In the shadow of Mount McKinley, amid Alaska’s meadows and icy streams, a former teacher and a four-time Iditarod winner built a modernist cabin as expansive as the Last Frontier. Everything about the 2,450-square-foot house centers on the natural setting, the Matanuska-Susitna Valley.
In Napa Valley, one sustainable residence elegantly demonstrates straw bale technology. Firmly believing that buildings should provide little disruption to their surroundings, the architect sited the house into the contours of the hillside without disrupting the landscape. Setting the house as he did also preserved the east-facing meadow that rolls out beneath the house and provides panoramic views of the valley below.
Avid outdoors enthusiasts, a couple was looking to build a modest year-round retreat in Washington’s Cascade Mountains in order to make the most of the region’s vast network of hiking and cross-country skiing trails. The residents don't have to travel too far to engage with the outdoors; the balcony extends outwards to meet the valley below.
Located in a hidden valley on the picturesque Izu Peninsula, a few hours west of Tokyo, the Watanabe Residence is a striking black box propped amidst the wooded landscape. Architect Tadashi Murai designed this remote retreat for a Tokyo transplant who abandoned his corporate existence.
Designed by his son and daughter-in-law, and largely built by his family and a host of neighborly helpers, Bill Weber’s new home is all about strengthening the ties that bind. The Weber residence sits comfortably in the rich, green Wisconsin valley.
Architect Piers Taylor's renovation of an old gameskeeper's cottage, complete with a castellated roof and sweeping meadow below, is an exercise in dramatic modernization, one that takes advantage of everything its storybook setting has to offer. The dramatic juxtaposition of a stone gamekeeper's cottage and a modern timber framed addition gives the home a quaint, pastoral feel while capitalizing on the dramatic view of St. Catherine's Valley.
Architect Preston Scott Cohen resurrected an early 1800s barn as a vacation home for a literary couple and their family, calling to mind both the agrarian spaciousness of the structure’s former life and the vernacular of its new function as a house. After clearing 15 wooded acres west of their building site at the land’s high point, they got quite the defoliation-related surprise: a view, not only of nearly the entire Catskill range, but an Arcadian tableau of valleys, forests, and fields in front of it.
Nestled in a subalpine meadow valley in Washington, the Ranchero House is surrounded by a beautiful but demanding landscape. A Seattle family had frequented the area for years, making the three hour drive into the Okanogan National Forest for cross-country skiing and hiking, before finally making a permanent settlement for vacation.
Thanks to Matthew Hufft, their envelope-pushing architect and longtime friend, Hannah and Paul Catlett have a new home in southwestern Missouri that’s a fresh, unconventional take on the traditional farmhouse. In building their home, they hoped to connect with the outdoors: to the tree-covered hills, the animals in the pasture next door, and the river valley to the south.
With a new prefab in-law unit,
an octogenarian modernist lives
independently on a peaceful,
verdant site in Northern California with stunning views of the valley.
In Vieira do Minho, a small village in northern Portugal, Guilherme Vaz designed a fortresslike retreat that embraces the natural landscape while keeping it at bay. Dubbed the Valley House, it is a concrete tube pointed directly at a spectacular mountain range to the east of the valley.
It was no exodus, of course, but when Kathleen Triem quit her job at a Manhattan design firm in July 1996, her associates were thunderstruck. Triem had decided to practice architecture in the more leisurely atmosphere of upstate New York and, as her colleagues saw it, she was shooting herself in the foot. Naturally, she had qualms, but when she chanced on Omi, a small town in the Hudson Valley, she knew that she’d found her home.
Liberal use of windows during an update to this A-frame makes the most of panoramic views spanning two valleys in Catalonia, Spain.