The 3,750 sf Oak Ridge House is a composition of intertwined volumes, shapes, and spaces. A large, open living/dining room, and a long rectangular private bedroom wing interpenetrate to form the kitchen. The open room is pushed toward a condition of exposure with an open curtain wall to the east and a large band of shaded windows to the west. This tall volume feels more like an open courtyard than an interior. The north and south walls of the room are more like building facades than interior partitions. The south wall/facade is a continuation of the exterior wall of the long south building that penetrates the living/dining room. The north façade screens the loft and lower studio with a pecan-paneled bookcase/stair that grows out of the first floor and a concrete wall/stair that grows out of the lower studio. This space sits between the street and the rear yard. With the drapery open and the right light, the public view pushes through the house and into the private yard. Other times the space feels like an extension of the private yard. Glass subdivides the interior and exterior, acting as both veil and mirror, constantly doubling inside out, outside in. By contrast to the large room, the long southern wing is composed of firm boundaries. It is a modestly scaled wing for sleeping, washing, and dressing. Each room has an inner focus and measured apertures. When the drapes or shades are pulled, the sleeping rooms are comfortable, secure, and enclosed. The bathing rooms are tiled and feel like they are meant to be wet as they provide absolute privacy.
The house is in a post-WWII neighborhood and backs up to the oak-lined ridge for which the street is named. The site, 100 feet wide at the street and 245 feet deep, slopes 12 feet up from street to ridge. The east-west-oriented site is ideal for solar access and the variety of light available to animate the interior of the house over the course of a day and through the seasons. The southern, inner-city street is lush with mature oaks, deciduous and evergreen trees, and flowering plants.
The house is shaped to draw the outdoors in and lure the family out. The public/living space is a vessel of light. It awakens the house with a vibrant play of morning sun, then settles into a wash of reflected daylight until its afternoon encore prepares the house for the evening. The room is never simply an interior. Boundaries of space are indeterminate, alive, and negotiable. At night and from the inside, a view of the room is projected out into the trees. From the outside, the trees and the sky are cast into the house. These expansions and interpenetrations soften the boundary of the room fostering a constant invitation for measurement and negotiation.
Duvall Decker was assisted by Structural Engineering Associates, LLC, Blanton Engineering, PC, and The Power Source, LLC.
2020 ArchDaily’s Building of the Year Nominee
2016 National AIA Housing Award
2013 AIA Gulf States Region Honor Award
2012 AIA Mississippi Honor Award
ARCHITECT Magazine, 2016
Huffington Post, 2016
Houses for All Regions, 2014
50 US Architects: Residential Planning, 2012
PORTICO Jackson, 2012