New York Tower House takes home International Architecture Awards prize
GLUCK+ has been recognised by this year’s International Architecture Awards, hosted by The Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture and Design and The European Centre for Architecture Design and Urban Studies. The New York-based firm completed its winning project, Tower House, in June 2012 for a private client as a holiday retreat in a leafy region of upstate New York.
The building’s owners use the Tower House as a weekend home, travelling to its leafy clutches most weekends in the summer and odd weekends during the winter. The main concept behind its unusual form is a stairway to the treetops; a camouflaged box that blends into the environment with the smallest possible footprint.
To accomplish this goal, GLUCK+ stacked the three bedroom suites (each bedroom has its own private bathroom) on top of one another with the living spaces branching out at the top of the house. This top level also benefits from a roof terrace from which the residents can enjoy panoramic views of the forest and mountains in the distance.
Stacking the bedrooms in this manner means that the stairway is confined to one side. Enclosed in glass, the stair follows the journey from forest floor to the treetop and at night is illuminated with small lights which echo the activity of the forest’s fireflies. The exterior of the building adopts a dark green hue in back-painted glass to better blend its 2,545 sq ft bulk into the woodland.
While the house is heated conventionally, by compressing and stacking all of the wet zones of the house into an insulated central core, much of the house can be ‘turned off’ in the winter when not in use so that only 700 sq ft is heated. By closing the building down to only the insulated core, there is a 49% reduction in energy use.