The project involves renovating and transforming an existing Victorian two-storey house in Colorado using a contemporary approach. The design concept takes inspiration from the client’s profession in cinematography. The aim of the project is not only to capture the surprise and wonder found in the world of cinema, with its play of lights, movement, and emotions, but also to incorporate the three essential elements that create such magic: the projector, the reels, and the film strip.

Name: Reel House
Location: Colorado, USA
Client: Private
Size: 250 m2+ landscape
Status: Under Construction
MCA Principal: Matteo Cainer
MCA Team: Chiara Antonelli, RanaTaha, Jasmine Di Martino

Reel house  by Matteo cainer Architecture - Sheet2
@Matteo cainer Architecture

Our conceptual approach involved the architectural strategy of “nesting,” allowing us to develop the project from within, as if it were a “film within a film.” By deconstructing and understanding the secrets behind the camera, we designed a project that establishes a cohesive and evolving connection between the house’s interior and the beautiful backyard. Through the use of light, reflections, and transparency, we were able to reintegrate architecture, the concept of “living,” and nature itself in a symbiotic relationship.

Reel house  by Matteo cainer Architecture - Sheet3
@Matteo cainer Architecture

This approach can be seen in how each cinematic element has been decoded and translated into a functional aspect of the living space. The “reel,” symbolizing the delivery of the film to the audience, is represented by the main social area—a spacious circular sunken living room that seamlessly connects to the exterior patio through sliding glass doors. This design welcomes nature into the living spaces, fostering a holistic atmosphere where nature, light, and social interaction can be enjoyed together. On the other hand, the more private and intimate functions of the house embody the architectural representation of the “projector,” a mechanical and concealed device. Lastly, the true magic of the Reel House, akin to the photographic “film strip” that contains light-sensitive crystals, is embodied by a sinuous wall that blurs the boundaries between public and private spaces. Mirrors, transparencies, and framed views establish an elegant and unexpected dialogue between the interior spaces and the lush scenery outdoors.

@Matteo cainer Architecture

This vision extends throughout the rest of the house. On the second floor, a new spiral wooden staircase and a circular bathroom contribute to the overall design concept. In the basement, there is an oval, fully equipped projection room. However, the most prominent manifestation of this concept is evident in the garden, where vegetation and outdoor features seamlessly blend together, creating a fluid sequence of colors, spaces, materials, and biodiversity. Floral plants, bushes, and fruit-bearing trees take center stage, establishing a harmonious conversation with the interior as they transform with the changing seasons. The garden confers a mysterious and magical ambiance, akin to witnessing a living, breathing motion picture.

Each individual function within the design contributes to the whole, enabling spectators to marvel at how the house empowers nature and light, making them the true protagonists of this cinematic living experience.


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