Balnarring Retreat

Equipped with a series of modular features, the Balnarring Retreat isn't defined by function. Each of the plywood walls contain folding components — a pull down bed, desk, and book shelves — transforming the space into an area for entertaining, meditating, yoga, or catching up on work. A north-facing glazed wall saturates the interior with nature, flooding the living room with natural light and views of the bordering pond. Created as a place to slow down from hectic urban living, the space is intentionally lo-fi, allowing the scenic surroundings to be your entertainment.

Photos: Peter Clarke / Branch Studio Architects

  • Mugu House

    Ingrained in a cliffside on the Malibu coast, the Mugu House sits without disruption to its surrounding environment. The home is constructed from a prefabricated concrete produced from locally sourced materials, resulting in noticeably fewer CO2 emissions. A moveable layer of wooden screens form native tribal patterns and conceal the exterior from the coast, while also creating a series of solar occultations. Adorned with lichens and succulent, the interior layout of the home was determined by the topography of the landscape, with traditional partitions replaced by the organic projection of the rocky hillside. The emphasis on nature didn't stop there: a massive bay window provides panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean below.

    Photos: Malka Architecture

  • Estrade House

    Set in the Laurentian Mountain region of Quebec, the Estrade House uses a natural palette to remain in sync with its lakeside surroundings. Clad in a mixture of stone, timber, and black cedar, the series of volumes flow down the natural slope of the terrain, creating an array of staggered outdoor spaces. Large rocks from the excavation were used in the landscaping to further blend the property into its environment. The exterior facade flows inward through the natural wood floors, walls, and ash-stained cabinets. Connected by a double-sided fireplace, the open living area is encased with glass, affording expansive views of Cabin Lake below.

    Photos: Ulysse Lemerise Bouchard / MU Architecture

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