The owner of this small weekend retreat overlooking the Berkshire Hills in Rensselaer County, New York wanted a holiday house for relaxation. In master-minding the project, architect David Jay Weiner was inspired by a cultural symbol: “In the spirit of a Japanese kimono, the house is conceived as a single sweeping volumetric sheet enclosure that wraps and folds into itself to form and define two major interior spaces.” The primary interior space is used for living, dining and study, while the second accommodates a master bedroom suite with floor to ceiling glass windows.

The footprint of the house was minimized with the help of a concrete plinth which elevates the construction increasing the sense of lightness commonly associated with Oriental design. Other interesting features are mentioned by the architects: “An extended closed-in porch like aperture, analogous to an engawa or ‘in-between space’ found in traditional Japanese architecture, extends off the main space to frame the primary view and create a transition zone between inside and outside. As much of the site as possible has been left untouched and restored for the growth of natural wild flowers, which dominate the surrounding landscape in the summer.” [Photography: Tony Morgan]