Design Workshop: Explore Magical In-Between Spaces

Connected, grouped building materials can be found all over the world. In New England, in which I practice, the connected farmstead or Big House/Little House/Back House/Barn typology evolved from a need to create sheltered outdoor workspaces adjacent to the farmstead. The Big House contained living spaces, the Little House contained the kitchen, the Back House kept the carriage and were connected into the Barn. Buildings were positioned to shield outside spaces from northerly winds and gather light from the south.

The ecological benefits of siting a house to special views, natural light or alternative neighborhood prevailing climatology aside, much of the appeal of split structures now lies in the selection of spaces this layout offers. It’s easy to envision the way the different spaces could function as self-contained — a workshop, a painting or writing studio, a guest suite, a screened porch or theatre.

Groupings of constructions by their nature additionally create outdoor spaces and indoor/outdoor spaces between them. I liken these distances into the fantastic piazzas in Europe, defined by building borders. If you’ve ever been, you understand how wonderful these areas can be.

Wagner Hodgson

Groupings of constructions produce diverse experiences inside and outside a house, foster connections between site and building, and lessen the overall amount and mass of a bigger footprint. They may also be positioned to prevent site attributes: a specimen tree, a water route or erratic boulder. When broken down into smaller parts, each structure can respond to very particular individual functional and ecological cues.

Their mobile nature speaks to your desire to retreat and escape from it all in a smaller, nearly cabin-like space. The structures displayed here produce outdoor spaces with the assistance of various landscape elements: A pea stone sculpture garden, hard-edged grass decks and concrete wall elements all work in concert to weave these constructions together. Intervening spaces could be formal or casual and handled with an assortment of textures to additional break down their scale.

TruexCullins Architecture + Interior Design

Putting a small segment of the footprint of the total structure to one side of this courtyard defines the edge without constraining the perspective or connection to the landscape.

Nick Noyes Architecture

This glassed-in walkway contrasts the solid-walled building. Picture walking from 1 structure to the next as an experience.

You are drawn toward the light in the connector, then into the perspective, then your field of opinion is compacted as soon as you input the adjacent structure.

Nick Noyes Architecture

Separating structures creates dynamic exterior spaces. When you cross-reference substances to unify design elements, it is a win-win. Here, the wood planks used on the garage doors reference the wood fence.

NIMMO American Studio For Progressive Architecture

Drawing the bulk of this guest suite away from the primary structure accomplishes amazing things with minimal work. It establishes privacy for guests (and hosts). And it creates an inviting space concentrated around the fire pit — included and sheltering — while preserving the connection to the landscape.

Lake Flato Architects

Views into the adjacent structure connect interior and exterior spaces, establish a comfortable human scale and then expand the perceived dimensions of this indoor/outdoor room.

Bosworth Hoedemaker

This group suggests a parent/child relationship. The hierarchy is apparent, but the interplay between the constructions is interesting. The playfulness of the tower folly along with the seriousness and sheltering nature of the most important construction create two different experiences on the same property using the same architectural language.

Ibarra Rosano Design Architects

Proof that space need only be defined by the simplest of expressions. Here, the lined volume of a block marks a place (and space) in the landscape. Defining, creating and marking space is structure.

Bates Masi Architects LLC

Bates Masi Architects LLC

This simple pavilion is part of a bigger building group and serves to mark the corner of the pool while setting a human-related scale in the composition.

At the day, this serves as a lantern in the landscape that, when viewed from the primary home, creates a place to view as opposed to the dark wall of glass.

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