Winkelman Architecture

Berkshires Retreat

Stockbridge, MA

Project Team: Melissa Andrews, Will Winkelman

Landscape Architect: Richardson & Associates

Builder: Chris May Builders, Inc., Richmond, MA

Photography: Jeff Roberts

The distinguishing attribute of this year round, second home on Stockbridge Bowl in the Berkshires is the unique asset the tight lake front building zone offered to the ultimate building design - a pedestrian bridge linking two separate building forms.  

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This 5 bedroom scheme has a master suite, living, dining, kitchen and screened porch all on the ground level to accommodate aging in place. Each space is lined up to have front row lake views. A guest suite is located on the second floor. 

A unique approach was taken in locating the 3 additional guest suites, or ‘cabins', as they were imagined (there is one for each of their grown kids). The ‘cabins' are located on the second level of the semi attached garage that is nested into a steep hillside behind the main building. A footbridge connects these cabins with the second floor of the main building where there is a den for informal gathering with a kitchenette. A stair descends from there to the main level entry, kitchen and dining areas. There is also a spacious 2nd floor deck off this den for seating overlooking the lake. 

This configuration, which is something of an exploded 2nd floor plan, represents a bit of social engineering. It locates the housing for the 3 grown kids far enough away from the main building for their independence, but close enough for their inclusion. This also allowed the building’s overall massing to be minimized by breaking it up into 2 smaller parts. The garage/cabins portion is nested into the hillside to further minimize the visual impact. To be cost effective, the 3 ‘cabins’ are linked by being on the same base structure, the 3-car garage. They are grounded by connecting to grade on the uphill side.

The bridge acts as a ‘gateway’ to the building zone, as the driveway passes under it, from the public (and hill) side to the private/car-yard (and water related) side.

The building’s forms, composed of shed roof elements that are linked with flat roof planes, are a response to the lake views and daylight - opening up and out toward both. 

The driveway's descent down the hill was re-configured (made less steep) to be used year round and, at the top of the hill, the orientation of the sight lines with the carving of the land was choreographed to suggestively introduce the building's forms below while having nature frame the view.