A dramatic trellis adds bravado and a passive cooling element to a recently renovated mid-century ranch house.
The Babat residence in Nashville is blessed with a big backyard; however, the blistering Tennessee sun once made it feel more like a broiler than a place to kick back and relax. Enter architect Michael Goorevich—then on staff at Manuel Zeitlin Architects—who devised a wood-and-steel trellis to cover part of the space. To ensure the span shades the terrace from early afternoon until evening, Goorevich painstakingly modeled the path of the sun to determine the correct orientation and angle for the trellis, as well as the depth and spacing of its Douglas fir crossbeams. Beneath its steep rise, the residents find respite from the sun, entertain guests, and frequently dine al fresco.
The awning’s value is aesthetic as well as utilitarian: “The trellis is the glue that ties the original to the addition,” says Goorevich, who used the long lines of the old section as a springboard for the new section he designed. Despite its location in a traditional neighborhood, the house receives far more cheers than jeers from visitors and passersby. “Our house is contemporary, but also rooted in local tradition,” resident Brett Babat says, referencing the project’s “barnlike” use of wood, color, the trellis, a pitched roof, and three oversize sliding doors. “We think that’s why people find it so welcoming while still modern.”