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Bohlin Cywinski Jackson

Combs Point Residence, Finger Lakes, New York

This retreat is set in a diverse world of lake, deciduous and evergreen forest, valley and stream. Slipped into the site with a light touch, the residence and its outbuildings possess a transparency that reveals the richly varied qualities of this natural place. Designed for a family that treasures life on the water, it is both a center of activity and a quiet retreat.

  • Nic Lehoux
  • Bohlin Cywinski Jackson

Photo:

The Nature of Place

A delicate necklace of buildings starts from the fanning delta at the lake’s edge, stretches through a forested glen and leads to the waterfall at its head. An elevated boardwalk echoes the twisting course of the stream as it connects the buildings and eventually dissolves into a path leading to the falls. Upstream, the guesthouse and office/gym inhabit the narrow valley meadow with its forested edges. Downstream, the main building’s large living space opens to a full view of the deep lake, broad sky and changing weather.

  • Nic Lehoux
  • Nic Lehoux
  • Nic Lehoux
  • Nic Lehoux
  • Nic Lehoux

Photo:

The Nature of People

The residence is a weekend and holiday retreat for a family of four. An escape from the modern world, it is a place for the family and their guests to spend time together and enjoy nature and activities on the lake, free from technological distractions. Since cooking is a big part of their life, the house is designed around the kitchen as the hearth; large decks facilitate cooking and entertaining outside.

  • Nic Lehoux
  • Nic Lehoux
  • Nic Lehoux
  • Nic Lehoux

Photo:

The Nature of Materials

Generous glazing allows all of the spaces to feel connected to the natural world, near and far: the sky, the water, vegetation and light. Building orientation and placement were carefully studied to maintain privacy. Operable windows and large sliding doors provide natural ventilation as the building reaches up for the south sun. The house's articulated structural frame and steel spine are highlighted by the warmth of Douglas fir beams and decking. The rugged central fireplace roots the structure to the gravel shore and is cast from board-formed concrete. Clear-finished Western red cedar clads the taut volumes of the structures. 

  • Nic Lehoux
  • Nic Lehoux
  • Nic Lehoux
  • Nic Lehoux
  • Nic Lehoux

Photo:

  • Location Finger Lakes, New York
  • Dates 2005-2009
  • Size 8,365 sf
  • Related Links
  • "This is simply a most beautiful and poetic home...all pieces “lightly touch’ the earth. Consistent in detailing, a logical use of steel and the blurring of the interior boundaries make this an exquisite piece of architecture. Evocative, for sure..."

    —AIA Jury

  • Awards/Honors
  • 2013
    Honor Award for Residential Landscape Design, American Society of Landscape Architects
  • 2012
    Award of Excellence, AIA New York State
  • 2011
    Design Award, One and Two Family Custom Residences Category, AIA Housing Award
  • 2010
    Design Award, Western Red Cedar Architectural Design Awards
  • 2009
    Special Award, Wood Design Awards

    Award of Excellence, AIA Northeastern Pennsylvania

    Honor Award for Design, AIA Pennsylvania

Related Work The Web of Circumstance

  • The Nature of Place
  • The Nature of People
  • The Nature of Materials