A dining bridge over tumbled waters at Fishcreek Woods.
Nature is the best designer.
Paul Bertelli, JLF Principal
At JLF Architects, we design with nature, with being the critical word. We collaborate with nature, with reverence for the natural features and formations that make the site magical. Our work exists as homage—respect manifested in details both great and small. With humility, we strive to reflect the array of intent embedded in the landscape: eaves gesturing at the ambition of alpine peaks; slate roofing as effective as a tree canopy; stone walls as balanced as a boulder field. In this ongoing series—JLF Signature Elements—we will share our intention behind the distinguishable features of our portfolio.
The dining room, site of shared meals and special memories, can often become subsumed by the spacious schema of a great room program. In a trio of signature projects, we took our cues from the landscape and created the dining room as bridge over a gentle waterway, a bridge spanning indoors and out. Now, meals are enjoyed against a babbling tableau, a peaceful soundtrack for immersive entertaining.
Formerly marred by industrial use, this property now thrives with nature, a restored state epitomized by the resuscitated waterways that now lace the property. To celebration this restoration, we sited the house amid the ponds, including suspending the dining “bridge” over a spillway. Again, articulated windows fold back to flood the space with natural light and light sounds. Truly an oasis.
A Tennessean sanctuary, floating above its lakeside site. Embracing such glassine serenity, we let the house unfold in four segments connected by footbridges. The living pavilion, perched atop stacked limestone and topped in Corten steel, hovers above the water. Reclaimed timber frames the view, as if dining on a historic pier. Meals as meditation.
Embedded in the forest, Fishcreek Woods feels as if the landforms and building forms arose in unison. No space better speaks to this synchronicity than the dining room: The tumbled stone floor seems to blend seamlessly into the creek bed above which it hovers, and folding floor-to-ceiling windows allow for a surround-sound experience of the waterway. Every meal thus becomes communion with nature. Cheers indeed.