Cliff House by Altius Architecture

Altius Architecture designed the Cliff House in Muskoka Lakes, Ontario, Canada.








From the architects

Set on the Cliffside of a much-cherished lake, this cottage seeks to enhance the extraordinary surrounding scenery through the thoughtful integration of building elements with the natural assets of the site and terrain. This dwelling emerges form the rock formation of the cliff using the same local granite to form its base. A central core acts as an anchor that circulates movement, light and air into the living spaces that pinwheel and cantilever off into the landscape. In spite of its modest scale, the residence easily accommodates the family of four by providing amenity for dinning, cooking, living, reading and sleeping which are each carefully tuned to the unique view, light and breezes of the cliff. To balance the heavy mass derived from the fireplaces; cantilevered volumes, flying roofs and floor to ceiling glass are used to achieve a lightness of form as it works to bring the lake into the living spaces.

Living lightly on the site was important to the owners due to their strong mandate for sustainability. As a retreat from urban life, the desire to become completely self sufficient and independent from external infrastructure became critical in the design of a completely off grid residence. A two tiered approach is implemented to take advantage of both passive strategies which work to reduce energy loads and augment comfort so that the active strategies are sufficient to provide for the remaining energy needs. Energy efficient design in this case is not divorced from the experiential qualities of the dwelling but is used to enhance the unification of building to the landscape for the pleasure of its owners.

This system implements a passive gain and solar mass strategy that takes advantage of the sun’s daily passage and the movement of air in different seasons for each space. In summer, solar shading limits heat gain while operable windows are orientated to take advantage of natural ventilation. The operable windows in the central circulation space are designed to make use of the stack effect so that hot stale air is vented out and cool fresh air is drawn in. Green roofs are designed to mediate temperatures and control runoff while connecting the building foreground with the distant landscape. In winter, optimized glazing and solar orientation are used in conjunction with thermal mass in the form of concrete slabs and stone walls and the two interior fireplaces to store the sun’s radiant energy to form the base of the heating system. A high performance envelope design also works to limit unfavorable heat loss and gains all year round.

Evacuated tube solar arrays are used collect the sun’s energy to collect hot water that is stored in 10 thermal mass tanks. The hot water collected through the panels then feed into a hydronic radiant floor system to ensure a highly efficient use of technology. A series of photovoltaic panels are used to provide the buildings on the property with electricity. To ensure their success, the electrical loads are carefully managed and are minimized by selecting energy efficient appliances and LED lighting. To round out the supply of heat in the residence, advanced geothermal systems with masonry heaters are used to take full advantage of abundant biomass and latent heat available on site.

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Design: Altius Architecture

House in Yatsugatake by Kidosaki Architects Studio

Kidosaki Architects Studio have designed a house on the edge of the Yatsugatake Mountains in Nagano, Japan.







Description from the architects

Located on a sloping mountain ridge at the foot of the Yatsugatake Mountains, this house was designed on a piece of land that offers spectacular views that are rarely known. Seeking for the best in picturesque scenery, the client took up residence in Tateshina, and spent many years searching for the ideal site for building his house.Inevitably, the main aim of this project is to meet the client’s expectations to incorporate these stunning views in to the design.

When I visited the site, my first impression was that this untapped and expansive nature must be embraced into the interior to the greatest extent possible. I decided to arrange the house in such that this horizontal expanded scenery must be maximized. In order to realize this design, I introduced mega structures column enabling half of the house to extend into the air. To support this large overhanging floor, 2 diagonal bracing steel cylinders, each 300 mm in diameter is introduced. With this, the house is floats in to the midst of a glorious natural surroundings. With this overhanging structure, the breeze of the mountain plateau flow through the interior, makes you coexistent with nature.

When you are invited to the entranceway, after passing through the restrained space of the hallway, and as you enter in to this dramatic space, magnificent and impressive scenery spreads out before your eyes. Living / dining / kitchen area, the majestic panoramic view extends on all three sides is something you can’t find anywhere else, but here in this space. And the scenery is all to your own.

This space is an extravagant experience that only those who have given a privilege to be invited can truly enjoy. Other rooms are planed to offer differing views of the mountains, enabling a variety of views from each of the rooms. The high ceilings and wide wood deck and eaves enable a space steeped in the overwhelming presence of the panoramic views of the area.The feeling is so intense that it is almost as if you are living on a cloud.

The various components have been elevated through careful attention to detailing, and the refinement of the structure gives a sense of tension and unity to the space and adequate materials, achieving the proper balance between a dominance over and a harmony with the surrounding natural environment. The character and humility of this dwelling, constructed without compromising the vision of the architect, expresses a dignified reverence for the scenery surrounding it.

