The Rock by Gort Scott wins Best Private House: Wallpaper* Design Awards 2022
The Rock by Gort Scott scoops Best Private House at the Wallpaper* Design Awards 2022, selected from a shortlist spanning continents, settings, materials and approaches
The Rock, Canada, by Gort Scott
Perched on a distinctive outcrop above Alta Lake in the Canadian ski resort of Whistler, The Rock is an eyrie of a mountain retreat that makes the most of the surrounding views. Inspired by a Frank Lloyd Wright quote – ‘No house should ever be on a hill [...]. It should be of the hill. Belonging to it’ – the London-based practice Gort Scott designed a contemporary family home rising from a series of landscaped levels cut into and built out of the mountainside. Comprising six bedrooms, a cinema room, gym, wine room, pool and guest house, the design reflects the client’s deep appreciation of the site’s natural beauty, explored through sketching during different weather conditions and times of day. Entering the house continues the feeling of passing through the landscape. ‘This journey to the crest of the rock, with its shifting horizons, has been a key driver in the layout and design. Although we are placing a significant building on the site, our aim throughout has been to retain this experience when walking to and through the house,’ say the architects. Writer: Nuray Bulbul
Key features: an eyrie of a mountain retreat making the most of the surrounding views in the Canadian ski resort of Whistler
Architects’ previous work: ‘Epic Iran’ exhibition, V&A Museum, London; Gainsford Road, Walthamstow; Lantern House, Cambridgeshire
Displaying geographical and typological diversity as well as a great range in scope and style, our Wallpaper* Design Awards 2022 shortlist for Best New Private House was rich and varied. From the green Italian countryside to the dense urban setting of Tokyo; and from the sculptural concrete of Matharoo Associates’ Plain Ties house in India, to the warm timber cocoon of Kwong Von Glinow’s Ardmore House, there was something for everyone.
The Greenary, Italy, by Carlo Ratti and Italo Rota
Blending nature and technology, this sustainable house boasts one unique feature: a large ficus tree growing inside its living space. It is located in the idyllic Parma countryside, where it was built for Francesco Mutti, the CEO of the eponymous tomato empire. The Greenary’s authors, architects Carlo Ratti and Italo Rota, reworked a traditional brick building on the edge of the Mutti factory site into a family home that reflects the Muttis’ strong connection to the land. ‘We are passionate about blurring the boundaries between natural and artificial, says Ratti. ‘In the house, they converge.’ The stairs, for example, are made out of local earth, while elsewhere the team used resin composed of natural material (including tomato peel). And of course, there’s that ficus. On the upper levels, it feels like living in a treehouse, while on the slightly sunken living space, the eye levels with the field outside. ‘It is a simple house, in the sense that it has simple lines, natural materials, and the greenery,’ says Mutti. ‘The best part is the nature.’
Key features: a refurbishment of a traditional building that puts nature first, and comes complete with a tree growing in the living space
Architects’ previous work: Boscolo Exedra Hotel, Milan; Roberto Cavalli boutique, Paris; Mediateca civica di Anzola dell’Emilia, Bologna (all by Studio Italo Rota). Italian Pavilion at Expo Dubai 2020; Caffetteria Lavazza, London; Lamborghini Pavilion, Milan (all by Carlo Ratti)
Ardmore House, US, by Kwong Von Glinow
Designed and built for personal use by architects Alison Von Glinow and Lap Chi Kwong of Kwong Von Glinow, Ardmore House makes the most of an overlooked site on a small alleyway, and inverts the traditional house structure: the upper floor houses the living space, with bedrooms on the middle floor, and storage space and utility on the ground floor. The last is dominated by a gently curved courtyard that rises right up to the roof and serves as both circulation space, lightwell and informal living space. The top-floor living area features a ceiling raised up into the pitched roof, which is supported by four large wooden trusses that create a monumental sense of scale, as well as ribbon windows that form an unbroken 56m-long run, creating a panoramic view and the sense of an indoor balcony. The striated façade mirrors the internal arrangement, while the Accoya cladding comes in two shades, further reducing the bulk of the overall volume.
Key features: an upside-down house with pared-back detailing, a straightforward material and colour palette and expansive open-plan spaces
Architects’ previous work: Block Sauna 143; Swiss Consulate interiors, Chicago; House for an Art Collector, Chicago (ongoing renovation)
Plain Ties House, India, by Matharoo Associates
Ahmedabad-based practice Matharoo Associates has created a sophisticated 9,130 sq ft residence that bridges modernity, tradition and a sense of experimentation, and makes multigenerational living effortless. Set in the port city of Surat, Plain Ties places innovation at its core, quite literally, with a circular central lounge with moveable concrete walls that skillfully divide and unify the rooms. ‘This is the default space, where everyone comes together and feels connected,’ explains architect Komal Matharoo. ‘The walls become space-making elements and act as an origin point for the horizontal and vertical axes of the building,’ she says. A masterful array of freestanding concrete planes gracefully tied together by slender weather shades creates a welcoming home that belongs to everyone, and which houses a variety of spaces, from a gym, a meditation space and a rooftop terrace, to a medical practice for one of the grandparents.
Key features: a contemporary Indian home with moveable walls that strikes an intricate balance between moments of togetherness and pockets of privacy
Architects’ previous work: Prathama Blood centre, Ahmedabad; Sand Stone and Water House, Jodhpur; Steel House, Delhi
Terada House, Japan, by Naoki Terada
Despite its stark concrete exterior, Terada House, Japanese architect Naoki Terada’s private home in Tokyo’s Suginami, is full of bright and fun details, from its video door phone, an exact copy of the HAL 9000 interface from Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, to its sliding doors, slanted walls and main open-plan living space. An homage to the bright colours and plastics of the 1960s, the interiors also feature Eero Saarinen’s ‘Tulip’ chairs, a bright red Verner Panton ‘Living Tower’, a large yellow wall, and a multicoloured sofa designed specially for the space by Terada. USM modules are used throughout the house, while classics such as a bright red Olivetti typewriter and a grey Ericofon phone complete the decor. Terada’s keen eye and immaculate taste make it all work without becoming kitsch. ‘I wanted to build a house where you would feel happy. For me that’s more important than being able to relax,’ explains the architect.
Key features: an homage to the bright, 1960s vision of the future, with a stark concrete façade hiding a world fizzing with creativity and colour
Architect’s previous work: Takahata Library; Ariake Garden retail and entertainment complex, Tokyo; M House, Tokyo