Architect: Matthew Baird
Project Architect: Pius Aebi
Architectural Team: Matthew Baird, Principal; Teresa Ball, Principal; Parker Brown; Alice Chai; Jingyuan Gao; Hunter Hughes; Lenore Passavanti; Florence Schmitt-Thai
Interior Designer: Brockschmidt & Coleman
Landscape Designer: Emma Kelly Landscape
Structural Engineer: Albert Putnam Associates
Civil Engineer: G.F. Johnston & Associates
MEP Engineer: Altieri Sebor Wieber
General Contractor: Chris Parsons
Photographer: Elizabeth Felicella
From the Jury:
“The jury was principally attracted to the reuse of an existing building and the integration of new structures into the landscape. Simple geometric volumes are nestled into the topography very carefully and unimposingly. The delicately crafted internal spaces and internal connections also take full advantage of the views without attempting to make an imposing statement.”
Overlooking the ocean on Mount Desert Island, this family compound comprises two houses: a new ground-up structure, and an existing midcentury modern pavilion, which was preserved and added to. The project combines a minimalist vernacular expression with environmentally sensitive systems and construction.
As commissioned by a family who has visited this coast for many years, the goal of the project was to create a year-round compound for family gatherings and visits by generations to come.
Matthew Baird Architects preserved an original 1965 structure, House 9, that was designed by Homer Rogers Architects, adding a new three-bedroom, three-bath sleeping pavilion. The addition sits uphill from the restored kitchen, dining, and living volume and has a similar palette to the original: Douglas fir walls, ceilings, and floors, all finished in a simple expression. The old and new pavilions are connected by a striking glass bridge.
Further uphill, the team designed a ground-up guesthouse, House 7, overlooking the original structure and the ocean beyond. The design of the second house relates to the scale, circulation, and formal expression of the original house, maximizing views and natural light with expansive floor-to-ceiling glass. Both structures share a similar material palette and strong geometries—single-pitched volumes sloping up from the landscape. Passive cooling and siting techniques are employed to draw cool air up from the harbor just below the site.
The project is inspired by the modernist tradition of blurring the boundaries between the interior and exterior and seeks to maximize the visual enjoyment of the marine landscape and striking rocky coast.