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Architects: Kidosaki Architects Studio
Photography: Junji Kojima


The Cabin by H2o Architects

H2o Architects designed the interior of this small ski resort apartment in Menuires, France, which features a curved wall with built in storage and sleeping units.



Description from the architects:

The apartment is situated in the Menuires skiing resort.  As an end addition to a 1960’s building, it offers a triple orientation which was not exploited by the original building. The commission was challenging: to increase the living-room surface without modifying any of the structural or supporting elements, to create 2 bathrooms instead of one, to maintain the same number of beds, that is to say 8 beds for 55 square meters.


To maximize the use of space, we decided to overturn the perspective:  not to try and make the furniture fit into the flat, but rather the flat into the furniture!

A large wooden curve crosses the entire surface of the flat. Around  it are gathered all the basic functions of the house allowing for a large free space towards the windows which offer a panoramic view of the mountains.  This piece of furniture includes in its thickness different necessary facilities: storage space, superimposed sleeping units, a reading corner, kitchen and bathroom (back to back). It is the piece of furniture itself which structures the space. A curtain device allows for greater privacy around the sleeping units.



The niches can be used in several ways: as storage or as interior windows between the two sides of the wooden wall. The result is playful and cozy: in the evening, what pleasure after a day of skiing to climb up to one of the little sleeping nests with its own little niche and bedside light….! Two types of wood are used here: a luminous birch plywood and solid American walnut tree.






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Interior design by H2o Architects

Photography by Julien Attard


Depot House by Gray Organschi Architecture

Gray Organschi Architecture designed the Depot House in rural Connecticut.









Description from Gray Organschi Architecture

The Shepaug River Valley Railroad, which ran along the Bantam River in the late 19th century, stopped at this location, once the site of a tiny local train depot. We saved and reinforced the existing 19th century rubble foundation, using it as the base for this new house. Two simple gable structures, oriented perpendicularly to each other, create space for a large open plan between them and refer, through their forms, to neighboring barns and to the region’s agricultural heritage. The house interior is lined with bleached pine; kitchen, dining, living and family rooms overlap each other and create a rich series of spatial experiences that accommodate relaxed weekend living. The living spaces open onto a lap pool which is edged in stone-lined gabion baskets and is surrounded by a cedar deck. Outdoor spaces provide views across the meadow to the Bantam River.

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Designed by Gray Organschi Architecture


Pathway House by Jacobs-Yaniv Architects

Jacobs-Yaniv Architects designed this house for a family in Tel Aviv, Israel.



Description from Jacobs-Yaniv Architects:

The main architectural concept was creating inside the house an in-between space: joining the outside with the inside by introducing plants and skylights along a passage which continues the garden path to the house. The house occupies a full rectangular shape on the majority of the site, and the planted and day-lit passage breaks down a potentially rigid placement on site. Most of the house is planned on one floor – ground floor. Only a guest room occupies the basement. The passage cuts the house in two sections – hosting and sleeping. The internal plan is directed north-south for optimal day light and east –west for optimal natural ventilation.


The central passage is a 3 m’ wide by 14 m’ long space which holds not only plants but a large wooden library with books and an assortment of personal decorative objects collected by the residents. A special technique has been developed for flexible hanging of art work. It allows changing and shifting, suitable for the residents and for joy of ever-changing life in a home.


The ‘public’ section of the house has no columns but has exposed concrete beams carrying through to the terrace and defining a subtle rhythm to the light penetrating the house from the roof. In order to provide the house a light feeling – integrated and not overtaking the garden, the terrace and the paths outside were lifted slightly from the ground letting plants grow in between. All building details and interior items were chosen very carefully and with thought of items already existing in the lives of the residents.




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Architecture by Jacobs-Yaniv Architects

Photography by Uzi Porat


Residence 1414 Renovation by Miró Rivera Architects

Miró Rivera Architects designed this contemporary renovation of a 1940s house in Austin, Texas.









Description from Miró Rivera Architects:

The original 1940s house suffered an unfortunate addition in the 1980s. The backyard views were blocked by a heavy fireplace and small windows; meanwhile a fenced-in pool, brick terraces, and roofed arcade all served to divide rather than unify the landscape.

MRA’s goal was to restore the exterior of the house in this historic neighborhood while transforming the interiors to bring in light and provide a better connection with the exterior. A simple material palette was used to maintain a balance between the traditional aspects of the original house and the modern updates required by this family of four.

The garage was renovated to include an upper level gym, guest alcove, and terrace. Below the terrace an outdoor living space activates a previously neglected yard. A Sol Lewitt sculpture, visible from the main rooms of the house, increases the depth of the yard and provides a crisp and geometric focal point.

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Architecture by Miró Rivera Architects

Photography by Paul Finkel


Casey Key Main House by Sweet Sparkman Architects

Sweet Sparkman Architects designed the Casey Key Main House in Osprey, Florida.







