Project - Mercer Island Modern

A vital element in the defence of medieval castles and a symbol of status throughout history, the water feature has long served a greater architectural purpose than mere plumbing. At the Palace of Versailles, ornate fountains represented King Louis XIV’s mastery over nature. And modern architects are equally fixated on channelling water into focal points that blur boundaries between the home and its surroundings.

Garret Werner of the international architectural practice Garret Cord Werner drew on the ethos behind traditional Japanese architecture and its emphasis on balancing the elements when designing a residence on Lake Washington’s Mercer Island.

The property, used by its owners as a refuge from nearby Seattle, is built around a central spine of water – a rill – criss-crossed by a series of glass bridges leading to different interior spaces. Werner’s rill leads to the entrance, which segues into a lap pool running the length of the interior, and ends in an infinity spa at the rear of the property with views across the lake. “Consequently all these very emotional experiences happen as you travel through space,” says the architect of the house, which was completed in 2019. “Most clients now want their homes to be more of an experience because they spend so much more time there.”


Publication – Financial Times
Published – March 2023