LANDSCAPE CONTEXTUALISM | Part 1

Contextualism is the reaction of architecture to its environment – it is how buildings and forms fit into their surroundings. There are various approaches and to creating modern designs the fit within the context they are placed in – wheather it is through use or vernacular typology, environmentally responsive forms, use of appropriate materials, or responses to surrounding landscapes. The following are a few examples of interesting design approaches that respond to the environments they have been places in.

Forest House

The first is a recreational cabin in Utrecht, Netherland, designed by Zecc Architecten. The form is a traditional gable cabin typology, designed in a modern, open style. The choice of materiality -shake and wood siding – reflect on traditional material choices, but detailed in a very clever way, transforming the siding slats into operable louvers which retract and open up the interiors to the forest.

The first is a recreational cabin in Utrecht, Netherland, designed by Zecc Architecten. The form is a traditional gable cabin typology, designed in a modern, open style. The choice of materiality -shake and wood siding – reflect on traditional material choices, but detailed in a very clever way, transforming the siding slats into operable louvers which retract and open up the interiors to the forest.

The Residence of Daisen by Keisuke Kawaguchi + K2 Design redefines what a typical house is, by pulling apart each room, and placing the series of inter-connected volumes in the middle of a forest. Aside from preserving the natural landscape, each room becomes surrounded by the forest.

The Residence of Daisen by Keisuke Kawaguchi + K2 Design redefines what a typical house is, by pulling apart each room, and placing the series of inter-connected volumes in the middle of a forest. Aside from preserving the natural landscape, each room becomes surrounded by the forest.

The Loblolly House by Kieran Timberlake features an exterior wood screen system, with planks arranged in random patterns to reflect the gaps of light between trees in the forest behind the building; on the front the house opens up completely to the view of a lake. The structure is lifted off the ground, sitting angled pilotis that mimic the tree trunks around the building.

The Loblolly House by Kieran Timberlake features an exterior wood screen system, with planks arranged in random patterns to reflect the gaps of light between trees in the forest behind the building; on the front the house opens up completely to the view of a lake. The structure is lifted off the ground, sitting angled pilotis that mimic the tree trunks around the building.

Desert

In the desert, which often times has monotonous stretches of repetitive features, camouflage can be powerful tool to blend in without disturbing the landscape. The Lucid Stead installation took and old cabin, which was a noticeable object in the empty landscape, and transformed into a much lighter structure though use of mirrors that reflect the surrounding desert make the cabin appear with a mirage-like quality.

In the desert, which often times has monotonous stretches of repetitive features, camouflage can be powerful tool to blend in without disturbing the landscape. The Lucid Stead installation took and old cabin, which was a noticeable object in the empty landscape, and transformed into a much lighter structure though use of mirrors that reflect the surrounding desert make the cabin appear with a mirage-like quality.

Amangiri Resort and Spa, a collaboration between Marwan Al-Sayed, Wendell Burnette, and Rick Joy, is a series of structures sited against rock formations in Southern Utah. Through use of neutral pastel colors and stone features that are delicately built in/around the rocks, the designers are able to preserve the landscape and blend in the buildings without causing a visual disturbance.

Amangiri Resort and Spa, a collaboration between Marwan Al-Sayed, Wendell Burnette, and Rick Joy, is a series of structures sited against rock formations in Southern Utah. Through use of neutral pastel colors and stone features that are delicately built in/around the rocks, the designers are able to preserve the landscape and blend in the buildings without causing a visual disturbance.

The desert is often associated with a nomadic lifestyle, that rely on mobile living conditions. Prefab houses like Rock Reach House in Yucca Valley have a sense of lightness and impermanence – it can be disassembled and moved as easily as it was dropped into the surrounding rocky landscape in the first place. The use corrugated corten steel siding panels and wood patio planks blend in well against the orange rocks. If you love this house, you could rent it for the weekend!

The desert is often associated with a nomadic lifestyle, that rely on mobile living conditions. Prefab houses like Rock Reach House in Yucca Valley have a sense of lightness and impermanence – it can be disassembled and moved as easily as it was dropped into the surrounding rocky landscape in the first place. The use corrugated corten steel siding panels and wood patio planks blend in well against the orange rocks. If you love this house, you could rent it for the weekend!

- Xander Tertychny