June and Mark Kohler found a lot to love about the property they purchased to build their home. Its park-like setting with commanding views of a reservoir was breathtaking, and it was conveniently located about half an hour from both Washington, D.C., and Mark’s office. But the site also had what most people would consider a serious disadvantage: its location on a high ridge with a 45° slope to the water on the right and a deep ravine on the left. A practicing architect since 1984, Mark was up to the design challenge. To minimize the impact on the sensitive site, very few trees were removed, grades were not changed, and the home was designed to take full advantage of the natural topography. The lack of level surfaces on which to park cars led Mark to design twin parking pavilions. Soil excavated for the basement provided the necessary backfill to create the foundations. The open, timber-frame construction and use of natural stone enhance the home, preserve the water views, and allow the pavilions to blend in among the trees. The symmetrical design of the pavilions and their placement frame the house, provide visual balance, and create a dramatic entrance. Beyond parking, the pavilions are also intended as spaces for family gatherings, nature viewing, and any outdoor endeavors that require some protection from the elements. They are equipped with water, electricity, lighting, and a hidden backup generator.
Architect: Mark A. Kohler, AIA, Kohlmark Architects, Burke, Va.; kohlmark.com
Construction: Kohlmark Builders, Burke, Va.; kohlmark.com
Photographs: Greg Hadley, greghadleyphotography.com