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Guesthouse / HHF architects + Ai Weiwei

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© Iwan Baan
© Iwan Baan

Architects: HHF architects + Ai Weiwei Location: Ancram, New York, USA Design Team: Mio Tsunemaya, Madeleine Kessler, Jeff Mansfield Project Year: 2011 Photographs: Iwan Baan

© Iwan Baan © Iwan Baan © Iwan Baan © Iwan Baan

Three years after completion of the main house, the owners of the Tsai Residence approached the HHF team and Ai Weiwei to commission a guesthouse.

The Tsai Residence is a country house built for two art collectors on a forested slope in upstate New York, about two hours by car from Manhattan. The guesthouse brief posited three main elements: a bedroom, a workroom and a gallery for the two collectors’ art. One simple and highly effective gesture – a Y-shaped ground plan – served to link these elements at isolated points and to define the overall appearance of the guesthouse. The small bathroom, kitchenette and walk-in closet – the latter of which conceals the staircase to the basement and garage – consist of compact, freestanding boxes that simultaneously constitute the rear walls of the bedroom and workroom.

© Iwan Baan
© Iwan Baan

In contrast to the galvanized corrugated metal façade of the main house, the guesthouse is a timber structure clad in corrugated corten steel, which rusts over time and so merges unobtrusively with the landscape – particularly in fall, when the foliage of the trees turns into a riot of red and gold. The landscape also plays a major role in the interior design of the guesthouse, for each of the three main rooms offers a different perspective of the extensive grounds: the view is exalted at these points, and thus becomes a part of the house.

The relationship of the Tsai Residence to the guesthouse reflects HHF’s philosophy, namely to use what already exists at a site as a source of inspiration. HHF sees every commission as an opportunity to innovate, and to deliver concrete answers to concrete problems in its signature architectural idiom.

© Iwan Baan
© Iwan Baan

Cite:Fabian Cifuentes. "Guesthouse / HHF architects + Ai Weiwei" 30 Aug 2012. ArchDaily. Accessed . <>