Block Island’s regional architecture consists of forthright farmhouses with adjoining sheds and barns. Their low-scale and thoughtful siting serve to block the relentless winds and their weathered materials are at one with the landscape. We decided to adopt this time-tested connected building type for the Swede Hill House. The three buildings (main house, guest house, two story bedroom wing) are folded around a courtyard which creates a sheltered space on this high, windy site. Two “breezeway” connections between the buildings create privacy. One serves as the entry and the other as a grilling porch. Varied outdoor rooms and different degrees of shelter encourage outdoor living. One can find sun or shade, wind or calm, by moving from porch, to terrace, to trellis. Deep overhangs and good cross ventilation keep the buildings cool in the summer. With the use of a rainwater collection system, native plantings, high performance insulation and solar hot water/pool heating, the house is designed to LEED gold standards.
< br />Landscape: G. Bourne Knowles & Co. / Interiors: Aquidneck Properties / Builder: Kinsella Building Construction / Photographer: Warren Jagger