This 3,800 SF weekend retreat on the eastern shore of Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay is comprised of a primary residence, a smaller guest house, and a connecting courtyard—all organized around a 140-foot garden wall. In an effort to create an informal, relaxed environment that would complement the site’s natural beauty, Sorg Architects derived design inspiration from the prairie-like landscape that borders the Bay’s shorelines, creeks, and inlets, where tall grasses and cattails provide a bucolic setting.
Following a tradition in local structures, the materials used in the construction—concrete block, low VOC marine plywood, and sheet metal—are readily available, commonly used, rugged, and relatively inexpensive. The concrete block wall that Sorg designed to define the home’s indoor and outdoor spaces forms the home’s organizing element and functions as a meandering garden wall that runs through the site in a series of asymmetrical planes and steps.
With flat roofs, extended scuppers, and a free-flowing space between two pavilions, Sorg’s building composition captures the architectural style of the early Modernist Movement. This conversation between the apparently simple and the unconventionally designed continues to play out in the interior flooring that is finished with a blue-green or blue-gray wash that evokes the sky and the sea. The maple veneered plywood panels used on the walls of the interior are fixed with exposed screws, and the ceiling joists are left exposed and painted white, giving the living areas an expansive, airy feel, lending an industrial quality to the vast vaulted space.
The end result is a retreat of rustic simplicity and elegant proportion that demonstrates a fusion of modern and vernacular architectural design.
AIA Washingtonian Residential Design Award, 2003
Residential Architect, Merit Design Award: Custom Home 2,000-3,000 SF, 2003
AIA Potomac Valley Chapter, Honor Award for Architectural Excellence, 2003