The McKinney Residence; Southeast Coast, North Carolina 1994

The sire is a 50-foot-high sand dune crowded withe century-old live oak trees.  The gnarled and twisted branches evidence their witness to the strong winds and hurricanes that occasionally sweep their barrier island protecting the North Carolina coastline. A great wetland and marsh occupies the area between the island and the mainland and it is the home of waterfowl, cranes, egrets and a seasonal stopover for numerous migratory birds. The McKinney house is situated on top of a high dune and focuses its major views not on the Atlantic and the tyranny of the horizon but to the west and the soft, continuously changing light over the marsh. The house is a composition of linked and separate pavilions, some freestanding, other joined. THree tall chimneys announce the house from far off and the many-pitched roofs suggest a fishing village. The endeavor to save as many of the gnarled live oaks that live on the dune greatly influenced the design. The vertical climb up from the parking area at street level or down to the pier allowing access to the tidal march, is considerable. The procession that leads upward to the travertine and glass railing terrace is gentle and meandering with benches placed to relieve the climber and to allow the experience of the landscaped walkway

Project Architect: Doug Fraser, Simon Jacobsen

Architectural photography: Robert C. Lautman