This “target tower” by Zurich-based architects Andreas Fuhrimann and Gabrielle Hächler is actually made solely for the viewing of the annual rowing regattas on Lake Rotsee, and is therefore completely empty and closed for all but three weeks of the year. When in use, the interior features ample room and seating for spectators, jury, and timekeepers, featuring views that can be guided by the shifting panels on the facade.
Lake Rotsee Refuge, Lucerne, Switzerland, by AFGH Architekten
Merricks House, Merricks North, Australia, by Robson Rak Architects
Allied Works was commissioned to design a residence, guesthouse and private gallery on 350 acres in Dutchess County, New York. Located on the eastern slopes of the Hudson River Valley, the site consists of rolling hills, open meadow and dense hardwood forest. Each of the three buildings responds to a particular landscape. Collectively, the estate and its three primary structures create a range of sensory experiences and sites for artistic interpretation.
The main house lies at the head of a large meadow, providing sweeping views of the valley and mountains beyond. The residence takes the form of an orthogonal helix sited at the intersection of three landscaped courts. These are bounded by a series of stone walls that extend into the landscape. Above, the helix is enclosed by a skin of glass panels – transparent, translucent and opaque – that mediates light and views. The surface of the helix becomes the canvass for a site specific video installation by Doug Aitken. Entitled “Light House”, the 360º projection creates stunning contrasts with its surroundings, or alternately allows the house to merge back into the pastoral landscape.
Dutchess County Residence Main House,Dutchess County, NY, by Allied Works Architecture
Buy the book:
Allied Works Architecture: Brad Cloepfil: Occupation, Published by Hatje Cantz, English, 2011. 440 pp., 481 color ills., 12 foldouts, 25 x 31.4cm, hardcover, ISBN: 9783775728386, Buy it here: Amazon
Contemporary glass and steel haven on 6 acres overlooking the Peconic Bay.
Clearhouse, Shelter Island, New York, by Stuart Parr Design
Located between the Atlantic Ocean and a freshwater pond, this residence is for an adventurous couple and their four sons. They wanted a house for their large family and numerous guests with a lawn, swimming pool, pool house, garage, and sports courts on a site with a limited building envelope due to coastal and wetland zoning. The large program, relatively small footprint, and daunting regulations dictated a building envelope densely packed with program that stood as a barrier between the ocean and the pond. Thus the design process was one of subtraction rather than addition: carving away at the solid mass of the house to reconnect site features and views and to distill the experience of the place.
Spaces run the full width of the house with floor to ceiling sliding doors on both sides. The spaces create apertures through which views, light, and air completely penetrate the house, dissolving its mass. Passersby see directly through the house to the sky and landscape beyond. With the sliding doors open and recessed into the adjacent walls, interior spaces are transformed from formal rooms to open pavilions, merging seamlessly with the site.
To accommodate the extensive program spaces are nested within one another. Operable partitions pull out from the walls of the living room, carving out a media room within the living room when privacy is desired. Conversely, with the partitions open, the media room merges with the living room for large gatherings. The thickness of the wall separating the dining room and kitchen is also cut away, utilizing its depth to accommodate a wine rack that also functions as a light fixture.
The process of carving is applied at the material and detail level as well. The 5/8” corten steel plate that clads the base of the house is waterjet cut into a delicate pattern that defies its mass. Inside, corian is employed for the ease with which it can be milled. Corian countertops are cut to form towel bars, bunk bed frames are carved to create ladders, cabinet doors are recessed to form handles, and wainscoting is subtly etched with meaningful words chosen by the clients.
Materials were chosen not only for their workability, but also for their durability in the coastal environment. Corten steel siding is zero maintenance despite being relentlessly sandblasted by the wind. Cedar siding and screens are finished using a Victorian technique in which the iron sulfate in a blend of white vinegar and iron filings reacts with the tannins in wood, creating an ebony finish that penetrates through the material and will not require refinishing. The lack of harsh stains or finishes reduces the ecological footprint of the house. Geothermal heating and cooling as well as vegetated roofs further reduce the environmental impact. Using the design approach of sculpting away rather than building up, the house is pared down until the experience of the extraordinary site is dominant.
