Surrounded by a maze of greenery, the Urban Cabin, a project developed by the architectural studio, Suyama Peterson Deguchi in Washington, is more than a simple relaxing home. Located in the heart of a spectacular site, the house reflects the need of man to truly connect with the environment, in order to live in harmony. The Urban Cabin was designed for a simple life. Like an escape from the crowded cities.
Surrounded by vegetation, the house (designed for a couple, already familiar with the place), is gently protected from the eyes of the neighbours, being basically “hidden” by the luxuriant vegetation. “Conceptually, the design was inspired by a picnic shelter in a forest. The ideas of a primitive picnic shelter gave direction to both the building’s form and minimal program requirements. All program elements were reduced of excesses and distilled down to the elemental.” As you step inside the house, you observe the natural influence: an improvised tree becomes the core of the house, while the wooden tiles adorning the walls create a cozy (and authentic natural-like) atmosphere. In order to reflect the idea that the boundaries between the two environments disappear, the tiles were also extending to the outdoor lounge area, surrounding and offering additional privacy for the inhabitants, whenever they feel like enjoying a relaxing tan session.
What is new and exciting now can quickly begin to look tired and out of fashion, so the best buildings don’t just consider what will be interesting to look at now, but also how it might look to people in five, fifty or even a hundred years’ time. 2013’s hotly contested RIBA Stirling Prize went to Witherford Watson Mann Architects for their work on Astley Castle, Warwickshire. In what RIBA Past President Stephen Hodder has described as an extreme retrofit, the project essentially saw a new building inserted subtly into the heart of the old, with a new, two storey residence now hidden within the sandstone walls of the ruins of this medieval castle, to be used as a holiday home for up to eight guests
These days, a building doesnt just have to look good, it should ideally be good for the environment too. A great example of sustainability spliced with style from the past few years is the M&S store at Cheshire Oaks Retail Park in Ellesmere Port, designed by Aukett Fitzroy Robinson.