Set among a rugged backdrop, Alex Nerovnya imagines the Sol House. The exterior is defined by a clean yet classic silhouette. While its harp, minimalist form contrasts the wild landscape, a mirrored facade reflects the surroundings and camouflaging the dwelling from view. On the interior, the walls of glazing immerse the open living spaces in the natural scenery. As the day goes on, the atmosphere changes with the incoming light. A palette of natural materials and devotion to energy efficiency inspire the remainder of the home.
Nicknamed “Wild and Wonderful,” West Virginia’s landscapes are just that and the Dawson Lake Tree Houses are designed to highlight them. The collection of sustainable cabins are perched above Dawson Lake — a 40-foot lake surrounded by meadows, streams, and wetlands. Nestled in the wooded hillside, their steeped roofs and timber cladding take cues from the neighboring fir and larch trees. Interiors are a minimalist refuge featuring a lounge area, a sleeping loft, and floor-to-ceiling glazing to immerse guests in the rugged scenery. To respect the protected land and native species, the structures are expected to meet the net-zero energy and environmental impact guidelines.
Nestled on a forested ravine outside of Chicago, this single-story dwelling is a modest homage to its natural setting. The rectangular structure is sliced at an angle, separating the main house and the garage. Between the two volumes is a courtyard lined by screens of Black Locust and local stone. The property has been removed of all its invasive species and planted with no-mow meadows and elevated beds. Although much of the house is clad in black metal, the interior is lined with the warm tones of oak flooring and walnut casework. The surrounding landscape is very much a part of the decor with floor-to-ceiling glazing framing in views of the neighboring trees while the painting and spinning studio overlooks the courtyard birches.
The English countryside is blanketed with classic barns. While the Stealth Barn complements the Norfolk vernacular with its traditional silhouette, the guesthouse takes a step toward modern design with its shadowy facade. The dwelling’s prefabricated timber frame is clad in planks of ebony-stained rough sawn fencing. Its interior continues the minimal approach with floor-to-ceiling plywood lining. Depending on whether guests are standing, lounging on the sofa, or lying down, horizontal windows and are carefully placed to capture specific views of both the sky and the landscape.
Perched above a Norwegian river, the Villa Hexagon is a Brutalist beauty. The forest fortress is housed in a six-sided concrete shell with its cement surface is left exposed on the interior. Its monolithic appearance is softened by warm wood cladding and oak floors. A series of angular windows continue the geometric theme, framing in views of the surrounding trees and filtering in natural light. Wrapping around the exterior, an outdoor terrace affords views across an old industrial area, the passing river, and the city of Kristiansand in the distance.
Overlooking Lake Upton in the Hudson Valley, the Clinton Corners House offers a bespoke retreat in prefab form. The dwelling is based on Lake|Flato’s Porch House and utilizes prefabricated timber framing and super-insulated panels to complete the home in just eight months. Its three gabled volumes are clad in western red cedar and feature a metal roof to resemble the traditional barn vernacular. Divided between family, guests, and entertaining, the interior’s rustic minimalism is defined by exposed white oak beams, vaulted ceilings, and concrete floors. A wall of glazing in the great room puts the focus on lake views while a series of porches are completely enveloped in the rural landscape.
Inspired by the local fishing huts, Comporta Cabanas is a relaxing retreat on the coast of Portugal. The residence is comprised of four small cabins sited in a forest of pine. Their Douglas fir cladding is charred for protection while its dark finish helps the compound blend into the surrounding trees. Each volume is placed to take advantage of incoming sunlight and wind flow and features oversized eaves and mesh screens to shield from intense rays and mosquitoes. Internally, sleek white finishes and concrete floors create a clean minimalist atmosphere where glazed panels slide open to connect the interiors to the landscape. Additionally, the cement floors help regulate heat, adding to the home’s sustainable features that include photo-voltaic panels and heat pumps. The units are connected by a timber walkway and offer an outdoor swimming pool to soak in the natural setting.
Sited on a bank overlooking Chile’s Rapel Lake, the Slope House is inspired by its slanted plot. The dwelling is made form a series of stacked, rectilinear volumes. Staggered in placement for minimal disruption to the land, the exterior follows the property’s gradient and descends down to the edge of the water. Pine cladding and steel framing complement the wooded hillside, blending it into the landscape. The interior follows the same palette of timber and steel for a warm minimalist atmosphere. Living spaces are spread throughout three levels. Each floor is capped by expansive glazing and an outdoor terrace, affording sweeping views of the lakeside scenery.
Argentina’s Parana River is consumed by lush landscapes. The Casita Del Árbol attempts to keep the scener intact with its suspended design and dark facade. Clad in black metal, the exterior fades into the lush landscape and completely disappears in the night. A foundation of pillars resembles the native timbers, minimizing the footprint and disruption of the land. Metal stairs lead to a deployed metal terrace. Walking through the semi-transparent space gives the illusions of floating thought the Timbó trees. The compact interior creates a spacious atmosphere with a bright, airy pallet and double-height ceilings. Encased in a glass facade on three sides, the glazing further adds to the aesthetic by washing the room in natural light while framing in views of the surrounding canopies.
Situated into a hillside in Upstate New York, the Hudson Fieldhouse is a classic example of a modern, barn-inspired dwelling. It features a clean, gabled form clad in black timber and topped with a standing-seam metal room. A natural stone foundation finishes off the attractive vernacular exterior. But it’s not just another contemporary farmhouse. Stowed inside the dark facade is a fitness enthusiast’s playground. The lower level is occupied by a basketball court with an adjacent living area for adoring fans. In the loft above, a fitness center and a pilates studio are positioned in front of a wall of glazing, offering serene views of the landscape during workout sessions. While the interior focuses on athletics, it still maintains its rural minimalism with batten walls, wooden beams, and steel details.