Project DescriptionCustom / 3,000 Square Feet or Less / Merit
Rooted in ledge rock and floating beyond its old footprint, this house evokes Italian hill town construction. “We’re building on top of the ruins of the previous culture, magnifying the things they built that could be kept permanent,” says David Salmela, FAIA. In fact, Italian immigrants once lived on this land, part of an urban development project overlooking Duluth and the shipping harbor. Salmela saved the existing 1888 house’s foundation, retaining walls, and site stairs (all stained white), adding simple masonry piers to support the addition.
Glass walls, slatted pergolas, and diagonal bracing read as faceted layers in the open-plan house, which is clad in maintenance-free Richlite and cedar, like the surrounding homes. “It’s a raggedy Modernism, almost like an improvisation on a structure,” a judge said. “It’s rambling but pure in plan.” —Cheryl Weber, LEED AP