Architecture shows respect its location by its materials, techniques and its contribution to the site. Several pieces have shown remarkable response to their location. Apart from the well-known examples of Falling Waters by Frank Lloyd Wright and Glen Murcatt’s Marika-Alderton House , there are other hidden gems that have shown high respect for their environment’s character.
1. A proposal for a school in Asminderod, Denmark by Bjarke Ingels Group
The school is topped with a series of undulating green roofs. The bands of greenery create an immersive landscape for the children that compliments the school’s focus on nature and sustainability.
2. Lookout, a tiny mirrored structure located in Scotland’s bucolic Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park.
It is an example of an attempt to link architecture to the immediate environment through an unconventional mirror technique. The design/build project was developed as part of Angus Ritchie and Daniel Tyler’s Advanced Architectural Design thesis at Glasgow’s Strathclyde University.
The reflective building would be almost imperceptible were it not for the strategically placed wood-clad window and door openings.
3. Aloni House in Greece by Deca Architecture. The site is a natural saddle where two slopes meet, the house simply blends into the landscape.
4. Norvegian studio Jarmund/Vigsnæs Architects (JVA) has constructed a single level Summer House on the coast of Vestfold in the southern part of Norway. This contemporary summer residence is designed as such to blend within the terrain surrounded by rocks.
5. Trevox Apartments by CRAFT Arquitectos
This 40-year-old villa in Naucalpan, Mexico is a six-apartment complex with a highly reflective bronze-glass curtain wall protects the building from the sun and aesthetically absorbs the surrounding landscape onto the shiny material. This project is both environmentally friendly and veiled in beauty.
6. “The materials for the house had to blend in with the landscape; I wanted the house to disappear into the hillside.” Neil Sutherland from Neil Sutherland Architects LLP
The masterpiece that tops this list is the Doolittle House.This home in Joshua Tree, California, was conceived and built by architect Ken Kellogg. Construction began in 1988 and did not finish until 1993 – a testament to the thought and care put into the structure’s shape, materials, and impact on the surrounding environment.
Artist Beverly Doolittle and her husband Jay insisted on teaming up with the perfect architect to create their vision: a home that would fit in seamlessly with its rough, martian-like surroundings.
The architectural language here seems to be a blend of neat planes that jet out of the rugged rocks. The building differentiates itself from the rocks but yet again takes the character of the surrounding. It is a balance between a blend and a stand-out. The colour scheme is unmistakebly taken from the natural brown shade of aged rock.
Going inside, things get even more interesting. The forms and spaces become more spectacular. Walls and furniture twist, turn and bend with abandon, giving an intriguing site at every angle.
Light plays with materials and volumes of spaces and when combined with artificial lighting, gives out a spirit of space that no architecture class can teach you.
This is definitely a clear illustration of form, space, order and by far, location.