The Richard Meier–designed Douglas House has been added to the National Register of Historic Places. The Harbor Springs, Michigan house was built in 1973 for Mr. and Mrs. James Douglas. Clad in Meier’s signature white, the Douglas House is sited dramatically over Lake Michigan.
Due to the steep site, the house is entered from the roof level by way of a foot bridge. This long entry sequence enforces a strict separation between the public and private. Once inside the house is oriented to exterior views. The roof deck and the living room provide uninterrupted views out over Lake Michigan.
Richard Meier commented on the early stages of working with the Douglases: “One day I received a letter from a Mr. and Mrs. James Douglas inquiring if I would sell them the blueprints for the Smith House. I replied that while I was not prepared to sell the drawings, I would certainly be willing to design a new house for them along similar lines. They accepted, and I started designing a house for a site that they had purchased in a residential subdivision in northern Michigan. As it happened, the developer who had sponsored the subdivision insisted on reviewing the design of any house that would be built within its boundary. He asked me to submit photographs of my work, whereupon he immediately refused to permit a house designed by me since it did not have the prerequisite classic pitched roof. To my delight, the Douglases responded to this impasse by promptly selling the plot and looking for another site, and that was the beginning of a very gratifying collaboration.”
The National Register of Historic Places is maintained by the U.S. Department of the Interior via the National Park Service. The goal of the register is to support “public and private efforts to identify, evaluate, and protect America’s historic and archaeological resources.” Properties added to the register can be either buildings, structures, objects, or sites.