East House by Peter Rose + Partners

A moveable site-cast concrete facade among the native shrubs on the Martha’s Vineyard coastline.

Design
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Nestled amongst the native shrubs on the Martha’s Vineyard coastline in Chilmark, Massachusetts, is the 4,000 square-foot East House by Peter Rose + Partners. Featuring a site-cast facade of 10-inch-thick concrete and sustainably-harvested Spanish Cedar, the house has been laid out in the form of a collection of concrete boxes, each oriented to “achieve both subtle and dramatic responses to the landscape.” Interestingly, each box was specially constructed to withstand the coastal bluff erosion of the area: by casting the floor of each three- and four-sided structural unit in concrete instead of wood, Rose and his team ensured that the East House was completely moveable as each unit can be lifted individually and moved far from the coast if necessary. Within the rugged exterior, each interior space has been finished with a stone floor while Douglas Fir and Alaskan Cedar planked walls offer a soft yet durable touch to the space within.

Carefully considering the landscape and environment around it, the house is nearly invisible from the nearby slope and employs a rainwater collection system — which casts water from the interstitial roofs into a below-ground cistern for use in irrigation) — while geothermal wells, calibrated window openings and the thermal mass of the concrete create natural ventilation while buffering against heat gain. Perhaps best of all, the operable windows can be pulled back to allow the units to amplify the sound of the ocean and bring calming sea breezes throughout the entirety of the space.

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