Orleans House

Orleans, USA
Photo © John Linden
Entry steps
Photo © John Linden
Detail view of entry
Photo © John Linden
Entry terrace
Photo © John Linden
Living room
Photo © John Linden
Living room showing clerestory
Photo © John Linden
View of dining area looking into kitchen
Photo © John Linden
Building at dusk
Photo © John Linden
View office pavilion
Photo © John Linden
View of exterior louvers
Photo © John Linden
Charles Rose Architects
Charles Rose

Orleans House occupies one of the easternmost points in the U.S., a place exposed to salt water, light, sky, marsh, bay, barrier beach, and open ocean. Tides, wind, and waves are forever remaking the landscape; here is a world in motion. We let these elements guide us as we began designing.

Built on a bluff overlooking the Atlantic, Orleans House is a set of active forms that express free movement. The house follows a ridgeline, which begins at the bunkhouse and steps up toward the water and formal entryway. There, it reaches a commanding point on the bluff, turns a corner and opens dramatically to the water. On one side is the master bedroom; on the other is a sequence of public spaces—living, dining, and kitchen—that are book-ended by an office tower. A terrace and spa separate it from the main house.

Structurally, the house is a hybrid, with load-bearing walls and clerestory windows landside, and stainless-steel columns opposite, which allow the use of expansive glass windows seaside. The public spaces capture light, sky and water views, but sunlight is modulated by clerestory windows and fixed louvers. The effect in daytime is one of highly ambient light. A notable feature is the sculptural main stair that starts as glass (bringing light to the lower level), becomes folded wood and ends as open wood risers. While an anomaly among the weather-beaten shingled Cape houses, Orleans House is so tightly integrated with the landscape that it’s tough to spot from Pleasant Bay.

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Other Projects by Charles Rose Architects

Carl and Ruth Shapiro Campus Center, Brandeis University
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Paintrock Camp
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Chilmark House
Martha’s Vineyard, USA
Leeper Studio Complex, Atlantic Center for the Arts
New Smyrna Beach , USA
Chilmark Guest House
Martha's Vineyard, USA
Michael S. Currier Center, The Putney School
Putney, USA