Pine is What Gives This Modern Modular Home its Warmth and Comfort

For a long time, modular buildings didn’t have the greatest reputation. Many people associated them with cheap, lightweight steel structures that fail to stand the test of time, looking shabby in just a few years. But today, the process of prefabricating sections of a building in a warehouse and transporting them to the site for assembly has evolved, incorporating many different types of materials and adapting to exciting new designs. Modern modular buildings are often more environmentally friendly than conventional construction, as well as faster and more economical to build. 

There’s one thing that many modular buildings still lack, however, and that’s a sense of warmth and character. When a structure sits so lightly upon the landscape that it seems almost ephemeral, it needs some solidity and connection to nature to make it feel grounded. That’s where wood comes in. This vacation home by Chilean architectural studio Max-A demonstrates how wood (specifically pine) can make a building feel so much more comforting and welcoming than if it were made of colder, harder materials like steel, glass and concrete.

Located on the edge of Chile’s fourth-largest lake, the Casa Tobita home was designed to be easily constructed by local builders on a tight budget using local materials. Lead architect Noguera Balmaceda chose pine because it’s locally grown and harvested, affordable and adds texture and character to both the interior and exterior. The pine-clad volumes are elevated off the ground and placed several feet below the separate roof structure, protecting them from the weather.

All of the interior spaces are lined with pine on the floors, walls and ceilings, stained in different tones for a natural, organic-feeling color palette that complements the views out the many windows. Outside, the pine siding is treated with a gray oil stabilizer that protects the wood and gives it a dramatic blackened appearance.

“By designing with modules, we not only reduce waste but also accelerate the construction process, making it possible to have the finished home in short time frames,” says Balmaceda. “Using predefined measurements allowed us to work with locally produced wood and play with fitting programmatic needs into these dimensions while not losing spatial quality.”

The Seeds: Organic Rounded Vacation Cabins Clad in Pine Shingles

Simultaneously futuristic and organic, “The Seeds” are a group of vacation pods set within a forest as part of the Tree Wow hotel in Jiangxi, China. Each one has an oblong rounded silhouette and a circular glass door opening onto a circular balcony. Architecture firm ZJJZ Atelier says they weren’t trying to mimic any particular natural form with these unusual cabins, but simply design a structure that works both for the setting and their intended use.

The architects wrapped the cabins in a combination of pine shingles and mirrored aluminum tiles, giving the exteriors an interesting dynamic appearance that will change with the seasons, softening their appearance.

“Like the roots of a plant, this reflective cladding anchors each house to the earth,” the architects said, “while the pine shingles give the structures a warm, soft aesthetic, allowing them to blend into the surrounding nature.”

Set in a row of four, The Seeds are raised above the ground on stilts and accessed via staircase. Inside, guests will find walls lined with wood in an appealing swirling pattern, a built-in multipurpose surface, a bed, a bathtub and a lounge chair overlooking the terrace. A lofted lounge positioned beside an oculus window gazes at the forest. 

Modernist Long Island Home Made of Glass & Pine

Modernist Long Island home glass and pine facade

Following the grand traditions of some of the 20th century’s greatest architects, this modernist home in Amagansett, New York features a simple rectangular silhouette and generous expanses of glass. But architect Jerome Engelking’s contemporary twist gives what might otherwise just be a transparent glass box both privacy and shade. Taking inspiration from the tree-dotted landscape, Engelking wraps the retreat in a screen of vertical pine.

The result feels both open to the tranquil, private setting within Stony Hill Forest and protected from the elements (and, if the home were located in a more populated area, the eyes of passersby as well.) 

Modernist Long Island home glass and pine privacy
Modernist Long Island home glass and pine living room

“The house is made from a unique, repetitive module,” says the architect. “This module is itself dematerialized, reduced down to its outer frame. This subtractive strategy highlights the tactile qualities of the carefully curated palette of materials: unadorned wood, glass, and concrete. The design of the house balances the use of modular fabrication and the craft of traditional construction methods. With its simple geometry and minimal use of materials, natural light becomes the prominent element defining the space, celebrating the ever-changing seasons and the remarkable wooded vistas.”

Modernist Long Island home glass and pine interior

The architect wanted the choice of timber to shine inside and out, “letting the structural material speak for itself.” Within the home’s minimalist interiors, pine sheathing creates an interesting textural surface that eliminates the need for drywall, paint or ceiling surfaces, providing “a warm counterpoint to the minimal design.” 

Modernist Long Island home glass and pine. columns
Modernist Long Island home glass and pine

Engelking wanted strong engineered pine elements that could function as both architectural mullions (the vertical divisions between the panels of glass) and structural columns, ultimately sourcing them from Canadian manufacturer IC2. This is part of what gives the home its lightweight, delicate feel. At night, interior lights shine between the louvers of the facade, giving the home a cozy and inviting glow.

Sculptural Pine Partitions Bring Some Personality to a Dentist’s Office

Pine partitions lumber renovation

Raúl Sanchez Architects demonstrates a fun new way to incorporate wood into an interior space at the Impress Dental Studio in Barcelona, Spain. Set within a historic building, the office enjoyed high ceilings, enormous windows and beautiful views, but it felt a little sterile. The designers wanted to bring in some warmth, texture, patterns and dynamic shapes to shake things up and appeal to the youthful clientele the studio attracts with its tech-focused model of care.

