Architecture

Mask House

Words by Carl MH Barenbrug

Mask House by WOJR

There is a lot to be said for living a life of solitude. More so momentarily rather than indefinitely, but maybe it depends how and where you spend that time. Creating a space for refuge can be important for anyone, but perhaps more so when one is in mourning. WOJR, an organisation of designers based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, designed a tree-house-like cabin for contemplation, separation, and protection for a man who lost his brother, and is sheltered by a large slatted wall that covers the front of the home. It allows one to be removed from the world of the everyday and offers passage to another world. Sure, it might have some depressing undertones and the photography of this space may communicate a rather gloomy mood, but the minimalist architecture of Mask House is to be truly admired.

Mask House by WOJR
Mask House by WOJR

The cabin comprises a compact volume raised on pilotis. Within this 587-square-foot (54.5sqm) floorplate, a succession of smaller spaces accommodates daily life. The architects describe this sequence as “a series of thresholds that define a scalar sequence of nested interiors—each interior becoming successively more removed from one world and more connected to the next.”

A narrow walkway leads up to the entrance, located in the centre of the dark front facade. After crossing the initial threshold of the house’s “mask”, visitors would enter into a much lighter and natural wood open-plan living area that contains only a central suspended hearth.

Mask House by WOJR
Mask House by WOJR

The interior space is where this secluded dwelling comes into its own. Expansively glazed from floor to ceiling, the living space faces towards to lake with an incredible view. To the North, the architects included a sleeping nook and bathroom. Above the bed, a circular skylight emits light into the compact space.

Mask House by WOJR
Mask House by WOJR
Mask House by WOJR

The roof of the home was designed as a terrace, and is accessible via an exterior staircase running along the East facade, behind the slatted wall.

The theme of mourning has undoubtedly been visually captured well here, but it would interesting to see this place on a vibrant summer’s day too. Life, as they say, goes on.

Location
Ithaca, NY, United States
Architecture
WOJR
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