Interactive floorplan: Austerlitz House
Set on the rural green hills of New York State, overlooking a mix of rock ledge and scrub oak, this small community of buildings is an idyllic single-family retreat. Designed by Cambridge, MA-based Anmahian Winton, the complex is located right on a hilltop overlooking the Berkshire and Catskill Mountains.
It includes three separate buildings; a family house, a guesthouse and a garage, all commissioned by the young family as a place to escape, relax and get in touch with nature, and also to welcome and entertain friends and family.
See more images of the Austerlitz House in New York State
One of the architects’ main concerns was the buildings’ relationship to the surrounding nature. In response to the region’s beauty, they designed the complex as a composition of outdoor spaces, placed around a central main courtyard. That central space not only balances visually the complex’ layout, brining at the same time a bit of the outside in, but also acts as a relief for the area’s strong winds.
“We approached the project as a collection of small structures that group around a common courtyard, which is the entry point of all structures. The rocky topography presented an opportunity to nestle the buildings into a shallow hill and expand on the stone as a primary building material, which also includes western Red Cedar, and copper. The buildings began as simple barn shapes that were then tweaked and parsed into a more contemporary, reductive vocabulary”, explains Anmahian Winton’s Nick Winton.
Borrowing from the rural setting’s rough rocky vocabulary and architectural typology, the architects chose for the project a simple material palette of copper, cedar and bluestone. Corresponding to the region’s rocky character, the buildings feature stone walls from ground level, up to varying heights.
The house’s interiors are as simple and elegant as the exterior facades and feature magnificent floor to ceiling openings, framing the beautiful views towards the hilly landscape. The three separate buildings of the complex include living and kitchen areas, bathrooms, playrooms and up to eight bedrooms altogether. The materials used for the interiors follow the exterior’s philosophy of simplicity: reclaimed wood flooring, cork flooring and walls, white oak panels and details, and white plaster.
Last but not least of the house’s special features is its site-specific sustainable design. Energy for heating and cooling the house comes from geothermal pumps. Two wind-turbines will provide 10,000 KW of electricity, enough to sustain the house’s daily operations and basic needs.
Responsive to its natural context, with bright and comfortable interiors, and eco-friendly features too; the Austerlitz House complex is as simple and close to nature, but also comfortable, light and spacious, as it could get.