art and science intertwined

art and science intertwined

With many Japanese influenced design elements, like a Genkan, a lowered entry area, this house for art and science in Burr Ridge, IL has a clean and uncluttered living experience with a distinctive and durable surface. This house for art and science intertwined design by Ross Architecture in collaboration with Mark Eric Benner – Architects was developed and produced for a private residential homeowner, located in Burr Ridge, Illinois.

Home features include:

  • Sustainable reclaimed brick
  • Poplar bark siding
  • Roof mounted solar PV array & solar heat
  • Oversize sliding glass doors
  • Custom casework throughout
  • Elevator
  • Integrated exterior patio and landscape
  • Exterior lighting

First Floor

  • Foyer
  • Kitchen
  • Dining Room
  • Music Room
  • Office
  • Study
  • Family Workshop
  • Garden & Potting Room
  • Powder Room 1
  • Powder Room 2
  • 3 Car Garage

Second Floor

  • Master Bedroom
  • Master Bathroom
  • Master Closet
  • Bedroom Suite 2
  • Bedroom Suite 3
  • Reading Library
  • Laundry


  • Book Storage (10,000 volumes)
  • Craft Room
  • Recreation Area
  • Mechanical Room
  • Bathroom

Sustainability is of paramount importance for the homeowner. For this home, we take advantage of a full range of materials, techniques, and systems that contribute to the comfort and efficiencies that the home owner desires. We begin with conservation in an effort to minimize the demand for energy while maintaining comfort and light levels. Spray foam insulation provides a unique air-sealed barrier and high insulation values to ensure comfort and efficiency. LED light fixtures throughout use a fraction of the energy of even that offered by CFLs. The addition of a lighting control system ensures that we set the desired scene and conveniently turn off lights when not in use.

One of the exciting features that many think of when considering sustainability, is the addition of renewable energy. As always, the first thing to do is consider conservation to minimize the home’s energy demand. With that done, we then turned to photovoltaic solar panels. We embraced both solar heat as well as electricity (photo-voltaics or PV.) With the wooded site condition, shading of the modules is a concern. Shading from the architectural forms were also a source of concern. Art and science intertwined in this case to better understand these conditions. An animation was prepared to explore shading during peak solar radiation hours and visualize these effects on the proposed module layout. Using the lessons learned from the animation, a number of adjustments were made to maximize each module’s access to sunlight. The system is design using micro-inverters so that any shading that does occur will not affect the performance of the system as a whole.

While many contemporary style homes are an exercise in the strict purity of form, ‘art and science interwtined’ enjoys rich textures, colors and patterns. This home could certainly have stood alone on its form, we found that texture and contrast are important components to its success. Using some very unique materials there is a pronounced expression of warmth and historic character, blended with clean lines and other more contemporary materials. Some of the more unique materials include:

These materials require a level of advanced planning due to their unique character. Seeking a very particular, and apparently popular, variety of brick we visited a number of Chicago reclaimed brick yards, awaiting the right bricks to be harvested. The poplar bark siding is produced in limited runs and is also harvested only seasonally. The Arcadia windows are custom built to the framed rough-openings and have a significant lead time for production. Custom casework is featured in nearly every room.