The Gefter-Press is sited on a twelve-acre property accessed by crossing a quarter mile expanse of farming fields before passing into a forested site. The slow approach to the house is the initial phase of movement that instigates the organization of movement and time in the building. A series of planar organizations, the pictorial depth of the approach and view through the house, is counter to the shallow spaces and movements of the interior where the buildings is as narrow as ten feet.
The programming of the building is coordinated with the visual depth—social relations are coordinated by floor heights, relations to grade (above, at or below grade) and diagonal vistas though the house and across the courtyard. The buildings structural glazing system—nine by fourteen foot wide insulated glazing units—allows a gaze to pass through the private as well as public spaces. The glazing has two details: it is either flush with the building volume and projected inboard of the structural framing (on the east/west elevations) or six inches outboard of the structural framing (on the north/south elevations). The sills are recessed two inches below floor level. The effect it to project the interior margins of the building volume outward and to asymptotically flatten the exterior view against the interior surfaces—the background is elastically pulled to the foreground and the sense of a middle-ground is diminished. The interior is precisely defined but also it dissolves into the extended spaces and clearings in the forest. Vision is immediate and close and also distant. The simultaneity brings the space of the forest into the immediate circumstances of private life. The house can be opened to form a single volume: the two bedrooms open with interior sliding doors that match the glazing systems and form two oculus opening: when approaching the house they form a binocular effect that bifurcates the singular vantage of the house. The minor dimensions of a relatively small building cross a threshold opening to the wider field of the site.
Design Architect: Michael Bell Architecture
Project Team: Michael Bell, Thomas Long, Stephen O’Dell
Architect of Record: Stephen O’Dell
Structural Engineer: Nat Oppenheimer
Mechanical Engineer: Alteiri Sebor Wieber LLC
Photographs by Richard Barnes and Bilyana Dimitrova