A row of raw concrete gables give a zig-zagging profile to this summer house by Swedish studio Tham & Videgård Arkitekter on an island in the Stockholm archipelago (+ slideshow). (more...)
Architects: Simon Conder Associates
Location: Kent, UK
Design Team: Simon Conder, Pippa Smith
Structural Engineer: Fluid Structures
Environmental Engineer: ZEF
Contractor: Ecolibrium Solutions
Photographs: Courtesy of Simon Conder Associates
From the architect. Dungeness beach is a classic example of ‘Non-Plan’ and the houses that populate the beach have developed through improvisation and bodge. This scheme develops this tradition in a way that responds to the drama and harshness of the landscape.
El Ray is part of a group of five beach houses located immediately to the east of the huge Dungeness A power station. The original house consisted of a 19th century railway carriage with flimsy lean tos to the north and south. It was in extremely poor condition and too small to accommodate our clients and their growing family. We were asked by our clients to increase the accommodation area by approximately 50%, and dramatically improve the environmental performance of the house.
The new house incorporates the old railway carriage inside a highly insulated timber structure. The carriage forms the centre point of the main living area and accommodates the kitchen. A fully glazed southern elevation gives views out over the channel and a series of smaller slot windows on the other elevations give focused views of the adjacent lighthouse, coastguard station and nuclear power station.
The sloping roof deck acts as an observation platform with extraordinary 360 degree views of the beach and the sea. The plan incorporates two courtyards to provide shelter from the constant wind.
Environmental control is achieved through a combination of super insulation, passive solar gain, cross ventilation and a wind turbine.
The high levels of insulation in the walls, roof and floor ensure that heat loss from the building is minimal and very little energy is required for heating, lighting and ventilation. External glazing consists of a combination of double-glazed, low ‘E’, argon- filled frameless fixed lights and thermally-broken, aluminium sliding doors. The structural timber frame is constructed from lightweight engineered timber I-Joists, braced inside and out with a sheathing material manufactured entirely from wood waste. The insulation between the I-joists and studs is made from recycled newspaper. The external cladding and decking is made from an FSC certified hardwood called Itauba and the internal wall linings, floors and all joinery are constructed from FSC certified birch plywood.
A canopy projects out over the south deck to shade the living areas from the high summer sun, but allows the low winter sun to warm the house. When necessary a wood-burning stove, using drift wood from the beach, is used to supplement the passive solar gain in the winter months and in extremely cold conditions electric under floor heating, powered by the wind turbine, will heat the two bedrooms and the bathroom.
It is anticipated that the during the year the wind turbine will generate more electricity than the house will consume, meaning that the house can be run at carbon negative. The client intends to sell any surplus electricity generated by the wind turbine back to the National Grid.
Architects: Studio MK27 – Marcio Kogan + Suzana Glogowski
Location: São Paulo, Brazil
Architect In Charge: Marcio Kogan
Collaborators: Maria Cristina Motta, Mariana Simas
Project Team: Carolina Castroviejo, Eduardo Glycerio, Gabriel Kogan, Lair Reis, Oswaldo Pessano, Renata Furlanetto, Samanta Cafardo
Area: 540 sqm
Photographs: FG+SG – Fernando Guerra
Interior Designer: Diana Radomysler
Technical Drawings: Anna Hellena Villela, Henrique Bustamante
Landscape Designer: Isabel Duprat
Structural Engineering: Gilberto Pinto Rodrigues
Construction Manager: SC Consult – Eng. Sérgio Costa
Contractor: Fairbanks & Pilnick – Jacques Pilnick, Fabio Nascimento, Pryscilla Figueiredo
Site Area: 900 sqm
From the architect. An urban house resting like a monolith over the garden; a single cubic volume housing every function and opening and closing to the outside. Each design has small, very simple rules that give the structure its form. The rule here was to inhabit this pure volume, building openings wherever necessary and considering climate conditions.
The common area is therefore an open space, like a rip in a concrete box, totally integrated with the garden. The cube-box is rebuilt on this floor using metallic panels – made of perforated sheets – that can be opened all the way. When closed, this system gives the room privacy and shade. When open, indoor space becomes an extension of outdoor space.
