When New Jersey/New York-based architectural firm Architectura began designing a private residence in Old Tappan, New Jersey, the building’s architects wanted to highlight the home’s unique surroundings.
Set on nine acres of preserved woodlands, the building’s front façade contains few windows, unlike many contemporary private homes; the design instead relies on dozens of anodized aluminum panels in two different finishes to both reflect the sylvan and the abundance of trees and sky. The result, built by Corsair Construction, is a breathtaking and unique design that highlights the home’s natural setting. This one-of-a-kind design, and its accessible price point, were made possible using anodized aluminum manufactured by Lorin Industries manufactured into exterior wall panels by ATAS International.
Designing a “mirage” in natural landscape
The firm purchased the land in Old Tappan planning to build a single private residence there, given the land’s preserved status. As a result, they wanted to design to suit a homeowner who would recognize the woodland itself as the home’s greatest asset. This meant emphasizing not the home design in contrast to the trees, but the trees as part of the home design.
“For this home’s façade, we wanted to achieve a mix of reflection of the surrounding trees and a warm brown color that mimics tree bark. As the day goes on and the sun’s position changes, and as the seasons change, the façade of the house changes as well, ensuring that the house appears to constantly change adapting to the time of day, weather and seasonal changes apparently changing with the natural surroundings,” said Christopher Manos, Senior Associate and Director of Construction at Architectura, and one of the project’s architects. “Rather than standing out like many homes would in the woods, the façade of this house is like a mirage, blending in with the trees and sky, set back far from the road.”
A third of the panels that comprise the façade are the darker brown color (AnoZinc® II), and the other two-thirds are reflective, (ClearBrite®) mirrored metal. This front façade has only a few windows to bring natural light into the house’s central staircase. Meanwhile, the back of the house is designed with as wide an expanse of glass as was possible, enabling those dwelling in the house to feel as though they are seamlessly integrated with the woods and almost as if they are living outdoors.
Reflectivity and minimal maintenance without the steep price tag
Completed in 2019, the residence in Old Tappan was inspired not only by nature, but also by another common element in the New Jersey landscape: diners. Many of the state’s classic diner buildings feature highly reflective, durable stainless steel that, even decades after their construction, shines on. Manos wanted that kind of reflectivity and durability in the Old Tappan residence’s façade, but without the sky-high price point of high-end, marine-grade stainless steel. After researching how to achieve his vision without a prohibitively large price tag, Manos and his team realized that the natural choice was anodized aluminum panels from Lorin Industries.
“The reflectivity of the panels made from Lorin’s ClearBrite® anodized aluminum is fantastic; with them, you really get a high-end, polished stainless steel look at the price point of aluminum. Without Lorin, we wouldn’t have been able to afford to make the vision for this home into a reality,” Manos added. “Now, this home has the look of a $500 per square foot custom private residence, but construction costs were the same as an average luxury home.”
Given that the reflective nature of the panels is key to the façade’s design, durability was also a major concern. Lorin’s anodized aluminum, supplied by Lorin distributor Wrisco Industries, and made into exterior panels by ATAS International, will weather in place without any dulling, clouding, or other weathering.
Even without any regular maintenance, the panels that Architectura has placed as the focal point of the exterior for this home will maintain the same striking visual impact for decades. This is because of Lorin’s proprietary coil anodizing process, which protects the aluminum from chipping, flaking, and peeling, while still enabling a variety of finishes for nearly endless design flexibility.
The ATAS panels made from Lorin anodized aluminum were installed vertically on the home’s façade using an easy-to-install cleat system and snap-in standing seam, with a secondary waterproofing barrier behind them. They were manufactured in a number of different sizes and, now installed, appear to be random and thus natural, just like the bark on the surrounding trees that inspired their design. Installation in 2018 and 2019 was fast and easy, Manos said.
“Thanks to Lorin’s friendly price point and outstanding durability, we were able to achieve something interesting and unique architecturally, without the materials being cost-prohibitive for a private residence,” he added.
Panels made from Lorin’s unique and durable coil anodized aluminum, with the design flexibility offered by their various finish options, brought Architectura’s vision of a residence among the trees to life. Ensuring the same kind of reflectivity and low maintenance as high-grade stainless steel without the steep price point, Lorin’s anodized aluminum adds both one-of-a-kind style and unmatched durability to the home. The building’s innovative design has gotten notice from outside organizations, including an award for residential design.