Jonathan Ramsey AIA

Jonathan Ramsey AIA

Des Moines, IA, US

Midwest Retreat From Northwest
Midwest Retreat From Northwest

Midwest Retreat

This award-winning retreat is located on a bucolic 700-acre site in the rolling hills of rural Iowa. The site originally contained a mix of prairie, woodland and former farmland. With assistance from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, the owner has restored much of the fallow farmland and non-native woodlands back to its native prairie ecology. With its siting in an existing clearing, as well as its form and materiality, the building echoes the agrarian typologies of the region. The building is elongated in an east/west direction in order to maximize daylight control and to frame views of a pond to the east and a lone tree to the west.

Located less than an hour away from the client’s primary residence in an urban area, this retreat acts as an escape from the stress of the office and the city.  The retreat was positioned on a remote portion of the property in order to prevent views both in and out to other signs of civilization; this results in a sense of being completely removed from the city.

The openness and flexibility of the plan allows the client to have personal reflection time with his family and large social gatherings.  The antique bar, hearth and low kitchen define a large flexible living space for entertaining; while the guest rooms provide an inmate location for reading and resting.  All of the spaces allow for a sense of connection to the outdoors - this includes the bathroom which allows daylight to filter in through the sides and opening at the ceiling.

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Status: Built
Location: Rural Iowa
My Role: Project Manager / Project Architect
Additional Credits: BNIM