A Modernist Dreamhouse Winds Its Way Through The Woods

Ah, wouldn’t it be nice to have a rural retreat to get away from it all–“it all” being the hustle of urban living–while simultaneously taking it all in? The AIA award-winning Combs Point Residence is just the place, built to become a seamless part of the gorgeous natural landscape of Ovid, New York. Rather than constructing a single structure, architecture firm Bohlin Cywinski Jackson opted instead to separate the home into a series of units–including a main house, guesthouse, and office/exercise space–placed along the rugged nexus of finger lake, forest, valley, and stream.

Each building is specifically positioned to maximize natural light–sun in the winter and shade in the summer–and, of course, the epic views, but the alignment was also carefully considered in order to accommodate the existing landscape. “Their ‘kinked,’ string-like nature minimizes the footprint, keeps the width compact, and allows the program to sit gently on the site, from the beach point through the glen, with minimal impact,” principal Peter Bohlin and associate Todd Howard tell Co.Design.

Floor-to-ceiling windows and wood siding allows each building to blend into the surrounding environment from afar, while a raised, winding outdoor boardwalk connects the units amidst landscaping that incorporates a variety of native plant species. The project took four years to develop and construct, and in the end, all unused materials were salvaged and donated to the local chapter of Habitat for Humanity, ensuring even though they didn’t make the final cut here, they’d ultimately be put to good use.