High above the Canadian shores of Lake Erie, the Indigo House sits on a precipitous bluff. It stands as a sculptural “object in the landscape,” towering against the harsh elements and stark wilderness of the Lake Erie shoreline.

Given this extreme location, the designers at Cindy Rendely Architexture investigated construction methods and materials that were suitable for the site’s extreme four-season weather. They concluded that this unique home required a permanent, nonfading impervious finish that could withstand severe abuse from the elements. Therefore, ceramic glazed brick units were specified for much of the exterior wall space since they are highly durable and resistant to damage caused by freeze-thaw cycles. A brick exterior provides a robust and durable cladding while also psychologically enclosing the inhabitants within a strong building envelope. At once, it creates a relaxing interior environment sheltered from the unpredictable outdoors.

Aesthetically, the idiosyncratic blue glazed brick reflected the vibrant personality of the owners and provided the contemporary aesthetic they desired. Elongated Norman-sized brick were used to accentuate the building’s horizontality of long, linear forms that anchor the building to its site. Composed of three connected volumes, the geometry of the house takes its cues from critical sightlines that direct one’s view towards the lake from every room. The angles of the building are derived from the property lines, and they were detailed with custom-sized corner brick which provided a continuous glazed surface around the building’s sharp, acute corners.

The glossy blue brick cladding on the building runs all the way to the ground and anchors the house to its site. And yet, its stacked volumes and hovering forms reach out to the sky above. The home truly is a  unique sculptural element that at once blends in and stands out in its environment

For more of Indigo House, see its feature article in Brick In Architecture.  It will also appear in the December issue of Architect magazine.