Robert Venturi's version of a chalet has inspired delight and derision. Built against a steep hillside, this redwood house expresses the change of grade with its design, while suggesting the designs of Charles F. A. Voysey, the English architect and designer. The sides of the first two stories are recessed, making the structure appear taller than it is. The upper story overhangs the lower stories and features a large, arched dormer window on each slope of a hipped roof. Vail's most widely acclaimed contemporary structure has its own cable chair lift from the garage to the second floor of the house. The top-floor living room with its warm redwood vaulting, according to Venturi, as reported in Three Centuries of Notable American Architects (1981), borrows not only from Voysey, but also from the vaulted interiors of eighteenth-century Polish synagogues.
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