Launch Slideshow

Brazilian teak flooring segues onto the deck.

L-Stack House

L-Stack House

  • Brazilian teak flooring segues onto the deck.

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    Brazilian teak flooring segues onto the deck.

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    Timothy Hursley

    Brazilian teak flooring segues onto the deck.

  • Blackwells linear two-part design cleverly traverses a stream bed.

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    Blackwells linear two-part design cleverly traverses a stream bed.

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    Timothy Hursley

    Blackwell's linear two-part design cleverly traverses a stream bed.

  • The L-stack configuration makes the most of a trapezoidal lot.

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    The L-stack configuration makes the most of a trapezoidal lot.

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    Courtesy Marlon Blackwell Architect

    The L-stack configuration makes the most of a trapezoidal lot.

  • Exterior louvers are made of dense, fire-rated Brazilian redwood. They're stacked, as one might find them in a lumberyard, to create 50 percent transparency.

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    Exterior louvers are made of dense, fire-rated Brazilian redwood. They're stacked, as one might find them in a lumberyard, to create 50 percent transparency.

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    Timothy Hursley

    Exterior louvers are made of dense, fire-rated Brazilian redwood. They're stacked, as one might find them in a lumberyard, to create 50 percent transparency.

  • The family room and kitchen, which features wenge cabinets and quartz counters.

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    The family room and kitchen, which features wenge cabinets and quartz counters.

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    Timothy Hursley

    The family room and kitchen, which features wenge cabinets and quartz counters.

  • The stair is like a chute that goes outside.

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    The stair is like a chute that goes outside.

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    Timothy Hursley

    The stair is like a chute that goes outside.

  • The glass-walled stairway hinges the two volumes together.

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    The glass-walled stairway hinges the two volumes together.

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    Timothy Hursley

    The glass-walled stairway hinges the two volumes together.

  • Elevating the second story carved out almost 1,000 square feet for terraces and an outdoor kitchen.

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    Elevating the second story carved out almost 1,000 square feet for terraces and an outdoor kitchen.

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    Timothy Hursley

    Elevating the second story carved out almost 1,000 square feet for terraces and an outdoor kitchen.

  • On the second floor, hallways are spaces to occupy rather than simply move through.

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    On the second floor, hallways are spaces to occupy rather than simply move through.

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    Timothy Hursley

    On the second floor, hallways are spaces to occupy rather than simply move through.

  • A large steel window box invites sitting and sleeping.

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    A large steel window box invites sitting and sleeping.

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    Timothy Hursley

    A large steel window box invites sitting and sleeping.

marlon blackwell architect, fayetteville, ark.

Before purchasing this compact suburban lot, Marlon Blackwell, FAIA, and his family observed it for a year and a half from a rental next door. Aside from its odd shape, the trapezoidal lot had a problem most people considered insurmountable: An intermittent stream crossed the property diagonally, creating a breeding ground for mosquitoes.

Blackwell’s deft design turned those liabilities into assets. Two 18-foot-wide boxes subdivide the house’s public and private spaces. The one-story box relates to the neighborhood scale and spans the seasonal creek, while an elevated box, turned 90 degrees, frees up space for terraces beneath it. The stream bed was deepened and tilted toward a spillway to speed up the water and gain more land.

Gutters and downspouts are hidden by a Brazilian redwood rainscreen, each board laid flat for translucency. Built-in delights—such as steel box windows for sleeping and sitting and a glass-enclosed stairway that hinges the volumes together—add up to a fun family house. “When the stormwater rises and becomes a torrent, we sit on the stairs and watch it,” Blackwell says.

Our judges praised the house’s material logic and the way it owns the landscape. “It’s a datum against which the land rises and falls,” one marveled.


Project Credits
principal in charge / project architect / general contractor: Marlon Blackwell, FAIA, Marlon Blackwell Architect, www.marlonblackwell.com
landscape designer: Stuart Fulbright, Garden Architect, Fayetteville, Ark.
project size: 2,525 square feet
site size: 0.23 acre
construction cost: $182 per square foot
photography: Timothy Hursley

Product Details
bathroom fittings: Duravit USA www.duravit.us, Kohler Co. www.kohler.com, TOTO USA www.totousa.com; bathroom fixtures: Duravit USA www.duravit.us, Hudson Reed www.hudsonreed.com; dishwasher, oven/range, refrigerator: Jenn-Air www.jennair.com; hardware: Emtek Products www.emtek.com, Weslock www.weslock.com; hvac equipment: Lennox International www.lennox.com; kitchen fittings: Blanco www.blancoamerica.com; kitchen fixtures: Blanco www.blancoamerica.com, Elkay USA www.elkay.com; lighting fixtures: Artemide U.S.A. www.artemide.us, Elkay USA www.elkay.com, Eurofase www.eurofase.com; paints/stains/wall finishes: The Sherwin-Williams Co. www.sherwin-williams.com

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