Brenner House

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Brenner House

Designed for a retired professional couple, one an artist and one a motorbike enthusiast, the Brenner House sits on a 3-acre property near Newnan, Georgia, 40 minutes south of downtown Atlanta. The wooded site is adjacent to a town water reservoir with development restrictions protecting the surrounding watershed. The gently sloping terrain, the reservoir to the south and access from the north, offer ideal conditions for private outdoor entertainment space and beautiful views of the lake. In addition to the prerequisite house amenities, the program included his and her offices, a bike garage and an artist studio.

Three client requirements were integrated into the initial design concept: the studio should be a separate structure, the bike garage should not be linked to the car garage and the master bedroom should be on the second floor for privacy and views.

From these requirements, the scheme quickly evolved by placing the four primary ground floor volumes around a central entry that linked the public approach and views to the lake. The two garages were located to the north or public approach side of the site, and the guest and living spaces were located to the south or lake view side. (Diagram 1). The enclosure of the volumes with solid walls and service areas creates two L-shaped forms that orient the spaces to the site and define the see-through entry. The east side ‘L’ directs visitors to the entry, and the west side ‘L’ directs views to the lake. (Diagram 2). The second floor master bedroom and office are contained in a third L-shaped enclosure that sits atop the lower floor enclosures and spans the central entry. An open, cantilevered stair vertically extends the central entry to the upper floor. Low-sloped metal roof forms above the lower floor’s four primary spaces give the ground floor volumes a pavilion aesthetic and enhance the views from the upper floor. (Diagram 3).

The arrangement of L shaped forms on the ground and upper levels creates a variation of outdoor spaces. The primary outdoor entertainment space is formed by an overlay of the 2nd floor master bedroom wing over the living, dining and kitchen space below. The outdoor space runs across the south wall of the living space and continues below the master bedroom wing where it becomes a screened-in porch.

Design Challenge

Three client requirements were integrated into the initial design concept: the studio should be a separate structure, the bike garage should not be linked to the car garage and the master bedroom should be on the second floor for privacy and views. From these requirements, the scheme quickly evolved by placing the four primary ground floor volumes around a central entry that linked the public approach and views to the lake. The two garages were located to the north or public approach side of the site, and the guest and living spaces were located to the south or lake view side. (Diagram 1). The enclosure of the volumes with solid walls and service areas creates two L-shaped forms that orient the spaces to the site and define the see-through entry. The east side ‘L’ directs visitors to the entry, and the west side ‘L’ directs views to the lake. (Diagram 2). The second floor master bedroom and office are contained in a third L-shaped enclosure that sits atop the lower floor enclosures and spans the central entry. An open, cantilevered stair vertically extends the central entry to the upper floor. Low-sloped metal roof forms above the lower floor’s four primary spaces give the ground floor volumes a pavilion aesthetic and enhance the views from the upper floor. (Diagram 3).

Physical Context

As illustrated on the Site Plan and in the project photography, the site is located on a large wooded, lakeside property with a terrain sloping gently southward to the shoreline. The design responds to this beautiful property by giving every room a view as well as its own sense of privacy. Throughout the house the lake and the surrounding wooded terrain are always present. Each southern exposure incorporates floor-to-ceiling glass with large overhangs to protect the interior from summer sun. Large balconies, screened porches and stone terraces work with the topography as they provide a variety of outdoor entertainment areas overlooking the lake. Following the existing topography, the siting of the Artist's studio offers views of the main house as well as the lake. Its connection to the main house is an elevated walkway that bridges the watershed's natural vegetation and terrain.

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