Bridgette Meinhold

Andrea Salvini's Light Filled Modern American Cabin

by , 06/04/09

sustainable design, green architecture, modern american cabin, green building, andrea salvini, energy efficient cabin

The cabin is an American icon – a place of retreat, relaxation, and respite. In the past, cabins have been of rough construction and hardly efficient, however this project by New York architect Andrea Salvini updates the iconic structure with a modern twist. Her Modern American Cabin, minimizes and stylizes the traditional cabin’s lines and architectural elements, while remaining true to its original concept and spirit.

sustainable design, green architecture, modern american cabin, green building, andrea salvini, energy efficient cabin

This private getaway, originally designed for Woodstock, NY, retains the inclined roof pitch, but maintains it in a continuous line from one side to the other. This gives the home a very grounded feel and a solid connection with the earth. Glass makes up a good portion of the side walls, connecting the interior with nature. Often older cabins are dark and closed off from their surroundings, but Salvini’s cabin lets light and nature in, without eliminating privacy. Modern interior finishes are comfortable with clean lines, but still hold true to the original cabin style. Communal living areas like the kitchen and living room are open, while rooms are more private.

With the modern cabin, energy-efficient building technology and environmentally responsible materials are paramount. Not only is it important that the building reduces its impact on the immediate surroundings, but also on the world. Thoreau would have been pleased.

+ Andrea Salvini

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9 Comments

  1. nevendula June 30, 2009 at 2:38 pm

    animals watch out! don’t gather or hang around this building, your head might be hung on a wall.
    awesome architecture but disgusting details

  2. nevendula June 30, 2009 at 2:36 pm

    animals watch out! don’t hang around this building otherwise your had might be hanged on a wall.
    awsome architecture! but disgusting details.

  3. myarchitect June 16, 2009 at 3:06 pm

    I agree with Quasiblu. I like the lightness of this structure. It reminds me of a sort of metal and glass tent. It can be perceived as a modernist shelter in the wildness where the shape of the roof outline, the porch, the fireplace and other elements interlock with each other, creating the synthesis of lines striking out and up the ground. I can see the project is meant to bring new ideas. Let’s not forget the historical antecedent references — the most obvious being the Philip Johnson Glass House, placing the building in a park-like setting with even more exposure to the outside environment while pursuing the ideal of lightness and transparency as a form of contemplation of the surroundings. Were Johnson to have had at his disposal our technology of today — what might he have done with it? Since the introduction of the Mies V.D.R. principle of the glass box, in which the steel skeletal structure is exposed, the glass box dropped into nature has always been a topic pursued by architects as reconciliation with nature.

    If we think about modern residential hi-rises with their glass cladding nowadays, glass and metal are, budget-wise, the new skin of our urban buildings. Just take a walk in any intensely populated city like New York, for example. In the age of the reality show where architects are addressing people living in a “total exposure” context as a status symbol (see Richard Meier’s Perry Street towers in NYC where, as mentioned by a NY Mag’s “Glass Act” article: “ Tenants embrace the exposure — most of the time — from their sleek, but luxuriously soft, modernist perch”) why should we complain if another glass box is placed in the wildness?

  4. QuasiBlu June 15, 2009 at 10:55 am

    I also want to add that I found it interesting that the architect is from Italy, which
    lends even more intrinsic interest in this project, from the standpoint of a European
    attempting to reimagine a classic, American vernacular style, one that’s tied to this
    country’s pioneer age.

  5. QuasiBlu June 15, 2009 at 10:52 am

    I think this project definitely has several merits, particularly the
    striking assymetry created by the red metal roof line, wrapping the
    house from the ground up. I also like the way it pairs contrastingly
    with the glass exterior walls. I believe the designer wanted to
    achieve the perception of a single continuous line as an architectural
    motif with the use of glass underneath the roof — therefore you
    can perceive the roof as a suspended element – like an Alexander
    Calder sculpture.

    I think the house has an intriguing lightness, transparency
    and inventiveness about it, and I also like the way it blends into the
    woodland setting with a minimum of impact – Woodstock is located in a
    densely forested site.

    I actually took the time to link to the architect’s own site, and read with interest his
    research into the history of American cabins. Apparently he wanted to
    revisit the traditional architectural idiom of the American
    country cabin and try to reimagine it with new materials and new
    lines, while retaining the original elements of a traditional cabin.
    Totally valid and worthwhile. I detect a sardonic note in the
    use of the stuffed animal heads in reference to the traditional
    hunting cabins. I think he’s succeeded in creating a fairly
    compelling reimagining of what a modern country retreat can look like.
    As far as materials used, I think his focus was less on that aspect
    (which from an eco-impact standpoint merits some calm discussion),
    than on a re-conceptualization of the country house, working around a
    concept – as far as it is true a modern home with new technologies and
    devices it is always able to achieve a greener purpose.

    BTW, I think if the readers would try to give each posted project a
    fair hearing and weigh its pro’s and con’s, instead of lobbing cynical
    and smug denunciations based on a rendering only — and often in that
    “greener than thou” false piety — then maybe this site would live up to its
    original intended ideals. Sometimes it’s more important to evaluate the intrinsic
    value of a concept more than the visual impact of a rendering. Thank you Bridgette
    for this posting, I personally found the topic very interesting and obviously
    stimulating.

  6. rottonwood June 8, 2009 at 8:02 pm

    i find it hard to swallow your description of cabins of the past as “hardly efficient” when the majority of the time cabins of the past were built with locally sourced materials that required little processing. this piece of junk looks all drywall and glass! tally up the carbon footprint of this thing after you use the helicopter to drop off the materials in the remote location the cheesy rendering seems to suggest. don’t try to pass this B.S. off on people as green!

  7. amandaanne7 June 7, 2009 at 1:25 pm

    dislike the animals heads

  8. terrym June 5, 2009 at 12:54 pm

    I also agree!

    It mentions energy efficent materials?

    It also mentions that it connects the interior with nature! Unless it is situated within the remote wilderness i really cannot see the appeal at all.

    Anywhere near neighbours and you havbe hardly any privacy.

  9. theauthor June 4, 2009 at 9:42 pm

    So the fact that it is modern architecture somehow makes it environmentally friendly? Exactly what are the methods being employed to make this home green? The fact that 40% of the exterior skin is glass isn’t that indicative of energy efficiency, nor could it be no matter what type of glazing is used.

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