Tsai Residence by HHF architects and Ai Weiwei



Swiss architects HHF in collaboration with Chinese artist Ai Weiwei have completed a house in Ancram, New York, called Tsai Residence.


The home consists of four equal, box-shaped structures, constructed from wood and clad in corrugated metal.


The interior is clad in wood and gypsum panels.


Photos by Iwan Baan.


Here's some more information from HFF:


Tsai Residence
Ancram, New York / USA

The Tsai Residence is a countryhouse designed for two young art collectors. The design reflects their request for simple abstract looking piece, sitting almost without scale on top of the vaste property, which is located two hours upstate from New York City.


The four equal sized boxes are built as simple wood construction covered with corrugated metal panels on the outside and wood and gypsum panels on the inside.


The floor plan is based on the needs of a traditional countryhouse. Only partially the organization of the rooms is a direct consequence of the rigid outer form.


The Living Room focuses on the different light conditions needed for an existing and future art collection, while the great view into the nearby countryside is present without being dominant. The sequence of the different rooms reflects the idea of a private gallery. Natural light is coming into the spaces through the openings in between the outer boxes.


Architect: HHF architects + Ai Weiwei

with Bhavana Hameed, Tom Strub, Fumiko Takahama, Magnus Zwyssig

Structural engineering: Crawford & Associates, Hudson, NY

Construction management: Crawford & Associates, Hudson, NY

General Contractor: Robert Reed Construction, Germantown, NY

Client: private

Livable area: 375m² / 4000sqft (gross)

Maximum height of the building from ground level: 8.5m

Minimum and maximum temperatures of the site: -25°C to +45°C






More Dezeen stories about  HHF architects and Ai Weiwei:



Artfarm by HHF architects + Ai Weiwei


Ruta del Peregrino lookout point by HHF Architects



Ai Weiwei at Albion Gallery

Posted on Monday February 2nd 2009 at 1:00 am by . Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • modular

    Thumbs up

  • Rob

    The exterior looks a very convincing. I like the four volumes, but looking at the plans I’m quite disappointed. The four volumes are not continued in the plan but merge together into one floorplan, degrading the four volumes into a cosmetic gimmic. I would have found it stronger to make a bigger spatial contrast between the cubes.

  • Anonymous

    awesome design

  • rodger

    the interiors do a pretty good job, as far as one can tell, of escaping the tyranny of the multiple box geometry.
    the exterior forms however, and the limitations of this kind of geometry on spacially complex or interesting architecture, i loathe with a passion.

  • MarkJ

    I don’t like the four separate volumes at all. They’re a gimmick and give the impression of four town houses which looks even more odd in an open countryside setting. The interior is pleasant enough – if generic.

  • ElP

    … perfect in terms of the space-transportation-problem (-> porsche museum)…

  • W

    Mmm if Apple made houses

  • windbag

    looks like a first year student project. you can see the effort on the plans, but the elevations are completely lifeless.

  • razifohnas

    This building gives good quality spaces. The natural light, the spacious view, the break of monotony of spaces using the 4 separate walls is brrrrilliant.
    This kinda prove that simplicity can still afford to have complexity in its form. A good balance I must say.

  • William Smith

    Im a little disappointed that the landscape couldn’t have been more integrated into the project more. Instead the structure is left alone like a statue. Maybe this was desired… I like that the exterior was broken into four volumes, but I agree with Rob, why do this if your not going to spatially explore it from within? The interior seems almost an afterthought.

  • mike

    ..not sure what they needed weiwei for. to array these blocks or to sell it?

  • cody

    Great work. Windbag, never have I seen a first year project of this quality. You are full of crap. How about you look at the built work and not judge it by the the drawings. Obviously the thats where the focus is so who cares about the elevations. I can’t recall any first year student ever producing built work either. Stop trying to be so critical and appreciate good architecture.

  • Tim

    It’s a rather formal solution. The four bays are not related to any functional division, they just serve to “look nice from the outside” (to overstate a bit). I don’t necessary think that form should be derived directly from function, but to take a very rigid, functional looking form and filling it with a different function is a bit dodgy, to say the least. It’s a bit like a Gehry building, even though the formalism is completely different.

  • Patrick

    I like the way that the architects orchestrate light within the strict geometric framework and how they sequence the views within the building and into the landscape along the geometric grid. This house is all about these things: Geometry, spatial sequence, daylight, views, materials… Can`t stop thinking about Louis I. Khan’s Esherick House! Check it out!

  • Patrick
  • Hayden

    Absolutely Stunning.

  • come_on

    oh wow…so somebody did use wood and box-shapes before.
    who could have guessed…
    mankind shoulden’t have to reinvent the wheel all the time (old german saying)

  • zeus

    slick. a success all the way.

  • yrag

    Big corporate crowd here I see. It would blend perfectly in an industrial park.

  • Jure

    the alien has landed… what happened to subtlety?


    I’m an italian art collector and I would be very pleased to contact mr Ai Weiwei, is it possible to receive his e-mail address?
    I thank you so much!
    Sonia Marchisio

  • moon

    To me Ai Weiwei's art is possible the most appealing art to me. Since I saw his exibition in the Groninger Museum I'm a fan. For a not architect he made very beautiful buildings.