The other top two floors are held in a concrete box, where the project’s rules, the perforations in the cube, are continued: there are open windows in the bedrooms, television room and office, providing ventilation. Nevertheless, the cube’s materiality remains clearly identifiable.
On openings in the bedrooms, the same metallic paneling works to filter the light. A second layer for closing is made of sliding glass panels. This entire system of metal and glass panels is completely embedded in the walls, giving the homeowners total control of lighting and ventilation. The last floor houses not only part of the home’s infrastructure, but also a small outdoor living area on a garden terrace, with a view to the surrounding area.
Like its simple volumes, Casa Cubo uses few architectural materials. The façades are comprised of rough concrete – shaped using a handcrafted wooden mold – and the metallic panels – whose color is reminiscent of the concrete itself. The inside is structured by a specially designed ceramic tile floor that forms a continuous fabric in the common area.
Casa Cubo at night becomes a lantern. The internal space is seen on the façade: the dense volume of concrete is muted, giving way to volumes of internal light, as if they were extruded from the cube itself. A monolithic volume that, in its empty interior, contains other volumes.
From the architect. The living, dining and kitchen areas of this 2-storey semi-detached house have been designed as one large AV and entertainment space, efficiently soundproofed by double glazed sliding-folding doors. The two side walls that flank this space were intentionally built to taper towards the rear. This creates a slightly funnelled space that not only enhances the acoustic qualities of the room but also enables storage niches along the thicker ends of the walls to house hi-fi equipment.
The client’s massive sculptural horn speakers anchor the front end of the space and an outdoor terrace and lap pool anchor the rear. On the second storey, bedroom windows are recessed into curved walls which protrude subtly from the blank facade, recalling the form of the client’s horn speakers. A large skylight on the roof illuminates the second storey hallway glass floor and transmit light into the first storey living room as well. On the RC flat roof, a layer of turfing efficiently insulates the house against heat.
Terracotta tiles resembling brickwork cover parts of this house extension in Dublin by Irish practice GKMP Architects (+ slideshow). (more...)
From the architect. Concrete envelops the building, like weathered skin tanned by Portugal’s climate. The skin has wrinkles and flaws that trap the light. This denotes its strength of character.
Below the day zone exposed to air and light, lies an underground family room. It acts as a rest-stop before reaching the bedrooms. The sofa invites us to sit for a moment and unravel the secrets of the raw material, the only décor.
The bedroom includes a bath and shower. Everything is incorporated into a single room to save on space. This is what counts.
The central block of the day zone supports the roof, like an umbrella encircled by a crown of luminosity.
In the dead of the night, you may well think a star has landed on earth.
This timber and concrete beach house in Victoria by Australian firm Wolveridge Architects conceals all its windows behind louvred shutters and has courtyards tucked into its sides (+ slideshow). (more...)
Builder & Construction Manager: Bartlett Architectural Construction
Structural & Civil Engineering: Don Moore & Associates
Landscape Consultant: Urban Edge Landscapes
Building Surveyor: Ken Weir & Associates
From the architect. This dwelling with 4 bedrooms located at Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula features a central courtyard connecting the living area with a library lounge. The building is located on a challenging site, sloping towards the north-west. The entrance is on the upper floor which required a considerable reconfiguration of the site’s contours and is centrally located on the plan to reach a guest room and study on the south wing as well as a staircase connecting to the lower level. Walking through the hallway to the living area, the generous courtyard opens up on the right hand side, providing light for the surrounding rooms and a private terrace for the inhabitants. The protected courtyard enables the rear lounge library to remain connected with the view beyond and provide an alternative outdoor location during inclement weather.
The living area is an open space incorporating kitchen, dining and a rumpus area, opening up onto a second terrace overlooking the surrounding landscape and Port Philip Bay. Connected to the living area is the Master Bedroom with an Ensuite Bathroom as well as access to both terraces.