The Main House, the largest of three structures on a family coastal compound, is a U-shaped courtyard structure elevated on piles to meet FEMA requirements. The central garden space, “the largest room in the house”, is located where 117 non- native, invasive Australian pines once grew. The courtyard concept enables each of the primary rooms to share a common foreground landscape, and at the same time focus on the Gulf as the extended site. To the east, a mature oak hammock gives the property a sense of age and permanence. The design organizes a large program into a sequence of spaces around the courtyard that are detailed and scaled to impart a relaxed setting to the family retreat. The Owner requested a design that would age gracefully and develop an attractive patina. To this end, copper, stone, and wood were selected to establish an organic material palette, expressing a sense of perma- nence. On this property each of the coastal ecosystems: gulf, beach, dune, garden, house, oak hammock, mangrove, and inter-coastal bay are clearly distinguishable. Throughout the long, thin core of the home, large glass doors pocket into wall cavities revealing these environments from Gulf to Bay.

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Architecture: Sweet Sparkman Architects


Black Wood House by Marchi Architects

Marchi Architects have designed an extension to a house in Normandy, France.








Description from the architects:

The client wanted to move the living spaces to a more open and transparent spaces, in order to free some spaces in the old house. A unique volume is set up, arranging kitchen, living and dining room. From the interior, wide views are offered on the garden and on landscape. The extension is connected to the existing house as a structurally light volume, as not to overload the foundations. The project is minimal: the volume is integrated in the surrounding, partially recessed in the topography of the ground as to stands lower than the street level. The dark timber cladding plays with light and shadows so that the extension disappears in the shade of the forest around.

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Architecture by Marchi Architects

Photography by Fernando Guerra / FG+SG


Pablo & Rusty’s by Giant Design

Giant Design have completed a new Pablo & Rusty’s café in Sydney, Australia.


Description from the designers:

Following the success of the Giant designed Lane Cove café, Saxon Wright, was looking to take his existing boutique roaster business to the next level by opening a flagship store within the Sydney CBD


The new site is grand in its location and scale; a high ceilinged corner tenancy, with full height glazing and lots of natural light. Using the established palette of polished concrete, aged brass & zinc, warmed up with reclaimed bricks and honey toned timbers, we recreated the vintage industrial aesthetic and threw in some big-city glam, with brass mesh, a custom-made brass wire milk crate chandelier and a lush wall of living ivy.


The larger site meant we could really strengthen the dedication to espresso. Separate ‘white coffee’ and ‘black coffee’ workspaces allow the morning rush customers to be catered for at the front of the store, independent of those seeking a more personal or serious coffee experience at the cold drip and espresso counter to the rear.


The main entry doors spill onto the point of sale, where a brass-clad counter fronts the open kitchen and runs the length of the room. In the centre, the white coffee station is given weight, courtesy of a zinc-clad bar, with intricate riveting details. Not to be outdone, the black coffee station sits on an oversized table with a brass mesh skirt, lit with warm LED lighting. There, a dedicated barista can talk you through the roast of the day, surrounded by a gallery-like wall of retail display shelves that read more like an exhibition of sexy coffee hardware.


Similarly, we were able to create a more generous dine-in experience than had been possible previously, with the seating area separated from the L-shaped workspace by an oversized timber bench seat, complete with brass-caged pendant lights hung from the steel structure above timber-inlayed zinc tables.


Adding to the feeling of generosity is the sense of height within the dining room, which is accentuated by the timber-clad columns that reach up into the services zone. This is painted-out light grey and extends across the ceiling to the timber-clad bulkhead above the kitchen. White-washed tongue-and-groove panelling adds to the airy feeling, while warm brick walls are softened with macramé pendant plant holders.




Design by Giant Design

Photography by Andrew Worssam


Helsinki University Main Library by Anttinen Oiva Architects

Anttinen Oiva Architects designed the Main Library at Helsinki University in Finland.












Project description:

Helsinki University Main Library, the largest academic library in Finland is located in a historically important city block in the very heart of the city centre. The library was designed to offer a wide range of services flexibly to a large number of customers. This imposing building in the centre of Helsinki provides a gateway to the new information age. The new library building complements the urban block by adding a curved brick facade, integrated within the street line formed by the adjacent buildings. The architectural starting point – the cityscape considered – was a vision of a unique public building that will suit its surroundings in terms of its materials, design and height. The dense fenestration grid, which blurs the standard floor division, together with the large arched openings give the library a distinct external appearance. By varying the size of the arched openings the building is fitted as an integrative solution within a situation of three different types of street space.

