Madison Lake House


Currently under construction:

3,900 square foot home on Lake Mendota in Madison, Wisconsin

” The modulation of light activates different spaces in my design as the sun moves around the house throughout the year. In the winter, when a blanket of snow creates a leviathan white plane over a frozen lake, there is a horizontal stillness on the surface that is marked by the sharpness of crisp winter shadows.” 

N Scott Johnson
Shoreline in the Fall

Pencil Sketch, axonometric massing study

Design Study, living and dining room looking north  

Design Study, living and dining room looking south
West Elevation Study
North and South Elevation Studies

First Floor

The entrance to the house is located along a main axis that extends from the street to the lake. A covered walkway is composed of recycled stainless steel and copper panels from ETC, a local manufacturer. The patterns are the leftover negative cutouts of pieces used to build theatrical lighting. Entering into a wood panel vestibule, the view straight ahead to the lake is curated by tall solid walls framing a view of the water through a 2 story glass curtain wall.  Morning and afternoon light streams into the living/dining area through upper clear stories along the East and West walls with a brise soleil that patterns the movement of the sun to the waves on the shore.Master bedroom and bathroom face south opens out onto a landscaped garden with an expanse of sliding glass doors and wood screens to modulate the sun.

Second Floor

A second story library with a cantilever desk has panoramic views of the lake. Two guest bedrooms are located on the second floor with a entertainment room that has a balcony overlooking the courtyard. The design of the house is informed by the horizontal nature of the site and the expanse of water beyond.

Relationship to the Changing Seasons

The white walls of the interior reflect the blue greens of the lake during the summer and the whites and greys of the expanse of frozen lake during the winter. When the lake freezes before the snow, the lake looks like black glass which inspired the lake facing glass wall. Exaggerated scuppers activate waterfalls during a rain storm that fill rain gardens in the yard. Horizontal planes of the roof are a metaphor for the surface of the lake, active in the summer and still in the winter. Windows open to collect wind like sails on a boat to ventilate the house in the summer. Openings were designed to capture the most wind based on wind rose patterns specific to the site during summer months.

Context Study Models