House in Ghent
The concept of the project is to have a minimal footprint on the land, reducing the impact of a single larger house by absorbing smaller pavilions into the landscape. The concept derives from the paradigm of Japanese garden pavilions in Kyoto such as Katsura, where functions are separated and connections are made through walks in the landscape, immersed in changing views and seasonal experiences.
This weekend house compound, perched on a rock outcropping overlooking the rolling hills of the Hudson River Valley in rural Ghent, NY, is a series of 4 separate pavilions.
Each pavilion is an iteration of the archetypal ‘glass house’ typology with its own unique approach to the relationship between transparent and opaque materials. At the Main Pavilion, where centralized core functions allow an open floor plan, structural floor-to-ceiling double glazing around the entire perimeter provides optimum transparency. At the Guest Pavilion continuous horizontal windows create panoramic views of the landscape. The Cooking Pavilion is designed for entertaining, expanding diagonally out toward an exterior terrace at the transparent southwest corner, while the kitchen and storage are located in the opaque northeast. At the Exercise Pavilion, four glazed corners provide framed views of other pavilions and landscape. The overall architectural vocabulary of the pavilions is one of material constants and variables playing off each other over the topography.
The superimposition of garden pavilion and glass house typologies proposes a compact and sustainable lifestyle. Instead of keeping vacant spaces and rooms in optimum climate condition, unused pavilions can be shut down through sophisticated environmental control systems to minimize energy use and reduce carbon footprint. The project also takes advantage of sustainable mechanical systems, including geothermal heat pump and in-slab radiant heating. The mobility required to maintain such a house promotes a healthy and active lifestyle.¬¬¬