At the lower ground floor level there are two further bedrooms and another rumpus room. Due to the sloping site these rooms have direct access to the garden and are provided with excessive natural light.
The materials used are mostly timber and compressed sheet cladding recalling the image of the beach shack common to the area and providing the necessary features to withstand the rough coastal conditions.
From the architect. Located on a large property in the forest, this house is implanted on the edge of a slope on this mountainous site. In order to create an inconspicuous house in the landscape, the house was conceived all on the same level. The exterior is completely covered with natural white cedar siding which will become grey over time so that the residence will be even more unnoticeable behind the bark of the surrounding trees. The simple and elongated volume of the house is punctuated with perforations forming white alcoves in which were installed the windows.
The interior is all organized around the kitchen, which is the center of the house. The kitchen is characterized by the presence of two large kitchen islands which are functional as well as creating a convivial ambiance. The living space (living room and dining room) are located on each side of the kitchen. These spaces also extends to an outdoor veranda, integrated in the volume of the house. Large openings on both sides of the house helps giving a feeling of being outside while creating frames on the landscape. Inside, the polished concrete slab floor extends outside, both in the veranda and in the small alcoves.
Structure Engineering: Juan Antonio Domínguez (HCA)
Contractor & Rigger: José Miguel Agulló
Promotor: Rufino Delgado Mateos
From the architect. The brief was to build a house on a hilltop outside of the city of Toledo. The hill faces southwest and offers interesting views of the distant horizon, reaching the Gredos Mountains to the northeast.
The site measures 60 x 40 m and has a 10-meter slope.
At the highest point, we established a longitudinal podium, 6 meters wide and 3 meters high, that extends from side to side the entire length of the site. All of the house’s functions are developed inside of this long box, the length of concrete creating a long horizontal platform up high, as if it were a jetty that underlines the landscape with tremendous force.
This long concrete box is perforated and cut into, conveniently creating objects and voids to appropriately accommodate the requested functions (courtyard + covered courtyard, kitchen, living room-dining room-hall, bedroom, courtyard + courtyard, bedroom, garage, swimming pool, bedroom, courtyard).
In this distribution the living-dining room opens to the garden while the bedrooms face onto courtyards open to the sky and garden, affording them the necessary privacy. The stairway connecting the upper floor is situated in the area behind the living-dining room.
On top of the podium and aligned with it, a canopy with ten concrete columns with a square section support a simple flat roof, as if it were a table with ten legs. Under this roof, behind the columns, is a delicate glass box. To protect the views of the house from the back, a simple row of poplars were planted.
Once again, the theme of the Hut on top of the Cave. Once again, the theme of a tectonic Architecture over a stereotomic Architecture.
From the architect. The magical lane houses, which were once the dominant fabric that made urban Shanghai the intoxicating place that it was in the 1930s, are now slowly being demolished, taken over by high-density developments all over the city. Neri&Hu was commissioned to reconstruct a dilapidated lane house left with almost nothing except its glorious shell in the historic and artistic Tianzifang area in Shanghai, and the mission was to transform it into three separate apartment units.
Neri&Hu’s strategy was to rethink the typology of the lane house–keeping the split level formation, a typical trait to lane houses in this city, and add spatial interest through new insertions and skylights to accentuate the architectural integrity of such a typology, contemporizing it for today’s lifestyle.
Historically the lane houses are separated with two distinct spaces–a longer and often rectangular space with a smaller room half a level above that creates a split section connected by a winding stairway in between. These lane houses which were often occupied by single families during the turn of the century, have changed over the course of the city’s economic history. They are now typically occupied by three or more families, sharing the public stair case and landings, so that neighbors living on different levels or rooms have a chance to interact as they move in and out of their personal units.
To keep the spirit of this typology alive, a new continuous metal stair was inserted to replace the old decaying wooden stair that was not to code. It also serves to act both as a vertical connection to the three levels and at the same time a lock for the frontal room and room half a level above to be intact in its configuration. To keep these spaces pure and rigorous, all toilets were inserted into the stair spaces. The bathrooms, conceivably the most intimate spaces of each apartment, are inserted next to the most public stairway separated only with a sandblasted glass divider. Above this stairway, a clearstory skylight was added to bring light to the darkest space and also to the frontal room, the room half a level above, and the staircase space itself. The blurring of both the private and the public acts as the central concept that binds the split level together, and at the same time, bring life to the middle and darkest portion of the lane house.
