Away from the crowded metropolis of New York, the architects Calvin Tsao and Zack McKown spotted a farmer’s cottage and transformed it into a beautiful weekend retreat. The house, located in the breezy area of Rhinebeck, NY, spreads over 1,200 square feet, entirely surrounded by luxuriant vegetation. A walk through the woods and you’re back in time, when simplicity and refinement went hand in hand. The site is beautiful especially during fall, when the hallucinating shades of copper and yellow dominate the landscape. Bordered by trees, the house accommodates antique pieces of furniture along with smooth elements of contemporary design.
The architects insisted on a shabby chic design, simple furniture and elements of décor with sentimental value. The house seems cut off from an Emily Brontë book, with rocking chairs, oil lamps and candles. A covered terrace, perceived as an extension of the original house offers a magnificent view upon the mystical woods. What a nice place for dreaming! As you wander throughout the house, you’ll notice the lack of technological devices. The architects imagined a place that disconnects from the city vibe, so they went for…the whole package. No 3D technologies, no surround sound, just a good old library with dusty bookshelves and a central study table for hours of lecture. The bathroom is reduced to a bathtub, placed in a simple, plain room. Enjoying the simple things would be the perfect phrase that describes the feeling that gives me this warm and cozy house, located in the middle of the woods, “a million miles away” from the phrenetic city vibe. Isn’t this lovely?
An example of a huge success is Heneghan Peng Architects’ Giant’s Causeway Visitors’ Centre in Antrim, Northern Ireland. Using the large difference in level across the site, the architects created two folds in the landscape. Bold, but not conflicting with the rather bleak natural environment, these folds draw all the man-made areas together and create one fitting man-made break in the natural landscape. In the words of the architects themselves, There is no longer a building and a landscape, but building becomes landscape and the landscape itself remains spectacular and iconic
The best architects can create designs which will give clients and the public things they didn’t even realise they wanted, and this is especially important when architects are given the difficult brief of creating structures in much-loved, iconic areas.