Ash House

The Ash House is many things: a studio, a home, and Subject Studio’s first built project. As both the architect and client, the building needed to function as our living and working space, but also embody our ideals as architects, designers, and artists.

The form rejects any stylistic reference in exchange for a simple container to express natural materials and efficiently frame the desired live/work program. A concrete panel wall is featured on the most prominent corner to accommodate a mural that bookends an adjacent pocket park to blend house and neighborhood. The cladding is White Cedar harvested in Northern Michigan that we charred and finished by hand. The weathered boards makes the house feel rustic and aged. The effect fits within the neighborhood’s pastoral character - a country in the city - and helps to soften the contemporary contrast between the minimal design and the older architecture that surrounds it. All interior finishes are composed of natural materials: concrete tiles, wood flooring harvested in Michigan, mineral paints, and lime-based plaster. The contrast between the light interior and dark exterior reflects Detroit as the city of contrasts - large yet small, urban yet rural, dying yet living.