Sagaponack House, Sagaponack, NY, by Bates Masi + Architects
Photography © Michael Moran
Crescent Beach, White Rock, British Columbia, Canada, by Campos Leckie Studio
This house is standing on a steep slope in S. Abbondio, it’s designed for two people and their guests. The property adjoins on three sides to existing and new constructions, while to the downhill side it’s attached at the access road and above it provides free views to the Lake Maggiore and to the mountains. The cleareasy-cut volumetry and also the naturalistic materializing of the concrete in the same colour like the natural rocks, integrates the new building with caution in the heterogeneous area. Concrete gets the natural stone of the modern era.
New Concrete House, S.Abbondio, Switzerland, Switzerland, by Wespi de Meuron
Photography © Hannes Henz
A Toronto family of five requested a cottage that is ‘modern and open’ but retains a quintessential ‘cottage feel’. The building was to be commodious and accommodate extended family but should avoid ostentation in scale and modernity. The Clear Lake Cottage proposes a simple tent-like envelope to house both program and outdoor spaces under a single vernacular form. A singular roof presents a child-like impression of house; rectilinear and ordered in symmetry while playfully skewed in volume. Nestled within a forest, the building is sculpted and stepped to take advantage of the land; modeling the natural grade. Open and closed faces respond to shoreline views or quiet wooded depths. Like a tent the porosity of the building’s envelope strengthens the experience of ‘cottage’.
Three volumes: a communal space, a bedroom bar, and a master suite are registered in response to the site to achieve views, separation, and privacy. The roof peak creates a sleeping loft, and enhances the communal space. The plan aligns a series of large sliding windows for summer cross ventilation. The tent-like ‘big top’ of the Douglas Fir interior has three exterior spaces carved into it to create sheltered outdoor areas. The relationship to site, the transition spaces, and operable transparent skin connects to this privileged landscape.
Clear Lake Cottage, Parry Sound, Ontario, Canada by MacLennan Jaunkalns Miller Architects
This vacation home is set on the crest of a grassy knoll on a 160-acre site in Mendocino County. The goal was to preserve and enhance the natural beauty of the property by siting the retreat in a careful, simple, and unobtrusive manner. The 10-module home forms an L-shaped plan, framing views of a canopy of mature oak trees to the south and east.
The road leading to the house climbs the hill and ends at the carport at the home’s west end. A set of concrete stairs lead up a gentle grade from the carport to the entry deck, which runs along the north side of the home. The main volume is oriented east to west and arranged in an open plan. The living room, kitchen, and dining room collectively open southward onto a covered patio with an outdoor fireplace and pool area. From the main volume, the master bedroom extends to the north, following the edge of the hilltop and ending in a private deck that takes in the morning light from the east.
Long Valley Ranch utilizes a number of sustainable strategies and materials. Passive solar heating and cooling are achieved through use of concrete flooring, covered decks, and natural through breezes. A 17-kW solar array offsets the electricity usage of the house, and a tankless hot water heater provides on-demand water heating. Sustainable materials are used throughout, including recycled denim insulation and low-VOC paint.
Burton Residence, Mendocino County, California, USA, by Marmol Radziner
Photography © Joe Fletcher
The project is the addition of a dining room, reading room and two bedroom suites to an existing 1948 adobe-brick house. It employs the material and formal language developed for a previous addition (the ‘Box Office’) completed in 2011: spare, platonic boxes of a perceptual mass defined precisely at their junctions to openings with a material thinness.
Four volumes control view and orchestrate movement through their various internal and external alignments. The reading of the solid/void relationship oscillates between additive and subtractive processes–on the one hand understood as a series of connected volumes while on the other seen as an initially pure box from which two L-forms are removed. The result is a rhythmic reciprocity between interior space and garden.
TP-H Residence, Palo Alto, California, by Jermyn Manthripragada Architecture, Photography by Lucas Fladzinski