How Modern Design Can Blend Beautifully With Nature

From its very conception, contemporary design in all its myriad forms was focused on providing aesthetic beauty without sacrificing functionality (and visa versa of course). This often delicate balance includes incorporating design elements that are warm, inviting, and beautiful, proving the utility need not come at the expense of style.
 
This key mantra in modern design is brilliantly encapsulated by the Topo House, a lookout tower perched in Blue Mound State Park, the highest point in southern Wisconsin. Brian Johnsen of Johnsen Schmaling Architects created a comfortable and livable structure capable of maximizing the breathtaking beauty of this unspoiled land, with its rolling hills, tight ravines, fields of crops, and llustirous colors.
 
This challenging balance was presented Chele Isaac and John Neis, who wanted a house in the area that would respect the local topography and have a minimal impact on the wildlife and ecology. To that end, Topo House – whose name reflects this aim of complementing the topography – offers a living space that not only blends architecture and nature, but itself offers a dynamic and breathtaking vista from every angle.
 
One key way that Johnsen achieved this is by making the building appear as if it were sprouting from the earth, as thought it were just another feature in this untouched environment. This effect is accentuated by the “green roof”, which peels up from the ground and spans the lower portion of the house, its carpet of sedums offering a seasonal array of gorgeous colors.
 
Gradually rising from the ground, the house consists of five levels that are interconnected and top by a small but panoptic observatory, from where onlookers can enjoy a 360-degree view of the 40 acres on which it is situated. The exterior of this graceful getaway features 190 black aluminum fins, each of which are uniquely shaped, whose colors change with the sun.
 
In keeping with the prevailing modern design ethic, the structure is both aesthetic and functional: the aforementioned fins are not only elegant to behold, but serve as a rain screen. The home’s airy and open design allows for a seamless blending of outdoor and indoor spaces, with the ability to capture cool breezes in the summer – and thus save on energy costs and the carbon footprint.
 
Topo House is indicative of the sort of innovative concepts that inform Modern Design Furniture, including what I proudly carry at CA Modern Home. Visit my showroom at 1560 Lenox Ave. Suite 101 Miami Beach, Florida 33139 – or contact 800.605.1859 or sales@camodernhome.com for more details or questions.

Jesse Brody
Jesse Brody


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