Hannah's House, Memphis, Tennessee

Growing out of a steep slope that rises from the Mississippi River is an imposing structure that evokes the strength of a fortress while blending with the natural surroundings. The building's square tower walled in block both inside and out contributes to the impact. This structure is no citadel, however, but a residence of contemporary design executed in concrete masonry.

"The use of rock-faced concrete block gives the house a real feeling of belonging on the riverbank, one of strength and permanence," says Todd Walker, architect for the project and owner of the home. To achieve the effect, split-faced CMUs are used for the tower, rear base walls, piers (with limestone caps), and chimney. Complementing the texture of the rock-faced block walls is the parged smooth concrete masonry used on the foundation on the front of the home.

The raw simplicity of masonry carries through to the home's interior, where smooth CMUs surround the fireplace and continue up the tower's inside walls, climbing to an office loft.