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2013 BOY Winner: Small House

  • PROJECT NAME Dutchess County Small House
  • LOCATION Dutchess County
  • FIRM Desai Chia Architecture
  • SQ. FT. 2,100 SQF

Whatever happened to the charm of rural simplicity, the chance to explore the outdoors, as rewards in themselves? That neglected ethos was what Arjun Desai and Katherine Chia brought to this conspicuously low-key glass-box house. There is only one bathroom, and the majority of the beds are bunks. In fact, at the time that the husband-wife firm was hired, the 2,100-square-foot pavilion was intended to be just the guesthouse on the estate. Much of the 365 acres is visible from indoors, as the building envelope is spectacularly transparent. A high-tech prefabricated window system allows for monumental glass panels up to 20 feet wide. Just four steel columns, buried in the core, hold everything up. Furniture received as much meticulous attention as the architecture. While the parents lounge in a couple of vintage Joaquim Tenreiro caned armchairs in the living area, the two school-age kids are at the kitchen island, swiveling on steel-and-maple bar stools.