18.36.54 House, Your Regular Connecticut Country House… Not!
It may look like a miswritten IP address, but it’s actually the name of a gorgeous, minimalist contemporary residence in otherwise conservative Connecticut, designed by Daniel Liebskind. When they first briefed the architect on the project, the couple of owners told him they wanted a country home. That is precisely what he delivered – yet, here, it must be added that the couple in question is ‘a very rich art world couple’, and that they subsequently told the designer, “Whatever you design, we’ll ask you to make it more extreme.” And indeed he did. Start off with the uncanny exterior structure, with its pointed roofs, surprising cantilevered volumes, gaps, reclining planes and sheer surfaces. Once you get past that, step inside for more of the same, coupled with a perpetual sense of surprise. All the regular elements are, indeed, there. There is plenty of wood, ample glazed surfaces, a large bookshelf and a lavish kitchen. But it’s all so askew that it is striking, remarkable and effortlessly beautiful.
Liebskind explained the home’s name by saying that it is formed of “a spiraling ribbon of 18 planes, defined by 36 points connected by 54 lines”. It’s all about pure forms and dynamism, which generate dramatic, unique interiors, whose windows frame the surrounding exterior landscapes. There are so many windows, and they are so ample, that the view is almost continuous and unhindered, out on the surrounding 18th century hay meadows and giant oaks. There is free circulation between kitchen, living, dining and night-time areas. As for the remarkable exterior, it’s not that the home’s architectural program rejects the whole ‘house in the landscape philosophy’. However, it reinterprets it and puts a new spin on it, by “selectively [incorporating] the elements therein for the enhancement of both house and landscape”.