Few structural systems are as iconic as the truss. Forming historic bridge designs, trusses within architecture have usually been reserved for roof forms. From the rectilinear Vierendeel to Bowstring, Warren and Pratt configurations, different trusses take on a variety of shapes and sizes. Combining multiple members that behave as a single object, these systems are usually made with multiple units and nodes. The two basic truss types, pitched and parallel, are normally designed by understanding both tensile and compressive forces. Fundamentally, joints or panel points are linked to straight members that become triangular, planar or space frame systems.
Moving beyond the application of trusses as roof forms, the following residential projects explore trusses as building envelopes, façades and organizing devices. Specifically, these designs explore how structural systems can frame spatial experiences and the surrounding context. Designed to embrace diverse landscapes, from rugged mountains and coastlines to expansive forests, each project utilizes the truss as a major tectonic design element.
Located in La Malbaie’s area of the “Terrasses Cap à l’Aigle,” Chalet Blanche was designed to complement the landscape of Charlevoix in a modern fashion. The project combines raw concrete, white stained wood and steel to maximize panoramic views and recall the structure of vernacular bridges.
LAND’s Rambla House is sited in Zapallar City along Chile’s central coast. Overlooking the Pacific Ocean, the project was constructed with concrete beams and timber volumes built using pine columns in V shapes.
Designed to qualify four modes of living, this residence explores leisure, autonomy and guest experience. Formed at the top of a hill on the outskirts of the city, the house features concrete forms, a cantilevered canopy, and a body-tinted stacked glass volume with a 120-foot truss beam.
Made for a family that wanted to live within a garden, the Tobogan House was created around a generic three-story house on a southern slope. Juxtaposing two houses and a car park, the project’s most important feature is the space between the two houses that exposes domestic life circulating between floors.
Casa Doble is located in the small town of Algairén in the province of Zaragoza. Exploring display, rhythms and rituals of dwelling, the project aimed to combine the idea of a conventional urban flat with uninhibited, active links to the outdoors.
Using forms of ecology, Trunk House takes inspirations from the forest. As a small cabin in Victoria’s Central Highlands, the design includes living quarters, a kitchen and bedrooms that are surrounded by a timber structure.
Bridge House was designed to lightly touch the earth. As a narrow, bridge-like structure that spans a creek, the project forms the experience of living amongst the trees with black concrete, perforated steel louvres and glazing.
Paul Hirzel’s River Structures are sited at the end of an existing single lane unpaved road cut into a hillside near Juliaetta. As a live-work space among a winery and vineyard, the project includes two context-specific structures called the Flood Plain House and the Fishing House.
Made among a landscape of stone cliffs, pine trees and heather, this house is located on the island of Viggsö in the Stockholm archipelago. The private residence was spatially organized into three parts that are ordered by a simple wood structural system.
Neubau Einfamilienhaus in Holzbau Hemishofen by Dost Stadtentwicklung Architektur Innenarchitektur, Hemishofen, Switzerland
This elegant truss house is located right in the village center of Hemishofen. Formed along the banks of the Rhine, the project features a simple form and an open organization that frames and stages the immediate surroundings.