Westport HouseWestport, MA | completed 2006
Heather Weiss, Project Architect
Charles Rose Architects Inc.
The design of this weekend home was an unusual collaboration between owner and architect. Owner Rob Haimes had a strong interest in architecture but little formal training; he approached Charles Rose Architects with a proposal to take him on as both a client and an apprentice. Heather, as project architect from schematic design through construction, worked closely with Rob from the beginning of the design process to explore and refine the siting and massing of the house, and then to develop plans and details.
Sited on a large and predominantly wooded riverfront lot, the house is positioned on a bluff at the edge of a natural clearing, oriented to maximize river views. While the massing establishes a strong connection to the outdoors by forming an "L" shape around the clearing, many of the interior spaces retain a "cozy" feel: small in scale, with built-ins or fireplaces that create a sense of intimacy in the room. Clerestory windows created by sloping, folding roof planes and expanses of glass introduce abundant natural light throughout the two-story residence.
The house is heated and cooled by an energy-efficient geothermal heat pump system which utilizes a standing column well; life-cycle cost analysis showed that the initial cost increase would be offset within 10 years by energy savings.