Architecturally, the decorative elements added over the last 60 years were stripped off, and large openings were created on the frontal section to improve light qualities to the public spaces of each apartment. The color black was selected to make the building “disappear”, in hoping that one would experience the split-section connected by a public stairway that is so vital to Shanghai’s urban life in the 30’s. By capturing the spirit of the historic past and making new abstract insertions to meet modern needs, Neri&Hu infused life into a lane house in a neighborhood whose original fabric is dissolving too fast, too soon.
The roof of this house in Paraguay can be lifted open like the lid of a box (+ movie). (more...)
Architects: GriD Architects
Location: Berkeley Springs, West Virginia, United States
Contractor: No Worries Carpentry
Structural Engineer : MGV Engineers
Lighting Designer : Bruce Dunlop Lighting
Photographs: Paul Burk
From the architect. Perched on a narrow site overlooking the Potomac River, this home was designed to replace a plain, ordinary rancher that was destroyed by fire. Though tragic, the client saw this as an opportunity to re-imagine their humble weekend retreat. As a painter and art historian respectively, they sought a replacement that was modest yet inspiring, consisting of a small painting studio, study, master suite, living room, dining room and kitchen. Paramount to their programmatic needs was a shared aspiration for the house to connect and preserve the beauty of the site; permitting nature to permeate the domestic realm.
This emphasis on amplifying the particulars of the site led to decisions which impacted every aspect of the design including its function, form, and overall sustainability, often resolving these issues simultaneously.
For instance, the plan concept – a modern reinterpretation of the vernacular dog trot house found commonly in Appalachia – aligns the more private program along the ridge creating a linear bar running east-west optimizing the long exposures of the building. The public components are then shifted towards the spectacular view to the river and the Berkeley Springs & Potomac Railroad below. This singular move sponsors a formal overlap which subtly recalls the typical Edinburgh Limestone formations of the region – of which Seneca Rocks is an iconic example. The overlap itself allows for a passive solar solution, providing clerestory windows which draw light from the south into the living room. The material strategy uses standing seam metal roofing and locally sourced hemlock in opposed striations to subtly recall these rock outcroppings while reinforcing the overlap of the volumes.
The arced profile of this charred wooden house by architects Horibe Associates is designed to resonate with the traditional temples and shrines of Yoshinogawa, Japan (+ slideshow). (more...)
From the architect. This designer country house was built on a 17,000 m² plot and absolutely quiet. When building large emphasis was placed on the processing of high-quality materials and the latest technology. The villa was built in H-shape on one level. Large picture windows provide a view of the beautiful interior courtyard with pool.
The 400 m² living space is divided into entrance hall with piano, modern fitted kitchen, 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, master bedroom with dressing room, bathroom en suite, spa with sauna, shower & jacuzzi, an office room, guest WC and utility room. In addition, the villa also offers a bodega with panoramic windows and a view into the kitchen. An elegant fireplace separates the living and dining room.
For high quality facilities include inter alia Parquet flooring with underfloor heating, insulated exterior walls, aluminum double glazed windows and sliding elements, refined luxury bathrooms and a modern kitchen. A home ventilation system (especially suitable for allergy sufferers) and a heat pump provide summer and winter for the right room temperature. The undeveloped portion of the property can also be used for agriculture or of horse lovers. A private well produces about 80,000 liters of water.
Architects: Andreescu & Gaivoronschi
Location: Timișoara, Romania
Architect In Charge: Vlad Gaivoronschi
Design Team: Alexandru Malaescu, Dan Damian, Andreea Simici
Area: 300 sqm
Photographs: Ovidiu Micsa
Structural Engineerng: Micsa Gherasim
Interior Design, Landscaping: Alexandru Malaescu
From the architect. The house is built in a residential area in the north of Timisoara, Romania. Nearby, there is another Andreescu & Gaivoronschi house designed 13 years ago, which developed the same idea of a “house on a house”. It has to do with social phenomena typical for Italy and Greece, where young members of the family live with the parents. This coexistence was sincerely expressed in both cases: the “young house” on the “old” one.
