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Valdes Island Shack

Set high on a hill among the Douglas fir trees of British Columbia's Gulf Islands, the Valdes Island Shack is an off-grid labor of love. Built by Burnkit designer/founder Josh Dunford, this simple getaway was conceived as a tilted box, with black-stained cedar siding running perpendicular to the roofline. The interior is covered in saw-cut, white-stained plywood, with a long banquette on one side, a kitchen on the other, and a sleeping loft above. Rainwater collection and solar power enable modern amenities, including an outdoor shower and soaker tub, the latter perched on the edge of the hilltop to maximize the panoramic views of the Strait of Georgia and the surrounding mountains.

Photos: Lucas Finlay / BattersbyHowat Architects

  • Field House

    Situated on 16 acres of Wisconsin farmland, the Field House uses a galvanized zinc exterior to blend in with the landscape's agricultural architecture. The rectangular structure uses a row of mature trees to block the mid-western winter winds, while east-facing windows warm the interior with sunlight. Inside is a culmination of the owner's three major passions — art, furniture, and astronomy — with a pottery studio on the ground floor and a gallery to display his extensive art collection on the story above. An assortment of fine furniture can be found throughout the main living area, study, and master suite. Accessed by a silo ladder, a secret roof-top observatory gives and undisputed view of space's celestial events.

    Photos: Bill Timmerman / Wendell Burnette Architects

  • Baumle House

    With its simple, elongated shape necessitated by its narrow plot and its black cladding inspired by decades-old farmhouses, the Baumle House stands out proudly in a northern Austrian village. Hidden within its striking facade is a core of reinforced concrete that extends out to create the three floors, with a studio on the bottom, kitchen and dining area in the middle, and a living space at the top. The cold concrete is offset by the light woods used elsewhere in the house, and by the natural light created by the windows, placed strategically to offer views of the village, river, and Lake Constance in the distance.

    Photos: Adolf Bereuter, Bernardo Bader Architeckten / Dornbirn

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