robert m. gurney, aia, architect, alexandria, va.

Sometimes a spectacular view inspires living spaces that are purely for fun. This innovative renovation, conceived as a village stretched across the top of a mountain, includes a four-story observation tower, high enough to see the sunsets over the ridge in the west. And the axis of the entry bridge culminates at the rear of the house in a 25-foot-long platform that hovers above an apple orchard.

Architect Bob Gurney expanded the house by orienting a series of additions toward optimal views. The new scheme includes six volumes painted different colors and clad in materials including board and batten, clapboard, and corrugated metal. Simple shed roofs befit the rural setting, but also simplified construction. "By isolating individual pieces I avoided a lot of complex hips and valleys, which can create a problem with leaking," Gurney says. The cluster concept has another advantage: With spaces only one room deep, there's a majestic view from anywhere in the house.

project architect: Robert M. Gurney, AIA, Robert M. Gurney, AIA, Architect
general contractor: David Parish, Quality Homes, Keyser, W.Va.
project size: 2,240 square feet before; 4,200 square feet after
site size: 53 acres
construction cost: $80 per square foot
photographer: Hoachlander Davis Photography