Pine partitions treatment area

“The concept of Impress dental clinic is aimed at a young audience, which has grown with new technologies, since its offer is based on online treatments that reduce face-to-face visits. From the first moment Impress looked for a fresh design, which represented the brand and its values, which moved away from the topics of a dental clinic (white colors, aseptic environment).”

Pine partitions reception area
Pine partitions outside

The new, interconnected pine partitions mimic the smile shape of the Impress logo and create a set of built-in furniture including two offices and a bathroom. Set back from the facade by about seven feet, the partitions establish a new reception area and create a visually interesting backdrop that can be appreciated from outside. They also separate the treatment areas from the waiting room and from each other.

Pine partitions stairs
Pine partitions curves

“The material palette is dominated by the pine wood of the interior partitions, which adds an unusual warmth in a dental clinic; the existing structural elements stand out with the corporate gray color of Impress; a large corporate red-colored sheet metal cladding accompanies the ascent to the mezzanine and stains the interior with red highlights; a neon sign creates a required corner for instagram pics, and above, the corporate blue color stars the wall over the entrance curve; the ceramic flooring has the same red color joints of the metal wall. And in general, all the elements of the interior receive a color and texture treatment that obeys the Impress identity mark.”

Pine partitions sign

As you can see, all it took to achieve a totally new look and feel within this office was cutting pine lumber to create the desired shapes and screwing it into place. It’s brilliant in its simplicity and easy to mimic for other projects.

Archipelago House: A Pine-Clad Summer Residence in Sweden

Architecture firm Norm Architects wanted this holiday home set on a scenic cliffside to be harmonious with nature, above all. Selecting natural materials that complement and blend in with the picturesque surroundings was a high priority for the design.

Their choice of knotty vertical pine for the exterior siding does just that, with a warm, textural presentation that’s also modern and luxurious. Wood is also carried into the interiors alongside other natural materials like stone and textiles.

Bright and open, this vacation home on the coast of Sweden embraces both Scandinavian and Japanese influences. Though it’s all one residence, it actually consists of four distinct volumes staggered across the cliff, with simple shapes that echo those of the boathouses on the water. The architects hoped the home would ultimately look like a natural extension of the site instead of an imposition.

Interior features include floor-to-ceiling oak cupboards, dark wood vanities, stone tile and Japanese-inspired lanterns made of washi paper by Kojima Shouten. Together, these materials, clean lines and daylight combine to create a zen-like sense of calm.

“Harmoniously embodying chaos and order, nature is a constant inspiration to human kind and will survive long after our extinction,” the architects write. “Therefore nature should always be considered a guideline rather than a simple component. The wooden structure is harmoniously merged with the surrounding nature and draws inspiration from the local building traditions found in boathouses on the rocky shores. Set into the cliff, the house consists of four wooden volumes interlocked and connected by a terraced wooden deck that follows the sloping plot.”

“The fact that human and nature are inseparable makes it all the more vital to have nature be part of our indoor environments – living surfaces, soft and calming nuances that makes us feel at ease. The color and material-scheme of the interior is kept in natural, muted high-end materials that reflect the nature outside. There is not only a direct connection and transparency between inside and outside in this house, but also a more symbolic connection in terms of material and color use.”

Blackened Pine Beach House Takes in Dramatic Ocean Views

casa ss charred pine siding chile in landscape

Dark, dramatic pine remains a strong trend for home exteriors, whether you choose to paint, stain or char the wood. The latter technique has additional protective benefits, like making the building more resistant to fire and insects, but all three add statement-making contemporary flair. In this case, architect Pablo Saric paired it with vertical pine siding for his own stunning single-story family home overlooking the rocky coastline of Chile.

casa ss charred pine siding chile front wall

Casa SS was designed with two primary features in mind: prioritizing views of the sea for everyone, and reducing light pollution from the home at night, which could affect sensitive wildlife in the area. The location is so remote, there’s no electric street lighting, making it a great place to gaze at the stars. Working with fellow architect Cristian Winckler, Saric arranged the layout in a single, simple line, so every room has its own floor-to-ceiling glass wall overlooking the water.

casa ss charred pine siding chile

Pine is a big part of what makes this home so powerful. When you approach from the road, all you see is those vertical slats extending the full height of the building, giving the home a sleek linear silhouette. There are no windows on the back or side walls at all: just a single entry door that leads into the main living area. The side walls extend forward like protective wings, creating outdoor spaces that are sheltered from the sometimes brutal coastal winds. The roof is covered in solar panels to power the off-grid residence.

casa ss charred pine siding chile dining room
casa ss charred pine siding chile bedroom

The home was prefabricated offsite, with modules transported over 160 miles from Santiago and set in place with a truck crane. The minimalist design, including the charred vertical pine siding, was a carefully considered aesthetic choice.

casa ss charred pine siding chile protected patio

“We tried to reduce the palette of materials to a minimum to avoid a lot of visual information,” Saric told Dezeen.

“The idea is that the landscape is the protagonist, so the cladding is all in wood placed vertically. The doors of the rooms and the closets also use this material, and they try to disappear into the continuity of the interior and exterior walls,” he explained.