Southern Chile’s harsh climate brings extended periods of rain and cold temperatures but what it lacks in sunshine, it makes up for in rugged landscapes. Casa KDDK is no exception. Its site is enveloped in lush, green meadows and dense forests. To take advantage of the views, the zinc-clad dwelling is sited on the property’s highest point, also allowing the home to attract the largest amount of natural light. These incoming rays are brought into the interior through expansive glazing and when combined with an all-white palette, create a light, airy atmosphere even in the darker, dreary seasons. The transparent facade also keeps the interior connected to the scenery year-round while iron and glass screens fold open to allow for a summer terrace in the warmer months.
After purchasing a previously uninhabited island in the Finnish Archipelago National Park, designers Aleksi Hautamaki and Milla Selkimaki began work on their rugged retreat. Project O — named for the Swedish term for island — is a pair of self-sustaining timber cabins sited on a rocky outcropping. Housing the main living spaces in one unit and a workshop and saun in the other, the shelters are powered by solar panels on the roof and utilize the surrounding sea to supply water for drainage, sinks, and toilets. Hot water, as well as heating for the floors, are sourced from the sauna’s stove. Compact interiors and a minimal aesthetic help keep the focus on the coastal landscape.
Built along the sandy shores of the Mornington Peninsula, the St. Andrews Beach Villa has been a 20-year process. The first phase began in 1999 with a modest seaside shack. After the completion of the third stage, the dwelling now consists of five bedrooms, a glasshouse, a lap pool, and cabana. The passing time hasn’t just seen the expansion of the home’s footprint, but also the evolution of its materials. Wooden screens and metal cladding have developed a weathered finish, allowing the facade to become a part of the natural landscape. The interior balances out a palette rusty metal linings and reclaimed timber with a mixture of contemporary finishes while south-facing glazing affords expansive coastal vistas.
Inspired by the neighboring fir, spruce, and cedars, the Sooke House complements the rugged scenery with an organic design. The dwelling sits on a rocky outcropping overlooking the ocean. Clad in black metal and timber, it takes on an abstract form to keep the natural terrain intact. Internally, a single concrete column emerges from the floor, resembling the surrounding tree trucks while wooden slats on the ceiling recreate the conifer branches of the forest canopy. To further emphasize the immersive experience, large glazed panels in each room capture unique views of the forest, mountains, and sea.
Placed just below the summit of Dormillouse, the Black Body Mountain Shelter provides refuge for passing mountaineers. The hexagonal volume features a metal facade with a dark finish that stands out against the sea of verdant hillsides. A swiss pine interior offers a warm welcome for passing climbers and offers a table at the center and tiered platforms on either end for seating and sleeping. Flanked by two large panes of glass, its geometric form works like a telescope, keeping the focus on the summit while hikers recharge.
Drawing inspiration from the region’s stone buildings and grassy marshlands, the Meadow Dance House is a modern ode to its native Ireland. The dwelling is comprised of two stack structures. Its ground floor is clad in a mixture of local yellow sandstone and grey limestone and houses the interior’s main living space. Perched above the tall grasses, the second story is covered in planks of oak and beech wood, mimicking the colors of the surrounding fields. The intersecting volumes create a double-height parlor space that leads up to the bedrooms. Floating above the meadow, the master caps the upper level and features a glass facade to catch views of the bog in the distance.
Between the orchards, vineyards, and an extinct volcano, the Hood River Valley is saturated with stunning landscapes, and the Hood River House has eyes on them all. The home is propped up above the scenery on a forested hillside. To ensure the views are visible in every room, the dwelling takes on a horizontal design. The rectilinear form is divided into two structures, both sitting below a single roof. Cast concrete walls provide protection from the wind and elements while timber framing adds rustic warmth to the dwelling’s contemporary aesthetic. Also included in the material palette is a glass facade. Although the north-facing glazing brings in the sweeping vistas for the interior, a central terrace allows for unobstructed views of Mount Adams in the distance.
Placed in a forest in Hamburg, Germany, the Villa Neo brings a sculptural contrast to its natural surroundings. The main form is made from two intersecting concrete rectangles. Its L-shape is resting on a glass foundation wrapped in steel beams. Internally, exposes concrete walls create a minimalist aesthetic that’s complemented by sleek, contemporary fixtures and modern furnishings. The monolithic barriers are only interrupted by expansive glazed panels, offering both natural light and views of the vibrant verdant landscape.
For their first project in Norway, BIG has completed the Kistefos Twist Bridge. The structure is suspended over the Randselva river in northern Europe’s largest sculpture park. Its aluminum exterior looks like an art piece that belongs among the garden’s installations. As the name implies, the structure twists 90 degrees at its center, creating the illusion of being inside a camera shutter. While it functions as a walkway across the water, the interior doubles as a museum. Full-heigh glazing flank the interior to provide expansive views of the riverbank and the pulp mill. As the windows reach the spiral, they become skylights washing the internal gallery space in natural light.
Situated on an inlet overlooking the water, the Bishops Hill Encampment is a relaxed retreat on the Tawharanui Peninsula. The site consists of a pair of compact cabins placed on a grassy incline. Their timber facades complement the rural scenery while wooden shutters immerse the interiors in the surrounding landscape. The vintage aesthetic of the natural-oiled cladding intertwined with the open-air atmosphere work together to create a sense of old-style camping.