Charles Rose Architects

Charles Rose Architects

Somerville, MA


Charles Rose Architects unveils sustainable "Farm House" on Martha's Vineyard, MA USA

By charlesrosearch
Dec 15, '15 1:53 PM EST

The tradition of modernist homes on Cape Cod and the Islands—designed by some of the most notable architects of the 20th century—is impressive. Charles Rose Architects' work in this region seeks to extend this legacy, and in doing so, embrace sustainable technologies. Our farm house employs a green roof and photovoltaic panels in an effort to tread more lightly on this beautiful landscape.  

Charles Rose Architects was commissioned to design the family's vacation home on a site in
Chilmark, adjacent to an agricultural area and with distant views of the atlantic ocean. The
house site was limited by a unique deed restriction which set the maximum height of the
structure at six feet above grade on the uphill side of the building. The design responded to this
restriction by sinking the upper floor into the grade along its north side, and stepping the two
floors of the house down the existing slope. To capture the view of the ocean and surrounding
landscape, a roof deck was set within a flat, planted roof. This strategy preserved the view-sheds
of properties further up the hill.

The immediate site and distant views, the quality of light and shadow are at the core of the design. The building’s angular shapes and overhangs are responsive to the form of the land and the need for interior shading to reduce glare and create a luminous interior. Multiple terraces, including the roof, offer a variety of vantage points and places to gather as a family. Cedar shiplap, a material that links the building with its historic context, clads the exterior. The interior is a mix of wood, metal, and stone: white-washed, wide-plank white oak; limestone; granite; walnut; and tile.