From small and cozy cabins of times past to luxurious modern vacation homes, the best rural houses seem to be built and designed with nature strongly in mind. These six eco-centric structures from BCJ Architects embrace their forest and mountain environments and fully engage in the ecology of their rural settings and rugged surroundings. Most of all, they manage to reflect historic and regional styles but also combine them with contemporary materials and building strategies.
Set on the gentle slopes of rural Utah, this forested home by Bohlin Cywinski Jackson Architecture starts with a grand gesture: an infinity pools that thrusts out into the trees like a stage in a theater-in-the-round. Stepped roofs and small-volume spaces make the structure blend in with the stepped hillside despite its significant size.
From the approach and entrance to the views back outside, this edge-of-the-forest and top-of-the-hill home in Pennsylvania is all about phsyical movement and crossing boundaries. Visitors move across exposed bedrock into a stone-framed courtyard before the building opens back up to expose views through timber framing of adjacent woods-covered mountains.
Set in the Adirondack Mountains of northern New York State, there is no doubt that this house design has strong ties to the historical home architecture of the area. Stacked stone footings and exaggerated gabled-roof overhangs make it seem almost like a larger-than-life version of its regional structural ancestors.
Despite first impressions of being a simple modern box with large-scale fenestration, this Connecticut cabin-on-stilts sits quite well within its environment – the easy application of forest-green paint and small repetitive mullions help it to blend with nature in both color and scale.
Aged, weathered and worn materials were used to construct the storied layers of this Montana forest home. Great intentionality went into the fine details in order to blend the building with the agrarian architecture of the region without compromising modernized comforts – a unique, custom blend of homey and contemporary.
With roots in traditional Western architecture, this contemporary Pennsylvania farmhouse is stylistically modern in its expansive glass exposures and simple lines. However, it is also distinctly lodge-like, from its large-timber construction and wide wooden floorboards to its classic tapered-stone chimney and rough-cut rock tiles. While BCJ has done a good deal of non-residential work and environmental design, their approach to creating rural homes is particularly captivating in a world where so few houses manage to mix modern methods with traditional materials – all while engaging nature.