Launch Slideshow

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Dark Horse

Dark Horse

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    Ben Ryuki Miyagi

    Sited within view of a road and nearby homes, this transformed ranch house will give the neighbors plenty to talk about.
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    Ben Ryuki Miyagi

    The house before the remodel.
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    Ben Ryuki Miyagi

    The saw-tooth, polycarbonate-lined "light collector" sits on one end of the shed roof.
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    Ben Ryuki Miyagi

    The interior seeks a quiet, contemplative mood.
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    Ben Ryuki Miyagi

    On the opposite end of the house from the saw-tooth configuration, three half-domed, asphalt-clad towers bring light into the space.
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    Ben Ryuki Miyagi

    Floor plan and section.
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    Ben Ryuki Miyagi

    Site plan.

No other residential architect Design Awards entry in recent memory has divided a judging panel as emphatically as did Villa Metamorphosis. Opinions ranged from “wacky and eccentric” to arch and knowing.” But the dispute yielded one point of agreement: While it might not merit an award, this entry deserves to be seen.

Deliberately Kafkaesque in both name and intent, the project represents Poughkeepsie, N.Y. and Tokyo–based designer Ben Ryuki Miyagi’s vision of a modest, nondescript dwelling “transformed into a black, mysterious house with grotesque, yet poetic, features.” Miyagi flattened the shed roof of the Saugerties, N.Y., ranch house, adding a saw-tooth, polycarbonate-lined “light collector” at one end and a trio of half-domed, asphalt-clad towers at the other. In between, flat black walls are punctuated with fixed glazing in openings whose shapes undermine the viewer’s schema of “window.” The ungainliness of the forms is intentional; the crudity of their execution may or may not be.

The project’s strongest supporter called the unlikely result “both provocative and evocative. It’s outside of any existing taste culture.” While other judges remained decidedly unmoved, “some of us were delighted to see this.”