The Matchbox House by Bureau for Architecture and Urbanism

Four quadrants protrude at different levels to create varying spaces within.

ANN ARBOR – Set in the woods in Michigan's Ann Arbor, an ‘urban cottage’ (as bau calls it) uses the idea of a matchbox to play with external and internal geometries.

The four bedroom house is enclosed by a standing seam metal sleeve, holding four inner quadrants (made from cedar siding) within. The different parts protrude at different levels creating an interesting overlap of spaces. Spaces are pulled into the house or extended out, forcing a variation in height and levels inside.

The entire house is raised on a concrete plinth to overstate the acute geometrical form – with every edge defined. Architect Naseem Alizadeh explains how ‘there is neither an attic nor a basement’ as he wanted the rooms to ‘vary in volume and create dynamic spaces’. Upstairs, the bedrooms are allotted dramatic ceiling heights. A section of the living area is also assigned a double volume which exposes the gabled roof.

The design is set to receive a ‘Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design’ (LEED) Platinum Certification – awarding it for its use of ‘green’ features. These include FSC wood, reclaimed trim from demolished barns, no irrigation and low flow plumbing fixtures.

Photos courtesy of Steve Maylone

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