The McLeod House is a masonry and wood built structure topped with a sloping sloping green roof situated on the edge of a nature preserve in Middlebury, Vermont. Paying careful attention to materials, views, and visual impact on its neighbors, the stunning home does well to blend into the landscape and yet make a striking statement. Designed by John McLeod Architect, the home is visibly anchored to the earth and made from simple materials by local builders from the community.
Oriented on an east-west axis, the southern facade was designed to absorb the sun, while the eastern side rises up to look into the nature preserve, and the western side, facing the neighbors, is covered in a green roof. This careful attention to the site and sun means that the neighbors see a home covered in a sloping green roof, and the house enjoys the heat of the sun while the residents are afforded the best views of the preserve. Anchored to the earth, the home expands like a wedge from one story up to the three. The green roof is covered in hay bales and planted with grasses, sedges, and wildflowers that absorb rainwater and provide wildlife habitat.
A spiraling staircase tower on the east side connects the three levels and is naturally daylit with a skylight in the roof. The tower also serves as a chimney to let hot air escape out of the rooftop vent during the summer to encourage the flow of natural cooling breezes. Inside the home is built with masonry blocks that absorb and release heat as well as simple and natural materials like concrete slab, plaster walls, wood, cork, wool carpet, linoleum, and bare pine flooring. The exterior is covered in unfinished eastern white cedar shingles. Rooftop skylights and windows pull in even more daylighting into the interior reaches of the home.
Images ©Susan Teare