Rhinebeck, New York
918 square feet
Steven Holl Architects
Yuliya Savelyeva, Ruoyu Wei, Michael Haddy
Robert Silman Associates
JLP Home Improvement
The phenomena of the space of a room, the sunlight entering through a window, and the color and reflection of materials on a wall and floor all have integral relations.
Great architecture is a powerful thing. It can transform the way we look at space and material. In Rhinebeck, New York, the team behind the Ex of IN House did all that and more with a project that resisted standard conventions to bring a house to life. Steven Holl Architect’s design not only challenges traditional building but looks at the potential to align a project with sustainability.
We got the details from Steven Holl’s Dimitra Tsachrelia, the architect on this beautiful project in the forest.
gb&d: What is your design philosophy?
Tsachrelia: In each project, we seek new ways to integrate an organizing idea with the programmatic and functional essence of a building. Rather than a “style” carried to different sites and climates, or pursued regardless of different programs, we seek the unique character of a program and a site as the starting point for an architectural concept.
The concept acts as a hidden thread connecting disparate parts with exact intention. Meanings show through at this intersection of concept and experience. While anchoring a work in a specific site and circumstance, we seek a deeper beginning in the experience of time, space, light, and materials. The phenomena of the space of a room, the sunlight entering through a window, and the color and reflection of materials on a wall and floor all have integral relations.
Architectural transformations of natural material, such as glass, stone or wood, have thought- and sense-provoking qualities in the experience of a place. The phenomena of that which can be “sensed” in the material and detail of an environment is in a realm apart from that which is intellectually transmitted.
gb&d: What was most exciting to you about this project?
Tsachrelia: How quickly the project was realized. From pure research to actual physical construction, the building opened in less than nine months, which was an amazing inspiration in my long history of making architecture.
gb&d: What was this project’s biggest challenge?
Tsachrelia: The biggest challenge was the building department, the local building codes, and restrictions. For example, installation of a 1,000-gallon septic tank and large leaching field was required although the area of the house is just 918 square feet. However, it was all done and complete.
gb&d: Your favorite feature of the house?
Tsachrelia: The way space receives sunlight and modulates it through the day. The sun is a sphere in orbit and it's light changes and turns in time across the spherical space of the house.
gb&d: What is one lesson you learned during the process?
Tsachrelia: Intuition is the strongest most powerful force for any creative person. It's important to listen to other critics, but think by yourself, trust your intuition, and make the decisions.
Learn more about Steven Hill at www.stevenholl.com