Chicago based architects Brininstool + Lynch designed a residence of sheer simplicity, sophistication and efficiency. The Wood House in Chicago, Illinois, is a residence with evident ‘Miesian’ architectural elements; a tribute to the grand master of modernism and minimalism. Clean lines, efficient spatial organization, the elegance of good brickwork, the material sophistication and the wide openings, make this a residence that Mies van der Rohe would have certainly approved.
Brininstool + Lynch’s Wood House features a series of spaces that present a sense of privacy within an urban neighborhood, while providing the residents with spacious, open and bright rooms suitable to enjoy everyday living in comfort. This significantly large, L shaped residence is split in three levels; each floor features its own distinctive ambiance, based on different programmatic use and inhabitation needs.
The first floor (ground floor level) has a communal feeling and is characterized by floor-to-ceiling views from the garden in the front to the courtyard at the back, from living room, to kitchen, to media room.
The second floor features a set of private rooms that have both northern and eastern light, perfectly suitable for creating comfortable sleeping spaces.
The third floor provides solitude for working while it offers impressive views of the adjacent outdoor areas including the courtyard, the neighborhood, and the city skyline. All three floors, despite their different atmosphere they all come together in harmony and create a rational and inspiring response to the basic needs of dwelling.
The Wood House features large openings in most rooms, which together with the birch trees planted along the front fence and the visual depth of the courtyard, blur the boundaries between internal and external territories while the generate a unique, comfortable feel.
Additionally, this inside-outside visual interaction is continued by the well-thought material selection found throughout the house. Weathered copper panels hang above the fireplace in the living room and also continue to the exterior, where two panels are operable for outdoor storage and stair access to the roof deck.
The Wood House contains an elegant open riser stair, built of walnut and wrapped around a steel plate, which is illuminated by natural light from the skylight above and a large punched window on the first floor below.
The stair ascends to the privacy of the bedroom floor, which has a similar material palette to the first, but where the first floor is open and animated; the second floor is quiet and subdued.
The third floor is accessed by a simple wooden stair behind a flush millwork door at the end of the second floor hallway, and houses a private study and guest suite. Each space has its own deck and green roof with views to the sky and the courtyard below. On this level the continuous large windows dominate the space, while they provide an ethereal quality of light to the interior.
This floor is designed as a solitude retreat within the house; it features an intimate yet open and relaxed feel. A small fireplace in the study, combined with the walnut flooring and millwork continuing into this area, it evokes a traditional library environment. But the views, copper screens, connections to the exterior and careful detailing create a serene, distinctive environment for the residents to relish.
Words: Ivi Vassilopoulou