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House in Bedford

Toshiko Mori Architect

Although an assertive presence in their respective settings, these two large houses slip effortlessly into their natural surrounds. Both structures hug the ground, their different volumes cleverly following the natural gradient. Located in different settings and using different solutions, their component parts are studied to offer constant visual connections with the exterior. Clean geometrical forms reach out and fit easily into the surrounding vegetation. Open façades take in the light, bringing the landscape into the architecture. Their interior décor is one of refined elegance. The two-storey holiday villa in Bedford, Westchester County, upstate New York, confidently exudes a refined luminosity - imparted by larges expanses of glazed lights enhanced by light-coloured limestone cladding on the windowless segments. An upper level cantilevers extensively over the lower floor, the projecting bedroom seeming to reach out into the surrounding trees. Set on a longitudinal east-west axis, the lower level is partly enveloped and hidden by the gently sloping terrain. The horizontal programme is emphasised to great effect by the staggered stacking of the main level floor housing the day area and the upper night zone. A balcony-cum-terrace runs along the side opposite the main entrance, protectively enclosed and framed by the roof overhang.

Light and luminosity - the hallmarks of the interior - are enhanced by the natural materials used: light coloured limestone and white oak. The open floor plan and distribution route along the perimeter create a quasi-enfilade running east to west. Areas can be sectioned off, however, by in-wall sliding partitions along the corridors. At opposite ends of the building are a more private living space and a studio-cum-bedroom. The centre of gravity of the house is the living and dining area. Kitchen and pantry are located in a separate block. The two staircases also studies in light that streams down from...

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