Launch Slideshow

Outbuildings Slideshow

Outbuildings Slideshow

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    Tim Griffith

    2010 rada
    Tea Houses, Silicon Valley, Calif.
    Project of the Year
    Swatt | Miers Architects, Emeryville, Calif. 

    At this trio of outbuildings in Northern California, earthbound concrete towers let transparent glass boxes perch delicately above the site.
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    Tim Griffith

    2010 rada
    Tea Houses, Silicon Valley, Calif.
    Project of the Year
    Swatt | Miers Architects, Emeryville, Calif. 

    Reused, unfinished floorboards make a rustic counterpart to a new cedar ceiling. The hillside project creates a rarefied atmosphere of calm and well-being.
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    2007 CHDA
    West Tisbury, Mass., Art Studio
    Accessory Building / Merit Award
    Hutker Architects, Vineyard Haven, Mass.

    Hutker Architects and Paul Munafo Fine Woodworking converted this former horse barn into a 600-square-foot art studio.
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    2007 CHDA
    West Tisbury, Mass., Art Studio
    Accessory Building / Merit Award
    Hutker Architects, Vineyard Haven, Mass. 

    The project maintains the original building’s character, while adding modern-day amenities such as insulation, electricity, and plumbing.
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    John Linden

    2006 rada
    Canyon View Office/Guesthouse, Los Angeles
    Outbuilding / Merit Award
    Kanner Architects, Santa Monica, Calif. 

    This angular, treehouselike office and guesthouse provides a sense of repose in the middle of Los Angeles.
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    Tim Bies

    2009 rada
    The Rolling Huts, Mazama, Wash.
    Outbuilding / Grand Award
    Olson Sundberg Kundig Allen Architects (now Olson Kundig Architects ), Seattle 

    Local restrictions prohibited additional permanent buildings on the property, so Tom Kundig, FAIA, placed these guesthouses on rusted steel wheels.
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    Tim Bies

    2009 rada
    The Rolling Huts, Mazama, Wash.
    Outbuilding / Grand Award
    Olson Sundberg Kundig Allen Architects (now Olson Kundig Architects ), Seattle

    The six Rolling Huts measure about 200 square feet each, and each one faces a different mountain view.
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    Tim Bies

    2009 rada
    The Rolling Huts, Mazama, Wash.
    Outbuilding / Grand Award
    Olson Sundberg Kundig Allen Architects (now Olson Kundig Architects ), Seattle 

    Woodburning fireplaces warm the simple plywood interiors.
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    2010 CHDA
    Floating Guest House, Portland, Ore.
    Accessory Building / Merit Award
    Studio Hamlet Architects, Bainbridge Island, Wash.

    Cedar siding and a corrugated metal roof give this floating guest house the look of a Scandinavian fishing cottage.
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    2010 CHDA
    Floating Guest House, Portland, Ore.
    Accessory Building / Merit Award
    Studio Hamlet Architects, Bainbridge Island, Wash. 

    The 433-square-foot building uses birch plywood built-ins to conserve space.
  • A 4-inch-thick wood entry door welcomes visitors to the pavilion, used as a tea house, meditation room, and stage for family musical performances.

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    A 4-inch-thick wood entry door welcomes visitors to the pavilion, used as a tea house, meditation room, and stage for family musical performances.

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    Paul Warchol

    2011 rada
    Tea House, Bethesda, Md.
    Outbuilding / Grand Award
    David Jameson Architect, Alexandria, Va.

    This bronze-and-glass tea house in a suburban backyard also serves as a meditation space and a family music stage.
  • A folded steel origami stair is suspended in a poured concrete plinth.

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    A folded steel origami stair is suspended in a poured concrete plinth.

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    Paul Warchol

    2011 rada
    Tea House, Bethesda, Md.
    Outbuilding / Grand Award
    David Jameson Architect, Alexandria, Va. 

    David Jameson Architect suspended the tea house from a steel armature. At night, the building becomes a glowing lantern.
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    2011 CHDA
    Sweetwater Farm Winery, Glen Mills, Pa.
    Accessory Building / Grand Award
    Peter Zimmerman Architects, Berwyn, Pa.

    Peter Zimmerman Architects transformed its clients’ 1743 barn into a winemaking facility and reception/meeting venue. The architects kept as much of the original stone walls as they could, using painted board-and-batten siding for the new portions.
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    2011 CHDA
    Sweetwater Farm Winery, Glen Mills, Pa.
    Accessory Building / Grand Award
    Peter Zimmerman Architects, Berwyn, Pa. 

    A reception hall with a new post-and-beam frame provides a space for hosting weddings, parties, and corporate events.
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    2011 CHDA
    Cape Russell Retreat, Sharps Chapel, Tenn.
    Accessory Building / Grand Award
    Sanders Pace Architecture, Knoxville, Tenn.

    A lakefront retreat uses simple 2-x-4s to create an intricate light pattern.
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    2011 CHDA
    Cape Russell Retreat, Sharps Chapel, Tenn.
    Accessory Building / Grand Award
    Sanders Pace Architecture, Knoxville, Tenn.

    The building is elevated a few feet to let rainwater flow underneath.

Many architects say outbuildings are their favorite project types to design, and it’s not hard to see why. Programs tend to be simpler than those for main houses, so more design time can be spent creating pure delight, rather than meeting complex programmatic needs.

Outbuildings often have a compelling purpose, such as serving as a space for creative pursuits or providing a place for houseguests to lay their heads. Their diminutive size and limited scope can give architects a greater measure of stylistic freedom. We’ve assembled a slideshow of some of our favorites for your viewing enjoyment.