This Incredible House Is Built Into A Giant Hill
There are few things, besides unlimited access to all that cheese, that would entice us to move to Wisconsin. That is, until we saw the Topo House, an architectural marvel that's been quite literally built into the topography of the rolling hills of Blue Mounds, Wisconsin. You gotta see this place.
Like a bunker from the imminent brutal winters, the structure sits inside the rural terrain. The architects were commissioned by a couple — a biomedical engineer and sculptor — looking to relocate somewhere that would allow easy access to the area's myriad bike trails, to a home with "ambiguous boundaries between interior and exterior."
The extreme fluctuations in temperature, especially in an environment so vulnerable to the elements, presented a challenge for selecting building materials that were at once resilient and aesthetically pleasing. They opted for a combination of copper, concrete, and anodized aluminum, which provides protection from the potentially violent storms and an exterior that will age gracefully. It's basically made out of George Clooney, save for that time he was in The Perfect Storm.
Interestingly, the hundreds of aluminum "fins" create an illusory effect throughout the day — depending on the angle of light and where you're looking from — that makes the structure appear to be much more geometrically complex than it truly is. Trippy.
Inside, it's a 3,000 square-foot homage to light-soaked minimalism.
It's set on five levels, each separated by a set of short staircases. There are entrance points nearly everywhere, like this giant glass foyer. No neighbors = clothes optional.
Or this patio, which extends right out beyond the living room.
From certain angles it appears as though rooms are rising out of the soil on a giant elevator.
If zero privacy and/or waking at the crack of dawn isn't your bag, this place is going to require some major curtain action.
In keeping with the emphasis on ambiguous boundaries, the roof is part of the landscape — literally. The vegetation on top minimizes both stormwater run-off and helps regulate inside temperature. Plus, it looks pretty damn cool.
Yeah, okay fine. Living in Wisconsin wouldn't suck.
Joe McGauley is a senior editor at Supercompressor. He'd need some curtains.