Rose Award: Holly and Smith Architects

Bayou Blue Retreat House, Thibodeaux
CATEGORY: Residential

The owner’s primary desire for this retreat house was to have a secondary residence where the family could withdraw from their everyday life in an informal, relaxed setting with the potential to downsize from their current primary residence during their retirement years.

The project site is within a very rural area of bayou country, deep into south Louisiana.  Lushly grown tree canopies and natural waterways are commonplace. The climate is hot and humid for most of the year.

The owners also live a very private lifestyle. As such, the design challenge was to take advantage of the beautiful natural setting while maintaining a high level of privacy. Additionally, several passive and active strategies were deployed to mitigate and manage the difficulties of the south Louisiana climate with a goal of achieving net-zero.

This retreat house is located on an approximately 3.75-acre site adjacent to a waterway that ties into nearby Bayou Blue in south Louisiana’s Bayou Country. The landscaped entry courtyard serves as a quiet buffer from the outside world. A simple pallet of landscape and ground textures surrounded by a 6-foot-high western red cedar enclosure creates a microclimate that is different from the exterior approach just off the highway.

The house is divided into two programmatic pods that contain the private and public functions of the house. The two are connected by a central foyer and screened-in porch that aligns with an axial view to the rear of the property. The public pod is comprised of one large open space that contains the kitchen, dining, and living areas. The private pod contains the bedrooms and other private support spaces for the home. The garage anchors it.

The aesthetic of the house is one of modern, clean, and simple design. The limited material palette on the exterior, comprised of fiber cement siding and panels, western red cedar, and standing seam metal panels, along with the roof forms, creates a contemporary look while responding to the regional south Louisiana vernacular and climate. The interior of the home continues the modern aesthetic through a minimal palette of finishes that is contrasted and enhanced by the wood tones of the contemporary millwork and furniture.

Read about the rest of the 2020 AIABR Rose Award winners.