Van Huset on the Bluff
Van Huset on the Bluff is fervently poised overlooking Beaver Lake in Northwest Arkansas. The Norwegian roots of the client led to a design strategy that balances the ‘cabin’ culture of Norway with a significantly sized vacation (and eventual retirement) home. The scale of the home is purposefully controlled by embedding the lower level of programming and multi-car garage into the site. The front yard and landscape extends over the roof of the garage to establish a clear base to the structure, a type of fabricated bluff to compliment the exposed sandstone of the steep shoreline.
The rich wood materials of painted cedar, thermalized poplar, and stained tongue and groove roof decking define the main level spaces. The two strong opposing gabled forms distinctly separate public and private spaces and further help define a more refined scale. These distinct volumes afford sweeping views through extensive glass facades and exterior decks. The glazed corners allow the horizon and view of the lake channel to visually bridge the interior and exterior spaces.
Materials, form, and site strategy come together to balance manmade shelter with the natural beauty of the site. This is a critical point of design departure to overcome the prevailing lake home model that permeates southern culture. As large and visually obtrusive constructions typically dominate site and views from the lake, the clients’ desire for a grand, yet humble, home is the underlying driver of the architectural strategy.