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BENAH LOVES | William O'Brien Jr.

Award-winning American architect William O’Brien Jr. has designed two single-storey holiday houses located in upstate New York, now affectionately dubbed the Twin Houses, owned now by two brothers and their families. It is by way of obsessive geometry that these minimalist structures were realized. While one is a regular six-sided polygon and the other is a four-sided polygon, each building is composed from the same five forms: four trapezoids and one triangle. Heavy stuff, eh? Well, stay with us, because it’s about to get even more complicated…

According to a press release about the site, “the mathematical principle of ‘dissection’ states that any two regular polygons with equal areas can be divided into sets of similar shapes; “minimal dissection” is the pursuit of the fewest number of subdivisions in each polygon. This scheme appropriates this principle as a solution to (1) general similarities in the programmatic requirements, and (2) distinctions in the desired relationships to the site, voiced by the two brothers for each of their homes.

Now, mathematics aside, these deeply considered and meticulously planned buildings are a sight for the eyes (if not the brain also). And, as these gorgeous images by Peter Guthrie reveal, although of the stark minimalist variety and not to mention a sharp black, these twin structures provide both a jarring contrast to the rugged terrain that holds them, as well as a adding a certain poetry to the landscape. A match made in heaven.  

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