The design of the building’s interior is based on an aligned series of openings in the ceilings. Three distinct apertures and the main staircase form a series of spaces serving as a basis for the ambiance of the interior, the functional zones as well as the architecture of the façade. The architectural concept of the façade directly reflects the functional solutions of the interior. The facilities have been divided into functional zones with the aim of facilitating the use of the library and its services. This will, in turn, support and facilitate the learning process. The apertures are encircled by walkways and the information zone, which is, in turn, surrounded by the collections zone. Site Area: 3,170 m2. Gross Floor Area: 3,170 m2

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Architecture: Anttinen Oiva Architects

Photography by Mika Huisman and Tuomas Uusheimo


Christmas Lights Berlin by Brut Deluxe

Brut Deluxe have created a series of light installations in Berlin, Germany.

The installations are on display until January 6th, 2014.







Project description

Three light installations were realised on Kurfürstendamm: the first, a huge light dome with a diameter of 7,5m, at Joachimstaler Platz, the second consisting of five big three-dimensional light cubes at the crossing with Uhlandstrasse, and the third, an artificial lanscape build of 50 light shrubs, at the crossing with Knesebeckstrasse.

What all three installations have in common is that we want to achieve an atmospheric effect with them. Rather than typical decorations that represent Christmas through objects or symbols that are contemplated from the outside, we want to create a space that can be entered and experienced. We imagine this artificial space in the city as a place of retreat, similar to an imaginary clearance in a forest.

The atmosphere surrounding the spectator is produced only with light that alters its density and intensity constantly through the visitor’s movement and changing perspective. The realised landscapes of light are inspired by images and situations recalled from our memory that we associate with Christmas and abstractly convert to light.

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Design: Brut Deluxe
Team: Marina Ortega Aranda, Jesús Maria Linares, Philip Baumann, Elisa Luda
Construction: Boehlke Beleuchtungstechnik GmbH
Photography: Miguel de Guzman

Q1 Lounge Chair by ODESD2

Ukraine-based Zbroy Svyatoslav and Dmitry Bulgakov of design studio ODESD2 have created the Q1 lounge chair.








From the designers:

It is based on Richard Buckminster Fuller’s spherical thin-shell structure, which is used for creating the geodesic domes. As is known, such domes have high load carrying capacity, but can be rapidly created of the light elements.

Q1 chair like geodesic dome: it can withstand heavy loads, while remaining visually easy.The inside of the chair upholstered with felt to keep warm, soft parts are made of chenille with flocking substrate. Hollowfiber® is used for filling, it’s an environmentally friendly synthetic material capable of retaining its shape, unlike classical fillers.

The spherical shape of the chair provides the most comfortable and natural fit for human and appearance makes it versatile for both the public and home interiors.

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Design: ODESD2

Green Edge House by mA-style Architects

mA-style Architects have designed the Green Edge House in Fujieda, Japan.




Description from mA-style Architects:

There was the building site on a gently sloping hill.It is land for sale by the lot made by recent land adjustment here.The land carries the mountains on its back in the north side and has the rich scenery which can overlook city in the south side.However, it was hard to feel the characteristic of the land because it was a residential area lined with houses here.Consideration to the privacy for the neighborhood was necessary in a design here because it was a residential area. Therefore at first I imagined a house with an inner court having a courtyard.However, indoor privacy is not kept in the architecture around the courtyard. In addition, light and the air are hard to circulate, too.Therefore I wanted to make a house with an inner court having a vague partition.


At first I float an outer wall of 2,435mm in height 800mm by Chianti lever from the ground. I make a floating wall by doing it this way.While a floating wall of this simple structure disturbs the eyes from the neighborhood, I take in light and air.A green edge is completed when I place trees and a plant along this floating wall.That’s why I called the house “Green edge”.The green edge that was a borderland kept it intact and located a living room or a bedroom, the place equipped with a water supply for couples in the center of the court.Then a green edge comes to snuggle up when in the indoor space even if wherever.In addition, I planned it so that nature could affect it with a person equally by assuming it a one-story house.


A green edge and the floating wall surrounded the house, but considered it to connect space while showing an internal and external border by using the clear glass for materials. The transparency of the glass weakens consciousness to partition off the inside and outside. Then the green edge becomes the vague domain without the border. The vagueness brings a feeling of opening in the space.In addition, the floating obstacle that made the standard of a body and the life function in a standard succeeds for the operation of the eyes of people. It is like opening, and a green edge and the floating wall produce space with the transparency while being surrounded.The space changes the quality with the four seasons, too. This house where the change of the four seasons was felt with a body became the new house with an inner court which expressed the non-functional richness.


There is the approach in migratory of green edge and the floating wall. The green edge along the floating wall is the gray area that operated space and a function from a human physical standard and the standard of the life function.I arrange the opening to a physical standard.Act in itself to pass through the floating wall becomes the positioning of the approach as psychological recognition.



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Architecture by mA-style Architects

Photography by Nacasa & Partners Inc. Makoto Yasuda