Fayetteville is a college town (the University of Arkansas) in northwest Arkansas that benefits from the beautiful landscape of the Ozarks. Architects Tim de Noble and Time Maddox of deMx Architecture find inspiration in the natural context and indigenous structures of the area, crafting structures within a style they call vernacular modernism. A fantastic illustration of this is that the Round Mountain House, a strikingly expressive structure that commands the north side of a hill. Throughout its asymmetrical barn-like profile, standing-seam metallic siding, breezeway, natural heating system and barn-like loft, the home references but updates the area’s historical architecture.
at a Glance
Who lives here: Empty nesters Sharon and Charles Killian
Location: Fayetteville, Arkansas
Size: 4,500 square feet; 3 bedrooms, 3 baths
That’s intriguing: The home has a strange, almost alien form that starts to make sense as soon as you’re inside.
The home is a very long bar that is oriented east –west along the hillside. Here we are looking at the long north side, and from here the house’s construction is evident: concrete foundation, then a middle section covered in SIPs (structural insulated panels), either topped by an asymmetrical wrapper of standing-seam metallic panels.
The form and construction indicate that the home is suspended from the industrial structures of this area however is shaped as though it were reaching to the west to get viewpoints.
Looking at the south side of the home, we can get a better look at the patio which anchors the tall end of the home on the west. The one-story part in the foreground houses the bedrooms, while the asymmetrical piece in metal wraps the living areas.
Notice the horizontal strip of clerestory windows over the one-story bedroom; these bring light to the living room, something we’ll see later.
Here’s the view from the porch on the west side of the home. This is the raison d’être for its own form and the home.
The garage is located on the east end of the home. In between the garage and the home is a breezeway that serves as yet another outside area for the owners, the Killians. From here the house’s unique steel structure is evident — we’ll see how this allows for quite open spaces inside.
The breezeway is anchored by an outside fireplace at a stone wall that is punctuated by alcoves for displaying artifacts. The method by which the stone wraps the wall and the floor is a wonderful touch, something which provides the space cohesion.
The living room is basically one area with a loft at the end. Here we are looking from the loft to the east, from the living room below to the kitchen and dining room outside. (it is possible to find a floor plan here.) The steel beams mark the points of transition in the roof, since the form has taller and taller.
This view is looking in the same way, from the living room back to the entrance on the east. From here a few interesting things are worth pointing out: The clerestory windows mentioned earlier are obvious on the ideal side; the stone in the breezeway is picked up on the wall of the fireplace in the living room; along with the steel mounts supporting the lights over the dining room (with a movable bracket) and kitchen are a really wonderful design touch which picks up onto the structural steel subjected throughout.
This final view of the home is looking west out of the dining room table. Big windows and sliding doors catch views and provide entry to the porch outside. We can observe the stairs on the right which lead to the wraparound loft. The loft on the far west side sits directly over the porch and contains its own windows for looking at the sun setting over the hills at the distance.
The house’s vernacular inspirations may fall away inside, but the link to the landscape is always clear as an significant part life in the home.