Loblolly House — embracing off-site construction
The requirements for prefabrication of Loblolly House led to a re-examination of the traditional elements of architecture. Construction is underway with the entire assembly from the platform up scheduled to be completed in just two weeks.
This second home for a family of four on Chesapeake Bay is positioned between a dense grove of loblolly pines and a lush foreground of saltmeadow cordgrass and the bay. The landscape is elemental - the eye sweeps upward from tall grass, through columnar pines, the sea, the horizon and the sky. The colors define the range of green and blue, with the west setting sun adding a brief daily burst of orange.
The architecture is formed about and within these elements of nature. Loblolly House is elevated on piles within the trees. Crossing a causeway onto the thinly populated island, the journey to the house is marked by small cottages and farms. The site at the end of the long peninsular shaped property only reveals itself when the dense grove of pines recedes at the water's edge. A rough gravel road draws one toward the bay, past the non-tidal wetlands, and to the entry beneath the house, amongst a manmade "grove" of eccentrically placed pilings. The ritualistic path to the house leads up through grass and pines to the sky, and then back again. A right turn brings one to an elevated platform and stair that begins the ascent up the exterior through the grasses and pines into the house.