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Sanjay Gangal
Sanjay Gangal
Sanjay Gangal is the President of IBSystems, the parent company of, MCADCafe, EDACafe.Com, GISCafe.Com, and ShareCG.Com.

VilLA NM in New York by UNStudio

January 27th, 2012 by Sanjay Gangal

Article source: UNStudio

Vacation home

VilLA NM not a regular house, it is not meant for everyday living. It is a house for summers, for weekends, for stolen time. This is a house that you share with your immediate family, with your most intimate friends. The house is compact, as vacation homes often are: like the dacha and lake-side cabin of Russia and Scandinavia the house offers a simple, private, family and nature orientated retreat from urban life. There is none of the clutter of regular life; the house allows you to move through the pleasures of the day with unencumbered ease. All white and smooth, VilLA NM is a futuristic hut; a rural retreat for a family of idealistic, glamorous urbanites.


Entrance (Images Courtesy Christian Richters)

  • Architect: UNStudio
  • Name of Project: VilLA NM
  • Location: Upstate New York
  • Time period: 2000-2007
  • Client: Anonymous
  • Program: Single family house
  • Photos: Christian Richters

Images Courtesy Christian Richters

  • Gross floor surface: 250 m²
  • Volume: 700 m³
  • Site: 7.423 m²
  • Team: Ben van Berkel with Olaf Gipser and Andrew Benn, Colette Parras, Jacco van Wengerden, Maria Eugenia Diaz, Jan Debelius, Martin Kuitert, Pablo Rica, Olga Vazquez-Ruano
  • Project Consultant: Roemer Pierik, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
  • Landscape Architect: Nicholas Pouder, ASLA, Pouder Design Group, Patterson NY
  • Pool Construction: Kenneth Arnoul, Swift Water Pools, Lackawanna, PA,
  • Grounds landscaping: Jason Maciejevski, Maciejevski Landscaping, Damascus, PA


Exterior View (Images Courtesy Christian Richters)

Living with the landscape

On top of the hill, the house affords a panoramic view over the surrounding landscape. Side walls consist of floor to ceiling windows that let in the light. On the outside, the house is colored like the earth; its windows tinted like the sky at dusk. The building captivates the landscape. Inside the cool, white, flowing spaces of the house you are part of the landscape that changes around you perpetually.


Exterior View (Images Courtesy Christian Richters)

Experimental design

The private house commission has always been important for the development of architecture and still is a laboratory for innovation. The family owning VilLA NM are enthusiasts for invention; they had seen the Moebius House in the MomA Exhibition The Un-private House and felt attracted by the idea of living in an experiment.

The conceptual model for VilLA NM is a box with a blob-like moment in the middle; a twist in both plan and section that causes a simple shoebox to bifurcate into two separate, split-level volumes. One side clings to the Northern slope of the hill, the other detaches itself from the ground, leaving room underneath for a covered parking space.


Night View (Images Courtesy Christian Richters)

All the internal spaces maximize the potential for wraparound views. The kitchen and dining area on the ground floor are connected by a ramp to the living space above, the 1.5-meter (5 feet) height change allowing for a sweeping outlook over the surrounding woodland and meadows. A similar ramp connects the living area to the master and the children’s bedrooms on the second floor. Facilities such as the bathroom, kitchen and fireplace are clustered in the vertical axis of the house, leaving the outer walls free. Large glazed windows feature in all but the most private rooms.


Interior View (Images Courtesy Christian Richters)

Technically, the volumetric transition is generated by a set of five parallel walls that rotate along a horizontal axis from vertical to horizontal. The walls become floor and vice versa. The ruled surface maintaining this transition is repeated five times in the building. Standardizing and pre-fabricating of this structural element lowered the building costs without reducing the spatial quality of the interior.


Exterior View (Images Courtesy Christian Richters)

Interior View (Images Courtesy Christian Richters)

Interior View (Images Courtesy Christian Richters)

Contact UNStudio


Categories: House, Villa

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