Would you live on a bridge? This elegant home hovers over a river

It’s like Fallingwater for the 21st century.

There are plenty of houses perched over rivers and creeks in the world. But few are as elegantly simple as the Bridge House, a home that hovers over a Russian river on a single timber truss.


Designed by Ivan Ovchinnikov, founder of Moscow-based BIO-Architects, the home’s unique features comes from a need imposed by the site itself. “The client’s site is divided in half by the river. On one side there was already a house, and the client wanted to put a second house on the other side,” Ovchinnikov says over email. “No one saw the river as a place for a house.”

[Photo: Artem Lasovsky/courtesy Bio Architects]
Ovchinnikov says his design approach was the result of his search for new perspectives on the natural terrain of the site. He has been working with wood for many years, so he proposed a wood structure anchored to each riverside. “To my surprise, the client agreed,” he says.

To him, the project was interesting because of the way that the clean, simple form follows the building’s function and is perfectly integrated with the natural environment. Inside, there’s a living room, kitchen, and two suites of over 1,665 square feet. The facade is made up of large glass panels, which let in plenty of light and naturally ventilate the home in the summer.


[Image: courtesy Bio Architects]
The structure itself, however, was not easy to build: The Bridge House rests entirely on a timber truss that connects the two sides of the river–just like a bridge. The truss is strong enough to support a house that spans its entire surface without needing any additional columns supporting it; it touches down exclusively on the sides of the river, leaving only air between the home and water. “The most difficult part was the communication with the builders because they are used to making ordinary houses,” Ovchinnikov says.


About the author

Jesus Diaz founded the new Sploid for Gawker Media after seven years working at Gizmodo, where he helmed the lost-in-a-bar iPhone 4 story. He's a creative director, screenwriter, and producer at The Magic Sauce and a contributing writer at Fast Company.


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