The Ex of In House in the woods of Rhinebeck, NY is an unusual guest house that’s part of an ongoing experiment by Steven Holl Architects which explores the language of space, spatial relationships and social openness.
Ex of In House by Steven Holl Architects
The “Ex of In House,” developed directly from an ongoing project at SHA, is part of ‘T’ Space Rhinebeck, a gallery and on-site installations that aim to synthesize the arts and present original works in the Hudson Valley.
On twenty-eight acres of forested rock outcropping, the site named ‘T2 reserve’ has been established as an experimental topological landscape. Slated to be a subdivision with five suburban house plots, the site was joined into one natural preserved landscape.
The T2 Space and the Ex of IN House extend Steven Holl’s vision of the broadest range of artistic thinking into organizing principles of ‘T’ Space. The Ex(perience) of IN… intimate, infinite, intricate, intrinsic, internal, inter, into, inasmuch … The associations flow in and out as a measure of the imagination of the human mind. In and around the trees light angles its way into T2 and through the Ex of IN like unexpected insights. Knowledge is windowful! — Bonnie Marranca, 2016
Despite being a mere 918 square feet, The Ex of In House is a marvel of natural woods, skylights, structure and form.
Instead of building today’s typical “McMansion” of several thousand square feet, the single 918 ft2 house is placed in the center of the site.
A compressed form intersected by three spherical voids, the house has a kitchen at its center and is realized as one large room on three levels.
As a compressed form of 918 square feet on a site of twenty-eight preserved rural acres, the house serves as an alternative to modernist suburban houses that “sprawl in the landscape”. Instead, the Ex of In is a house of compression and inner voids.
The house’s geometry is formed from spherical spaces intersecting with tesseract trapezoids intended as a catalyst of volumetric inner space. The geometry of the spherical intersections begins to be felt at the entry porch; an orb of wood carved out of the house volume welcomes the entrant.
The shift in section of the house alters internal space with vertical dynamic spatial overlap. Situated around one main volume, open to the second level, with the kitchen placed in the center, alternative use patterns are created.
There are zero bedrooms, yet the house can sleep five.
Instead of fossil fuel, the house is heated geothermally.
Instead of grid power, the house has electricity from the sun.
Thin film SoloPower photovoltaic cells are connected to a Sonnen battery energy storage system, allowing the house to be energy independent. All light fixtures are 3D printed in PLA cornstarch-based bioplastic. Glass and wood are locally sourced.
The house was made almost entirely from raw materials by the builders, crafting solid mahogany window and door frames, a mahogany stair and birch plywood walls. There is no use of sheetrock. The spherical intersection space was also crafted in curved, thin wood layers. All natural oiled wood and plywood interior finishes are part of the arte povera materiality and economy of this place of wabi-sabi. It took less than a year to build.
About the Explorations of IN
The ongoing research project at Steven Holl Architects began back in June 2014. Questioning current clichés of architectural language and commercial practice, it has developed in a series of exploratory drawings and CNC model studies and in this case, a completed home.
SEVEN POINT MANIFESTO FOR EXPLORATIONS OF “IN”
1. TO STUDY ARCHITECTURE FREED FROM THE PURELY OBJECTIVE.
2. FROM ORIGINS OF ARCHITECTURE WE EXPLORE “IN”.
3. “IN”: ALL SPACE IS SACRED SPACE.
4. THE ARCHITECTURE OF “IN” DOMINATES SPACE VIA SPACE.
5. INTRINSIC “IN” IS AN ELEMENTAL FORCE OF SENSUAL BEAUTY.
6. “IN” IS USELESS, BUT IN THE FUTURE WILL BE USED.
PURPOSE FINDS “IN”.
7. THE THING CONTAINING IS NOT THE THING CONTAINED.
EX OF IN HOUSE
Rhinebeck, NY, 2015 – 2016
PROGRAM: Guest House / Artist Residence
SIZE: 918 sf
Architect – Steven Holl Architects, Steven Holl (design architect, principal), Dimitra Tsachrelia (project architect, associate), Yuliya Savelyeva, Ruoyu Wei, Michael Haddy (project team)
Structural Engineer – Robert Silman Associates
Climate Engineers – Transsolar
Contractor – JLP Home Improvement
Steven Holl Architects