Wood means youth and freshness, whereas stone has to do with the roots, the passing of time. The result is a wooden house on a bigger stone house.
More than that, this juxtaposition has to do with a public/private dialectic. Stone, solid walls “defend” and close a little the private area. In A.B. house, this character of fence house is equilibrated by the subtraction of a typical traditional “grey” space of public/private interaction at the entrance. Behind the house, the theme of intermediary it is represented by the patio and the covered terrace, “the outside eating room”.
Inside the house there is a two direction topology: the horizontal one, of the parents’ area, which embraces also the patio; and the vertical one which juxtaposes the spaces of the “two houses”. This juxtaposition also occurs in the living room area, where a typical “raum-plan” pattern is developed.
The living room is developed as a “theatre” which can be observed from different levels. There is also a private part, on the first floor, similar to the “women’s room” in traditional oriental dwellings – a space from where you can observe but not be observed. It is a space for a future library, a space for smoking.
The apartment contained in the wooden house from above is enough for a young couple. The inside/outside relation is also developed here, without dismantling the unity of the box: an intermediary space to the south behind wooden louvres, a thin balcony to the west, to observe the atrium and the dawn and a vertical incision to the east, to mirror the rising sun.
This house in Kanazawa by Japanese architect Takuro Yamamoto is punctuated by a series of interconnecting voids, including a terrace with a shallow reflecting pool (+ slideshow). (more...)
German firm Archequipe has renovated a townhouse in Cologne's Deutz district with a gabled facade that steps back and forth to respect the boundaries of a neighbouring residence. (more...)
From the architect. The house takes up its position, back facing the other houses, and simply embraces the entire horizon. The architect has limited terrain to work on. The trick however is to release all the emotions of the place: opening or splitting, reflecting infinity.
Space and time are two infinite things that pass us by. Architecture, however, enables us to model space and set time, like a sundial. It can also embody a third infinite thing: beauty.
The white walls are blank pages for nature’s expression. The Sabine is a slow-growing pine, recounting the story of an ancient world.
From the architect. A site bounded by other dwellings necessitated a villa concept designed with privacy in mind.
Angular, modernist geometry interprets the sense of protection given by a castle; monumental from the outside, but opening up into private internal courtyards and light-filled living spaces once within.
The villa combines a series of materials and volumes; polished concrete floors throughout, generously sized bathrooms, and double height ceilings, interspersed with more playful, contemporary inclusions such as textured plywood panelling, exposed concrete finishes and perforated steel structures.
The main living area features an exposed concrete ceiling that stretches to double height to allow light to flood through the space via skylight windows strategically placed for privacy. A recessed plywood panelled wall provides focus, texture and houses a fireplace, and beyond lies a custom open kitchen, an area demarcated under a lower ceiling level to encourage a warmer feel to this more intimate social space.
The master bedroom is located on the ground floor, affording the client a view of the pool area and internal courtyard. A concrete boundary wall retains complete privacy and reflects the texture of concrete used for the bedroom ceiling and its corresponding ensuite bathroom. In here, mirrored cabinets meet floor level apertures running the room’s length to add light but screen it from the pool deck.
On the first floor above the living area, a walkway with a perforated steel railing links two further bedrooms creating a change in textures whilst continuing the strong lines of the central volume – a motif reflected in a staircase of the same material elsewhere in the house. Here too, plywood panels partially cover white walls and each bedroom is a mirror of the other, with minimal, contemporary en suite bathrooms and private courtyards available to each.
The property also includes a large two car garage located below street level with a discrete sloping entryway – a necessity in an area where parking is scarce. Adjoining this are two games rooms, each with the flexibility and space to be used as a gym, future home cinema, a study or extra bedrooms rooms should they be required and each enjoying a private front garden.