Church – Jett Residence by John DeSalvo Design

By • Sep 21, 2011

Chicaco-based studio John DeSalvo Design has completed the Church – Jett Residence project in 2008.

This 1,400 square foot two story home was designed for a Chicago couple who wanted a compact and sustainable get away from their hectic urban lives.

The two bedroom, two bathroom weekend retreat is located just minutes walk from Lake Michigan in Michigan City, Indiana, and has been awarded the American Institute of Architects Small Project Award 2011.

Church – Jett Residence by John DeSalvo Design:

“This compact beach house located near Lake Michigan in Northern Indiana was designed for Dr. Nancy Church, a Chicago based robotic gynecological surgeon by architect John DeSalvo. The Dr. wanted to have a retreat away from her hectic city practice where she and her husband Charlie Jett could entertain friends, do their gardening and relax. The aesthetic of the home grew out of “Doctor Nancy’s “ early training as a metal sculptress, her desire to house her contemporary art and mid century furniture collection and DeSalvo’s German modernist background.

The result is a rectangular volume that maximizes the interior space by building up to the required setbacks and height allowances. It’s wood frame and open joist construction is a 16 feet wide, 48 feet long and 23 feet high volume with an additional block at the back for bathrooms, laundry and storage. The entire structure is stabilized and supported by the massive poured in place, rough finish concrete hearth that forms the structural support and heart of the home.

Because the slopped sand dune site was only 50 wide by 120 deep. Retaining walls at the top, side and bottom of the site placed within the setbacks had to be constructed first to create a level buildable area. The house was designed to set on the leveled site 14 feet above the existing street and protected from north by slope of the dune. The restricted resultant area was the biggest design challenge and greatest gift in creating this small home with a visual impact that far exceeds its square footage. The key to fulfilling this was to create a generous height at the ground level; The 11 foot clear height entertainment space gave an impression of a much larger footprint. A double height volume cut through the second floor plan created a gathering center point for the home and further opened up the space across floor levels to take full advantage of square footage both visually and volumetrically.

To visually reinforce the transparency and openness of the space a perforated steel stair with catwalk bridges the 2 sleeping lofts. The interior and exterior stairs translucent bent plate form sits on a center rectangular tube beam and offers a slip resistant treads. Stainless steel cable balustrade and exposed fastener steel railing supports complete the stair design both inside and out.

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