Old South Meets Modern Design

Sonia Thompson

A rendering of the Splinter Creek Lake House. Due for completion in 2017.

Before pen was set to paper and the first sketch of the Splinter Creek lake house was ever created, we knew that we wanted the homes of Splinter Creek to be rooted in the local place and environment. Working with Lang Architecture, we set to create a style that was in keeping with the traditional agrarian buildings of the area but designed for modern convenience and living.

The historic, agrarian style of a Dogtrot house gave great inspiration to the team as its features and iconic design lended themselves to the overall vision of Splinter Creek.

A traditional Dogtrot design in the Southeastern US.

“A dogtrot design is a fairly traditional, old Southern, agrarian type house,” says Grant Scott of Lang Architecture. The unique feature of the dogtrot allowed the space to be climate controlled before the modern invention of air conditioning. The breezeway through the center of the house created airflow through the building and living quarters while also providing a cooler, covered area for sitting. The separation of living spaces also helped to keep the house cool, as the kitchen was separated from the sleeping spaces by the breezeway, preventing heat from spilling over into the bedrooms.

“A dogtrot design is a fairly traditional, old Southern, agrarian type house.” -- Grant Scott, Lang Architecture

At Splinter Creek we wanted our execution to be contemporary, quite flexible and designed for the Southern heat. Taking cues from the traditional dogtrot three main living spaces were designed: The master bedroom block, the main living block and then, and a guest bedroom/bunk room. Glassed-in, conditioned breezeways connect the house while also allowing it to be configured in multiple ways. A breezeway between the main house and guest wing will be screened, another nod to a traditional dogtrot.

Drawing on traditional dogtrot design, the Splinter Creek lake house is split into three living spaces, connected by breezeways.

The versatility of the design serves two functions. The first is purely practical. Since each of the 26 home sites are unique, it allows the configuration of the house based on the natural lay out of the land. The main living spaces can be configured to accommodate the unique topography and views of each site.

The flexible design of the Splinter Creek lake house allows for the unique topography of each site to be considered while keeping architectural consistency.

The second is environmental. The flexible design allows the living spaces of each house to be oriented towards the sun for natural climate conditioning and optimal thermal comfort. For example, a balcony with a low-pitched roof is placed to block the afternoon sun and shade a large window wall in the living room in order to keep the sun out of the main living space. Preservation of the natural landscape was also very important, and the flexibility of design means less excavation and shorter piers, which are less disruptive to the land.

East to West Rendering of the Splinter Creek Lake House.

“We want to be fairly light on the land and oriented to offer maximum shading while preserving the view,” Scott says. “We really did think about the environment with the way that we designed the building.”

It all adds up to a house that is malleable, environmentally friendly and above all else, capitalizes on the beauty of land and water.

“Really everything is oriented toward the view,” Scott says. “It’s such a remarkable site. It’d be a shame not to take advantage of it. I think that will be an absolutely wonderful place to live and visit.”

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