A wooded point of land on the shore of Virginia's Lake Anna presented architect Robert M. Gurney and project designer Claire L. Andreas with the perfect stage for this strikingly sculptural weekend retreat. Simple and strong in its geometry and materials, the building uses the site's parklike setting as a foil for, in Gurney's words, “something rigorous ... ordered and orderly.”
The ground floor links the main house and garage in an L-shaped plan—brick at the entry side and glass facing the water—that acts as a gateway between the pine forest and the shore. The building's most striking feature is the second floor, a copper-clad form that reads as a completely independent object perched atop the ground floor. Trapezoidal in section, the resulting volume creates appealingly eccentric interior spaces. Glazed, recessed end walls orient toward view corridors through the trees to the lake.
Our judges voiced unanimous approval, praising Gurney's sophisticated details and calling the cumulative effect “pretty awesome.” As a dramatic gesture, they noted, the house may be slightly out of step with today's post-bubble expectations, but it succeeds brilliantly on its own terms. As one judge summed it up: “This is a winner right here.”
Entrant/Architect: Robert M. Gurney, FAIA, Alexandria, Va.
Builder: Loudin Building Systems, Louisa, Va.
Interior designer: Baron Gurney Interiors, Washington, D.C.
Living space: 6,650 square feet
Site: 1.69 acres
Construction cost: Withheld
Photographer: Maxwell MacKenzie
Bathroom fittings: Duravit USA, Kohler Co., TOTO USA; Bathroom fixtures: Kohler Co., KWC America, Speakman Co., Vola A/S; Cooktop: Wolf Appliance; Dishwasher: Miele; Kitchen fittings: Kohler Co.; Kitchen fixtures: Dornbracht Americas; Lighting fixtures: BEGA/US, Delta Light USA, Lightolier; Oven/range: Thermador; Paints/stains/wall finishes: The Sherwin-Williams Co.; Refrigerators: GE Consumer & Industrial, Sub-Zero