Design Awards 2010

The Judges Awards

05. Best new private house

Commissioned by two young art collectors from New York, the Tsai Residence is an example of minimal form used to maximum effect. A collaborative project from Swiss firm HHF and Chinese artist Ai Weiwei (the artistic consultant behind Beijing's 'Bird's Nest' stadium), the Tsai Residence sits in the leafy surroundings of upstate New York like a super-sleek aircraft hangar. Consisting of four equal-sized wooden boxes clad in sheets of corrugated metal, Tsai is unembellished to the point of austerity. Despite this industrial outer appearance, the uniform boxiness of Tsai doesn't inform the interior. Rooms are set out in accordance with traditional country house conventions and the high-ceilinged airiness of the living spaces is surprisingly homely. Interior décor is comprised of white-washed walls and polished, light wood floors that intermittently creep up the walls as high-shine panelling. Occasional patches of open brickwork and untreated wood add a bucolic charm, while interior features have been left bare to accommodate the owners' distinctive artistic tastes.

Location: Ancram, New York
Architect's previous work: Kirschgarten Mensa, Basel, 2007; Artfarm, Clinton, New York, 2008; Fashion Center Labels II, Berlin, currently under construction

View images of the house

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