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Field House by Wendell Burnette Architects

By Sophie Johnson


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Wendell Burnette Architects created this modern home on a 16 acre field in the rural area of Ellington, Wisconsin, USA.

Its simple, zinc-clad form serves as a lone sentinel that protects the nearby orchard from harsh winter winds.

Field House by Wendell Burnette Architects:

“Field House, designed by Wendell Burnette Architects, is sited in 16-acre crop field in an area of farmland northeast of Wisconsin.  

It is a site that has been farmed for generations; a sort of “altered landscape” dominated by stoic structures of utility, quarries that harvest limestone and native grasses, wetlands and forests competing for space and attention.  

Full of natural and man-made conditions, the site itself is understood as a garden.  The client requested a sensitivity for the space, the farmland and the prairie and has a passion for collecting significant objects of art and design.  

Prior to construction, the site had a fixture of wild apple trees that grew along the fence, lining the type of the site, that served as a memory for the client of his childhood.

The architects ask, “Might we plant a memory piece in honor of the father?”

The Field House adopts its context and from a distance appears to be a stoic structure in the landscape, only to reveal its purpose close up.  It shields the field on the approach, which includes a tree-lined gravel drive with a constructed apple orchard.  

Once within the boundaries of the house and its site, the house and orchard frame a view of the field on which corn, soybean, wheat and oats grow.

The house itself is a simple 5,000 square foot box clad in a zinc galvanized metal skin, akin to many constructed objects in landscape, such as neighboring silos.  

It is a simple structure, punctuated by specific moments of experience that range from compression-release,  to intimate conversations by the warmth of fire, to a morning coffee in the sun, to a gallery of “the art and books of a lifetime”, to a silo ladder that ascends to a secret roof-top observatory.  

The sensory qualities of time, memory and space are reflected as a part of the architectural form that changes with the seasons and the environmental conditions.”

Photos by: Bill Timmerman

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About Sophie Johnson

As the senior editor for HomeDSGN, Sophie is the ultimate authority on all things home. With years of experience and a deep passion for home decor, she brings an unparalleled level of expertise to everything she does. From decorating and interior design or from cleaning to organization, her insights and guidance are invaluable to anyone looking to transform their living space. Learn more about HomeDSGN's Editorial Process.

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