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Arkifex Studios Brings the Outside In

Seeking to redefine architecture in the Ozarks, Arkifex Studios dreamed up this Springfield residence using the environment as inspiration.

By Jennifer Adamson

Dec 2019

Arkifex Studios home design
Photo by Aaron KimberlinArkifex Studios are redefining architecture in the Ozarks.

In the living room of this 6,200-square-foot residence in rural Springfield, floor-to-ceiling windows provide an unobstructed wooded view that envelops guests like a warm hug. More warmth seeps from beneath from locally harvested, unstemmed walnut floors, offering the perfect contrast to stark white drywall and locally sourced limestone, both used inside. In constructing this home, a connection to nature and making sure the design resonates with a distinctly regional appeal were top considerations—paramount to the ethos of Arkifex Studios.

“With the way we design homes, it’s all about framing the view and bringing natural materials in,” says Cody Danastasio, partner at Arkifex Studios and lead designer for the firm on this project. “In the modern practice of architecture, you want to let the materials be what they actually are. It’s a focus on the visceral, how you feel when you inhabit a space.”

“In the modern practice of architecture, you want to let the materials be what they actually are.”
— Cody Danastasio

Another component of this formulated aesthetic known as Ozark Modernism is found in physically translating the philosophies of other cultures into the work. For this project, the use of materials that transform the look of some exterior parts of the home over time is an homage to the Japanese concept of wabi-sabi, which focuses on appreciating imperfections. For instance, part of the outdoor patio was framed using a corten steel planter. Years from now, the unblemished concrete retaining wall below the planter will be stained with rusty drips.

“Knowing that would eventually happen, we had to be careful and purposeful in the placement of things,” says Danastasio. “We wanted to test out the idea of making current design practices from around the world look at home in the Ozarks. You can still create modern, relevant design while making sure it has a sense of regionalism.”

Since Arkifex Studios completed this home in 2017, the design philosophy of Ozark Modernism has been used for several other residential and commercial builds and renovations. As clients catch on to this fresh way of designing, Danastasio is hopeful the work of Arkifex Studios will become instantly recognizable.

“We’re continuing to use it and refine what it is,” he says. “Being critical of it and critiquing it over time will only help its identity. I view it as a movement in this area.”

Exterior Arkifex Studios design with trees
Photos by Aaron KimberlinOn the upper half of the home’s exterior, ipe lumber was installed using a rainscreen method, which allows water to drain and evaporate quickly. On the lower half, the neutrality of limestone from a nearby quarry is a juxtaposition to a concrete retaining wall beautifully adorned with rust from the planter above it.
Exterior Arkifex Studios design with blue sky
Photos by Aaron KimberlinKeeping in line with the home’s organic design, Danastasio used natural elements like limestone, steel and wood to create a unique home that would blend in to its surroundings.
Exterior Arkifex Studios design from the front
Photos by Aaron KimberlinThis rural Springfield home defines Ozark Modernism. As a trademark of Arkifex Studios, the style puts a regional spin on worldly design philosophies while connecting clients to the natural environment. For instance, the 10-foot cantilever over the entrance was birthed from a conceptual abstraction of when a log falls in the woods, which then led to the use of locally sourced limestone below.
Interior Arkifex Studios design with modern fireplace
Photos by Aaron KimberlinThe dividing wall between the living space and staircase was left unadorned to emphasize the design’s organic qualities and provide a stark contrast to warmer elements, such as fireplace flames.
Interior Arkifex Studios design fireplace close-up
Photos by Aaron KimberlinThe organic design of the interior blurs the line between inside and outside. Floor-to-ceiling windows emphasize the closeness of the tree line while locally sourced walnut floors and limestone accents ground the homeowners to nature.
Interior Arkifex Studios design with seating
Photos by Aaron KimberlinIn this living space around the corner from the kitchen, a minimalistic design combines sweeping views of a backyard forest with gorgeous walnut flooring to connect the homeowners to nature.
Interior Arkifex Studios design kitchen island
Photos by Aaron KimberlinParallel lines that shape the kitchen’s furnishings mimic those found on the home's exterior. The similar design is visible through picture windows that allow for streams of light to brighten the already airy room.