The recent 300-page release from Rizzoli, Houses: Modern Natural/Natural Modern, is a carefully selected offering of contemporary eco-friendly architecture. Specifically curated by author Ron Broadhurst, and with a foreword by Barry Bergdoll, Houses features 29 projects by 26 architects utilizing the latest environmentally-conscious materials and processes. With over 230 color photographs highlighting the most innovative natural/modern architecture of the recent decade, Broadhurst's selection brings to light the next wave of contemporary architects from across the globe. In this visual survey, Houses offers beautiful panoramic views of stripped-down and elegant structures meshed into raw natural environments like lush Chilean forests, vast Caribbean oceanscapes, steep Japanese hillsides, and snowcapped Swiss Alps.
Through its selection of contemporary architects, Houses: Modern Natural/Natural Modern encourages "environmentally sensitive design" that radically challenges the use of "traditional" materials in favor of prefabrication processes and sustainable materials. Highlights include recent V&A winners, Japan-based Kengo Kuma, who offer a culturally and environmentally aware design for China with their delicate fragmentation in Great (Bamboo) Wall House, which just so happens to be adjacent to the Great Wall. America's own KieranTimberlake, newly commissioned to design the US Embassy in London, impress with their raw skeletal designs for the wooden exterior at Loblolly House in Maryland. In Japan, Sou Fujimoto presents House Before House, a space where domesticity meets wilderness, featuring piled white boxes intertwined amongst trees, photographing like a Duchampian Cubist painting.
The message is clear: these aren't our everyday homes, at least not yet. But as society moves toward "greener" architecture, the collection of houses shown here represents a growing modern cross-cultural and international movement towards sustainable architecture, without having to sacrifice aesthetics.