable windows and doors are located to provide natural ventilation. Thermally modified wood is employed as an alternative to exotic or expensive hardwoods. The wood is forest managed and treated, non-toxic and durable.

Photography by Anice Hoachlander

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- by Matt Watts