When a group of architects approached Rochester residents Pat and Scott Nyberg for the design of their home in 2003, they quickly realized it was going to be like no other in Minnesota, let alone Rochester.
The house at 4770 Mayo Woodlands Road SW was one of the first of its style to be built in Rochester. Its development incorporated the surrounding landscape and wildlife, unlike other homes tearing away at it.
"It was amazing the ideas behind it," Pat Nyberg said.
This "organic" design was created by architects Tim Alt of Altus Architecture and Design, Shane Coen of Coen and Partners, and David Salmela of Salmela Architect, and led to several awards and accolades that's made it especially memorable.
Now it's on the market, listed for $1.59 million. There is currently an active offer on the house, Michelle Kalina, a realtor with Sotheby's International Reality said.
“It’s one of the most unique houses in Minnesota,” said Bill Towey, a Realtor with Re/Max.
The three-story, five-bedroom luxury home sits on a 4.86-acre lot surrounded by woods, prairie and a nearby pond. Outdoor features include a balcony, patio and deck designs that accentuate the architects' organic, “zoological” vision.
“The objective of the development was to integrate with the environment, but be gentle with it,” Alt said. “I would say it was a new way of thinking, and I still think it's really appropriate.”
A first floor surrounded by glass panels allowed for the vision to flourish, Pat Nyberg said.
“It’s just amazing,” she said. “The best thing in the world was to be on the main level, standing in the kitchen, and it's starting to snow, and you see snow all around you. You just stand there, and you just scan 180 degrees and back and forth. It feels so good. I mean, the experience of living there is all what architects bring.”
The house earned international recognition for its design in 2003, when it won the international Progressive Architecture Award from Architecture Magazine.
A jury sifts through hundreds of submitted projects and chooses a few that are recognized as "risk-taking practitioners," promoting progress in the field.
“It’s one of the most coveted awards in our profession," Alt said. "It’s very rare to win one.”
The Mayo Woodlands home also received an AIA Minnesota Honor Award in 2009 for its progressive design.
Alt believes the Nybergs' home served as a national model for innovative residential development.
“I still think it’s a brilliant concept that has applicability to anybody to come in and work with the same ideas and do good work," Alt said, "and I think it can be extended to any place around the country or the world in different slightly localized parameters.”
The modern, cube-like design of the home hadn’t yet been introduced to Rochester real estate in 2004, when it was finished.
Alt’s firm designed many of the homes in the area, and the cubist design of the Mayo Woodlands home was one of three at the time that was based on the idea of “organic minimalism.”
“It was part of an overall vision for Mayo Woodlands,” Alt said. “I would describe it as a precursor to organic minimalism … Minimalism may have been (common then), but taking it to more of an integration with landscape, I don’t think was really common at all.”
While the Nybergs were sold on the philosophy and design, others were skeptical.
“It's really hard when you live in Rochester, and you work amongst everybody, and they don't like what they see happening, like a development like that,” Pat Nyberg said. “They just want something that's typical and something that's what they normally are used to.”
Alt said the home was underappreciated at first because it was “ahead of its time.”
“It was very forward-thinking,” he said. “It’s just your typical marketplace doesn’t understand that or appreciate that.”
The design has continued to influence his work.
“Mayo Woodlands was an outstanding example of a neighborhood type that brought together issues that we think are present in great design, and those issues are still legitimate today,” Alt said. “So it’s interesting to see how unifying those principles can be, and they’re actually brought forward as design guidelines and issues.”
While it’s emotional for Nyberg to leave the home, she’ll always cherish her time there.
“It was just a great way to live,” she said.
Click here to view the listing.