new york-based architecture firm desai chia has completed a house overlooking lake michigan, which comprises three offset structures. the first volume contains the dwelling’s primary living accommodation, along with a kitchen and a covered seating terrace, while the two further buildings house the master bedroom suite and three children’s bedrooms respectively. connecting all three structures, a roofed passageway serves as an area for outdoor dining.

desai chia michigan lake house
all images by paul warchol



developed in collaboration with environment architects, the roofscape of desai chia’s ‘michigan lake house’ follows the site’s undulating landscape, while simultaneously referencing the architecture of the region’s fishing villages. ‘the resulting rhythm of exposed wood beams provides layers of asymmetrical vaults throughout the interiors,’ explain the architects. the dwelling offers unobstructed views of lake michigan from a sheltered terrace situated beneath a dramatic 20 foot cantilever.

desai chia michigan lake house
the dwelling comprises three offset structures



externally the structure is clad with shou sugi ban, or yakisugi, a traditional japanese method of charring wood so that it becomes resistant to rot and insects. ‘we reclaimed dying ash trees from the site and milled them down to be used as interior cabinetry, flooring, ceiling panels, trim work, and custom furniture throughout the house,’ says desai chia architecture. ‘the interiors of the house embody the indigenous landscape that once thrived with old growth ash.’ meanwhile, locally-sourced stone has been used to create areas of outdoor seating, as well as pathways and steps.

desai chia michigan lake house
two volumes house the master bedroom suite and children’s sleeping quarters

desai chia michigan lake house
the dwelling’s primary living accommodation joins a kitchen and a covered seating terrace

desai chia michigan lake house
large expanses of glazing overlook lake michigan

desai chia michigan lake house
internal living accommodation adjoins an outdoor dining terrace

desai chia michigan lake house
the structure is clad with charred wood

desai chia michigan lake house
the use of timber is continued internally

desai chia michigan lake house
reclaimed dying ash trees have been used for the project’s interior

locally-sourced stone has been used to creates areas of outdoor seating



project info:


architect of record: environment architects, traverse city, MI
consultants —
structural: apex engineering & management
mechanical: bayshore engineering
civil: jozwiak consulting engineers
lighting: christine sciulli light + design
landscape architect: surface design, inc.
envelope consultant: james r. gainfort AIA
custom furniture: woodbine, custom furniture & cabinetry, AV waara technologies
contractor: easling construction
landscaper: darling botanical co.
photography: paul warchol










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