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Butterfly house in the forest

This stunning forest home is located on a steep north-facing escarpment 80 feet above Crabtree Creek in Raleigh, North Carolina. Designed by Frank Harmon Architect, the scope of the design was to construct a home that is sensitive to the site by protecting the natural habitat as much as possible. The house was perched off the ground on a series of sono-tube formed concrete piers and wooden trusses allowing minimal site disturbance. The wooden trusses permit air and water to flow under the building, preserving the hydrology of the escarpment. The house was designed with a butterfly-shaped roof to allow views to open out to the north towards the creek and to funnel rainwater into a collection system on the south side. The residence was designed to allow unparalleled views with storefront glass and a steel facade that stretches from the floor to the ceiling. Contrasting the window wall is the solid thick wall to the south. The solid wall never touches the roof allowing the house to have a private face to the street while maintaining views through the clerestory windows towards the forest.

Entrance to the house is a progression from the top of the hill, across a bridge, and into a balcony foyer, at which point the drama of the scenery outside fills the interior through north-facing glass walls.

At all times of the day, the house is filled with a view of nature and, by day, dappled light.

Strickland-Ferris Residence - Frank Harmon Architect-4

The architect used salvaged steel for an elegant stair that glides along the glass wall, and the home’s owner found sheets of scrap metal to clad the kitchen’s backsplash.

Laminated wood columns and beams strengthen the presence of nature, adding an element of warmth to the interior, echoing the trees beyond.

Strickland-Ferris Residence - Frank Harmon Architect-5

From outside at night, the house appears as a fragile, luminous tent cradled by the forest.

Strickland-Ferris Residence - Frank Harmon Architect-Site Plan

Strickland-Ferris Residence - Frank Harmon Architect-Site Section

Strickland-Ferris Residence - Frank Harmon Architect-Floor Plan1

Strickland-Ferris Residence - Frank Harmon Architect-Floor Plan2

Strickland-Ferris Residence - Frank Harmon Architect-Section Plan

Photos: Timothy Hursley and Jeffrey Jacobs

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