Project: New Canaan Residence
Location: New Canaan, CT
AIA NJ Design Award, Merit Award 2017


Built in New Canaan, Connecticut, this new 4500 square foot guesthouse is a contemporary twist on the traditional English threshing barn, with a bright airy interior and an intimate connection with the outdoors.

The original circa 1870 barn on this 15-acre estate had collapsed in a snow storm. Windigo was hired to design a new “barn” to serve as a guest house and a gallery for the owner’s private artwork collection.

The exterior features traditional barn elements such as gabled metal roofs, sliding barn doors, stone foundations, and wood siding – though the design of these elements is much more restrained and modern. Nestled into the sloping grade of the estate, the barn appears to be “of the land” as its stone foundations reach out into the landscape and become terraces and planting beds. Rain water from the zinc roof trickles down chains and into the planting beds.

Though quiet on the outside, the interior explodes with geometric forms and voluminous space. The main event of the home is a “floating” loft box bedroom, magically suspended over the living area. A tall, tapered, board-formed concrete fireplace serves as a grill for the kitchen, and its prominent chimney gives a vertical compositional counterpoint to the horizontal loft box. Rolling window shades raise to reveal steel and glass exterior walls, extending views out from the interior toward the gardens.

The owners, philanthropists with a focus on art, music, and education, intend to use the guest house as a site for entertaining in addition to providing overnight space for guests. The guest house will feature the owners’ collections of art, antiquities, and wines, as well as providing opportunities for celebrated chefs to prepare unique cuisine for guests.