Image courtesy Omer Arbel Office (OAO)
Vancouver-based Omer Arbel Office (OAO) has completed work on their award-winning project 75.9, a new construction of a private home located adjacent to a hayfield in rural British Columbia.
The complex was completed this year at an undisclosed cost and features a monumental column resembling a lily pad, produced via a proprietary concrete pouring method. A demonstration column had to be constructed on the site in order to get the clients’ final approval. The result is an aesthetically pleasing four-volume arrangement recovered by the landscape that blends process and material into a singular modern and bucolic harmony.
“For 15 years, we’ve developed a method of working with materials at the scale of an object,” Arbel says of his journey to completion. “This is the first project where we’ve had the opportunity of trying that same methodology at the scale of architecture. Our approach has been to design methods of making concrete artifacts and treating them as if they were found form, as if they were archaeological ruins. To divide the decision-making into two different phases, one focused on creating specific objects, and the other separate, much later, focussed on weaving them into domestic space.”
Double-height living spaces made from glass and cedar wood panels conceal what the design team calls a “cinematographic narrative of domestic habitation.” The exterior of the home is covered over by lifting the field as through a “carpet” to form berm-like silhouettes encasing the spaces between each volume with the surrounding natural landscape.
The conical tops of each column are also covered by planted magnolia trees. Inside, the living room, dining area, and open-plan kitchen all form under the canopy provided by the column. Views of the hayfield can be enjoyed against an equally lush setting best with an indoor Japanese garden. Warm wooden accents and fixtures add a comforting feeling to the design, offset by the rawness of the column and the home’s polished concrete flooring.
Pendants designed by Arbel’s Canadian/German studio Bocci complete the project. The architect markets his creation as a “highly contemporary domestic landscape and a timeless monument with an archaeological scope.”
Arbel concluded: “We’re increasingly coming to a time in human history where anything that can be imagined can be built. In that world, it becomes increasingly important to question what is worthwhile. For me, the answer goes back to the analogue approach to materiality. We try to release control instead of gaining increased levels of more and more control. We try to set these systems in motion which let the material determine the form it takes.”
A video walkthrough of the project can be viewed below.
Video courtesy Omer Arbel on Vimeo