_The Rabbit Hole

STORY + FORM:  After one short meeting, we were inspired by Marjorie and Dimitry, a couple from Haiti and Moscow respectively, that wanted us to design their dream house. She is a biologist, he is an anesthesiologist. They both don’t like tv, only entertaining with live music. They don’t like siding at all, only unique materials (he once saw laser cut wood in weird patterns and liked it a lot). They don’t like ranches, only really tall spaces and many stories tall. She would love to have a place to put her plants. He would like a place for his guitar and wine collection.  

And then there was the rabbit hole... 

After many long conversations about what fascinated them, the idea that stuck was Dimitry trying to describe the kind of space he likes and the ‘rabbit hole’ was the best way he could describe it. He wanted to feel like he was exploring and discovering new spaces. He wanted to be surprised about what lurked around the corner. 

This is where we stepped in. 

Carved out niches, winding staircase as one big ‘rabbit hole’, little portals, viewing platforms, a theater for mini- performances by Dimitry + friends, a concrete core structure, a vertical green wall lining the interior, rainscreens with punctures...

This residential home was seen as an opportunity to embody the role of structure and skin at a very refined detail. The clients gave us complete artistic freedom to explore our interests in materiality, structure, and form. The goal was to create a booleaned-out form as if we were carving away the hill to reveal the house. The play between form and structure became evident in the way we articulated the structural core and the outside skin. The structural core -  or the rabbit hole (see next page for description) - is made for all other program to spin off of and connect to via the stair inside. At almost every turn of the stair, there is a half or quarter level shift in the floors to keep the spaces connected to the stair and to eliminate hallways. The stair becomes the central spine for all the bedrooms and living area to feed into.

The main level consists of a traditional entry but also the entry to the ‘theater’ - a steep seating area for guests to sit and watch small performances. The theater rises from the living room and leads to the outside where guests can arrive. The skin is overlaid onto the structure via multiple linings inside and out. From the center outwards, there is a ‘green core’ lit from above for Marjorie to grow plants, next is the concrete rabbit hole lining that distinguishes stair from rooms,  and lastly, the white rainscreen lines the exterior and bleeds between being almost solid to speckled with perforations and window punctures.