BASEL, Switzerland — Late last year we wrote about Montebar Villa, a house in Medeglia, Switzerland that created a peaceful, yet seemingly unassailable house-fortress embedded directly into the side of a hill.
We have a variation on that theme today with “Casa Forest” by Daluz Gonzalez Architekten, a studio based in Zürich. We talk (gripe, mostly) about the old architect’s cliché of a building “blending in with its surroundings.” It takes a home like this to lift that hoary old phrase and show how it can be applied. It’s easy enough to throw around when a building or renovation is within an already-urban district, but it really means something when the architect is working with the natural world.
In the case of Casa Forest we have a sensible, yet very modern building that looks right at home surrounded by trees. This heavily-geometric home sits at the edge of the forest, its cladding taking on the look of tree bark just as the lawn starts to give way to the woods. In this way it becomes a part of nature, a manmade structure that graciously cedes part of its presence to something greater than itself.
The interior, according to Gessato, features a large common room in the center of the home. Entire faces of the facade have windows, a feature that carries the theme of blending into the surroundings into the space where people live. It wouldn’t be much of a stretch for the resident to pretend that she was in an ultra-modern version of the Swiss Family Robinson. The minimalist interior is actually three levels high, containing a library and an open terrace on the top level. The home is surfaced with concrete and wood, with built-in furniture made of oak.
In all, it is a place of balance, holding its themes in perfect suspension, both inside and out.
Bill Rodgers is the Managing Editor of cfile.daily.
Do you love or loathe this contemporary architecture? Let us know in the comments.