Taylor Smyth Architects' Sunset Cabin overlooks Lake Simcoe in Ontario. It is a simple one-room cabin with a semienclosed outdoor space for looking at the sunset over the lake. The enclosed space features insulated glass behind cedar slats; the spaces between the horizontal members allow the box to glow at night.
Here we can see how the cabin relates to the lake. The far side of the cabin is where the porch is located, toward the water and the dock.
Here is a glance into the single room from the porch. Given its size, very little light is needed to make the building glow, and the large pane of glass next to the glass door means the light pours out to the porch.
As I mentioned at the beginning of this ideabook, a glowing lantern also accepts light. In this case the slats paint daylight kaleidoscopically on the glass, frames and other parts of the cabin. The slats also help make the building bird friendly and give the owners a good vantage point for watching them.
The Blair Barn House in Blair, Wisconsin, is designed by Alchemy Architects, which was inspired by traditional barns without aping their forms. The architects describe the project as "a house that takes all its clues from the 19th century, but updates them for the 21st century." Barn siding is used, but it is held apart to let light in and out, similar to the Sunset Cabin we saw previously. At night the house looks more like an art object or an unfinished building than something that people live in. Regardless, the glow is welcoming.
Contrast the nighttime appearance with that during the day, when the exterior appears more solid. Large openings cut within the spaced wood boards bring in more light and frame views of the surroundings.
One way in which the spaced wood boards works is by enclosing this porch. Filtered light comes through, as do cooling breezes. Want more light or view? Just lift open the window (middle) or slide open the door (at right). The sun hitting the wood and illuminating the space is very nice, creating the feeling of being inside a lantern.
See more of this house
See more of this house
During the day the barn appears monolithic; the only detail is the grid of Kalwall, the material used for the exterior walls. Kalwall is a lightweight product made of two layers of plastic with insulation in between.
Since the material is lightweight, it can be used easily for massive doors — such as these, which open up both floors of the house to the exterior.
Moving inside through the large opening, we can see how the translucent wall panels work the same way during the day: Shadows from the trees are cast on the exterior, and the interior is covered with a very even light.
Depending on the time of day, exposures receiving direct sunlight glow considerably. The difference between these two perpendicular surfaces is very clear.