hollow house :: ground up construction :: 2016-2018

The Hollow House is based on a simple idea – a rectilinear volume with a hole cut completely through it. Orienting the hollow cut volume at an oblique to the rectilinear volume puts conventional domestic space planning in tension with unconventional form. From the exterior, the house is perceived as a strange reinterpretation of the courtyard typology, instead of an outdoor living space, the void is a physically inaccessible shaft pointed toward the sky. From the interior, the hollow void is perceived as a solid volume alternately interrupting space to define separate rooms, and stretching space along unexpected axes.

The site is an old agricultural field on an open rolling hillside in a rural area of New York State’s Hudson Valley. The openness of the site allows for dramatic views of the Catskill Mountains to the west and the long edge of the house contains large windows oriented in this direction to take advantage of the view. The openness of the site also reinforces a reading of the house as an object in the field, not unlike old agricultural buildings, barns or silos seen in the surrounding area.

Rotation of the interior walls with respect to the exterior envelope, while homage to John Hedjuk’s Diamond House series, serves to reinforce the idea of the house as an object in the field. Rather than suggest an extension of the house into the landscape by cutting exterior edges of space at an oblique as Hedjuk did, the strategy here is to puncture the exterior envelope of the house to align windows with the orientation of interior walls. This creates recessed apertures for windows that intentionally frame, like a frame around a painting, particular views of the landscape.

The main exterior façade material is standard dimension metal siding, applied and finished with non-standard methods. The siding’s oblique orientation along the axis of the hollow cut volume, continuous wrapping around vertical edges of the house, and brown/black matte finish recreate textural qualities of old farm structures with a budget-conscious material. While designed in a contemporary approach to form making, the house is intended to an aesthetic complement to historical agricultural architecture in the Hudson Valley.

project team :: Adam Dayem, Farzam Yazdanseta