The Redaction House by Johnsen Schmaling Architects can be described as a wooden box resting on a stepped brick podium. Eye-catching due to its original silhouette and exterior finishes, the dwelling was especially developed for a textile artist and her young family. According to the architects, the new building sits on a narrow sliver of land on a small suburban lake, surrounded by prosaic spec homes in Oconomowoc in Wisconsin, USA. The wooden cube is clad in horizontal and vertical cedar. Narrow painted boards create an unexpected filigree of colors, reminding passers-by that this is an artist’s retreat.

A series of spatial voids carved into the building volume organize the program: “Inside, floor-to-ceiling apertures alternate with solid walls, taking advantage of sightlines that are desirable and screens those that are not. The rooms are grouped around a two-story living hall, where the apertures are stacked vertically to frame views of the sky and the bluff’s deciduous foliage. The building is deliberately introvert, functioning as an optic filter that frames the limited lake vista while strategically editing out views of the built-up context.” [Photography by John J. Macaulay]