The four-level abode, designed by architect Robert Gurney, embraces the environment with massive glass.
Deep in the woods of Glen Echo, Maryland, a house was falling down a steep hill. So, architect Robert Gurney razed it and replaced it with a home designed to not just overcome the challenges of the precipitous landscape, but to take advantage of it to create a perceptual surprise.
Approaching the home from the street in Glen Echo (about two miles from Washington, D.C.), the rectangular house blends in with its neighboring two-story structures. Charred wood siding and floor-to-ceiling glass form a façade bookended by concrete walls that anchor the structure into the earth. Once inside the 4,542 square-foot home, visitors are surprised by views of the woodlands on the fringe of the Potomac River through the home’s massive window wall.
“When you first get into the house, you’re looking into this window wall, and you immediately feel like you’re in a more natural and serene environment,” Gurney says. “The idea was to change your perception from the suburban community and transition into this phenomenon where you’re at one with nature.”