A Japanese developer invited eight architectural firms to design a speculative residence for a rare rolling tract of land southwest of Chicago, which was surrounded by the typical suburban overbuilt Tudors. Each firm agreed to limit the size of each house to four thousand square feet. A stone wall was to be built and shared by each site, to create a common link from site to site.
Wheeler Kearns’ el-shaped parti grew from the site: solid walls to the north and west shielding traffic and winter winds, and generous glazing to south and east facing the sun and the creek below. The two wings step following the ground plane, holding the house comfortably to the land. The building’s informal agrarian character is carried within, where food preparation and dining are in full view upon entry; while the living space is open to the same. Each bedroom is provided an open bathing area, which is recognized as an integral part of the inhabitant’s daily experience.