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Wisconsin Architect Magazine
Wisconsin Architect E-News Archive: Mosaic January 2009

Serenity House

Location: Racine, Wisconsin
Architect: Genesis Architecture LLC
Contractor: Picasso Builders, Inc.

The Serenity House was commissioned by an international business executive of European roots who wanted a home that distilled design and function down to its essential elements. A bachelor who does not watch TV and whose wardrobe can be contained in just a few feet of hanging space, he wanted a space that was pure, serene and peaceful.

The site is a plateau of green grass bordered by trees on the sides and Lake Michigan, with its rocky shore below, on the east. The program called for a modest 3-bedroom home of around 2,700 square feet, a 2-car garage, kitchen, dining room and living room. It was built for around $500,000.

The client's home description included simple, minimalist, stark, open and clean. The experience of the lake view was paramount to him; and he valued openness more than privacy.

The design solution is a single-story, slab on grade structure, with a small basement under the guest bedrooms, that spreads out along the north-south axis with a low-profile reserved street side and a more expansive open face to the lake views to the east. At the street side, a long concrete wall creates a private front court and defines the entry point to the home. A narrow slot in this wall defines the entry axis and provides a glimpse to the lake from the street and privacy to the resident. Inside, the plan is open and essentialist.

Exterior materials include cement board, stucco and plain poured-in-place concrete. Wall construction consists of ICF concrete block. Roof and interior framing are of metal studs and light-gage steel. Exterior glazing uses a thermally broken aluminum storefront system. A 4x8 foot planning grid informs both the scored concrete floor as well as the modular siding system of cement board panels. European cabinetry, appliances and plumbing fixtures outfit the interior.

Photography: Genesis Architecture LLC

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Serenity House

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