Our jury admired this home’s simplicity. The full-time residence, for a transplanted Manhattan family who bought land here after 9/11, consists of four metal-roofed volumes containing a garage, a living/dining/kitchen wing, a three-bedroom wing, and a master suite. Outside, the cluster of farmlike buildings creates a three-sided courtyard opening to a grid of shade trees and a swimming pool.

“It looks fancy, but it isn’t,” says architect Nick Noyes. “The composite siding and Galvalume roof will last a long time. And steel tie bars and open 2x12 rafters are the least expensive way to make a roof. You’re celebrating the structure—that’s what gives it its charm.”

If the forms and materials are straightforward, however, the detailing is not. Rafters align with doors and windows, creating a rhythm across the main living space. Inside and out, 1 ½-inch door and window trim helps to modernize the buildings. A good part of the budget was spent on achieving transparent connections between wings, with glass entry and passage zones fabricated from a steel window and door system. “Our strategy was to spend energy in areas where we’ll get bang for the buck,” Noyes says. “The sight lines are very thin, and that comes at a price.”

The airy little compound transforms the flat site into a seamless series of indoor-outdoor zones. Window walls on the living space dissolve into a minimalist cedar and steel trellis that shades the courtyard’s southern exposure. “Once we settled on the courtyard layout, the trick was to make that diagram coherent,” Noyes says. “It’s like writing a paper; once you have a thesis, you keep to that all the way through.” The judges praised its refined quality. The project complements “the landscape of golden grass and does the best job of linking small, elegantly proportioned buildings,” a judge said. “It’s sweet, light, textured, and intimate.”

On Site The garage is the “barn” in this complex of farmlike buildings, so it’s clad in a different material from the house. Vertically installed white corrugated metal siding is not only a subtle departure from the white HardiePanel on the residential buildings, it also helps break down the scale.