Society of American Architects, New York City Design Award
in collaboration with Architect of Record, AKDA Architects; KKC Structural Engineering, CHH Construction System
A small hut-like addition to an existing landed residential property is composed of a continuous Aluminum folded screen. This surface mitigates thermal heat gain while producing a delightful pattern of light and shadow. The pattern across the facade is stretched along the vertical axis, denying the normative conventions of scale to the two-storey object. Windows behind the veil are positioned to differing alignments and sizes, reinforcing a play of position and scale to undermine any commonly perceived registration of scale about the volume.
The veil itself covers opaque and transparent surfaces alike, rendering the architecture as a discrete, almost toy-like object. Four specific protrusions, two for entry and exit, one skylight, and one for unobstructed view, extend beyond the veil in a form that appears to be stretched and pulled. These disruptions are fabricated in the same material as the veil; only the shape and use are changed. Various other windows required for natural illumination are faced with operable screens in the same veil pattern allowing ventilation, light, and view without the normative aperture like disruptions to the architectural facade.
Limited site area and setbacks transform the idealized hut form, carving it obliquely in plan, and thus creating a dramatic crystalline-like volume. Expressively, the configuration has an idealized “house” like elevation facing the entry road, while the other elevations appear stretched and attenuated. The overall simplicity of the form is countered by the intricacy of the veil pattern. Within, a bedroom and living room extension are found on the ground floor. A painting studio and gallery are found on the second storey, bathed in a veiled light quality, naturally illuminated, yet modulated from the intense tropical sun. A simple yet generously scaled interior stair wraps about the interior chamfered walls merging the two levels. A neck like protrusion from the hut separates the original building from the additional volume. Internally however, the living room merges rather than separates, creating a contiguous arrangement of rooms. The Hut House is small and large; a little hut with a big scale. The Hut House works with reduction as an architectural concept—reduction of materials, tones, and configuration — to amplify the presence of the veil and the presence of architecture itself.