Courtyard House on a River

Just outside of Seattle on the edge of the White River, the Courtyard House on a River sits in a grove of evergreens. The dark facade, created by planks of blackened Western red cedar, blends the contemporary form into its forest setting. A courtyard made from a bed of gravel leads to a covered terrace, acting as both a passage from the outdoors as well as a refuge from the wandering elk. The terrace is separated from the interior living area by a double-sided steel fireplace. Once inside, white walls and wood beams contrast the exterior and develop a warm, modern palette. Along with welcoming in generous amounts of natural light, walls of glazing allow for extensive views of the surrounding forest bed.

Photos: Mark Woods / Robert Hutchison Architecture

  • Gemma Observatory

    Sitting on a foundation of granite bedrock in central New Hampshire, the Gemma Observatory ditches the traditional dome model for a more geometric form. The private observatory mimics its surrounding landscape, expanding upon its rocky terrain with its angular design and gray facade, established by a lock-seamed zinc siding. In contrast to the stone-like exterior, the inside carries a warm palette created with a fir plywood lining. The ground floor offers a haven for rest and research, while a spiral staircase leads to an exterior observation platform. The top level houses the main astronomical viewing tower. A sliding door exposes the telescope to the night sky where views of Polaris can be seen.

    Photos: Anmahian Winton Architects

  • Quintessa Pavilions

    Surrounded by 280 acres of vine-covered hillsides and mature oak trees, the Quintessa Pavilions are a trio of wine-tasting shelters for a Napa Valley estate. Each of the structures was carefully arranged within the vineyard, keeping most of the natural landscape intact. Although modern in design, their clean lines look at home in their rustic setting with the addition of reclaimed wood and local stone. While the steel and timber awning provides protection from the elements, large openings and glazed doors keep the space at one with the scenery, allowing guests to sip on their Cabernet Sauvignon while admiring the fields where it was grown.

    Photos: Matthew Millman, Matthew Williams / Walker Warner Architects

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