James River House

PrizeHonorable Mention in Interior Design /
Firm LocationRichmond, United States
Lead ArchitectDanny MacNelly
Design TeamKatie MacNelly
ClientDanny and Katie MacNelly
Project Videohttp://

The James River House is a riverside retreat, designed as a place for three young boys to grow and learn from their surroundings. The three distinct volumes of the house hover above a bluff alongside a bend in the James River, arranged loosely and lightly on the land like a scattered group of stones around a campfire. The arrangement of these volumes allows the visitor to slip between and through the house, opening the view to reveal light, river, and the woods. The quiet yet open interior is built around a large and flexible gathering space that can be intimate, expansive, interior, or exterior. Flanked by sleeping quarters, this central living area is at once hearth, tree house, and dining hall and is the nexus of activity for the family and the three boys who fill the house with light and motion.