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Villa CD by Office O architects

The house is situated in a residential allotment with “bungalow” houses from the early sixties, surrounded by dunes, not far from the Belgian seaside. To bring the house into accordance with the surrounding houses and the environment and to answer to the building regulations, the design of the house was inspired by the bungalow typology. At first glance it looks like a single story house.

Next to the strict building regulations the residents had very specific demands; they wanted to live on the same level as the street, but they did not want passersby to be able to look inside. On the other hand they also wanted the possibility of inviting people, giving them all comfort, without loosing their own privacy.

The concept of the residence starts from a horizontal concrete plateau that cantilevers against a concrete conical wall. Underground, on the other side of the wall, two hidden rooms with patios provide a counterweight to the horizontal plateau. This conceptual approach answers the specific and seemingly contradictory demands. The bungalow is situated on the new concrete plateau hidden behind the concrete wall. It is carried by the platform, and can thus extend beyond that of the neighbors. It has a completely open view over the allotment behind the house and seems to release itself from the latter.

The original site slopes down a full level compared to the rear of the garden.The platform, a table/land, allows the surrounding terrain to remain naturally rough (another building restriction). The main living areas seem to float over the landscape. On the other side, they are embedded in the gardenscape and connected to the street level.

The plateau covers a carport situated on the lower basement level. The ramp with concrete staircase next to the slope leads to the entrance of 2 studios and the carport. For reasons of privacy, the studios with bathroom and kitchen are situated in front of the conical wall. A cutout in the horizontal surface has been made for these rooms that each have a courtyard providing air and light. This way, both studios can have big windows while preserving a sense of privacy and intimacy.

The positioning of the bungalow on the plateau creates large terraces for the residence (in the back as well as in the front) which can be used as an evening streetside terrace. The terrace is shielded by the conical wall, which is provided with a composition of cutouts devised to provide the residence with ample light, optimal view and elegant passage. This wall ensures the privacy of the residents while guaranteeing well-choosen views towards the street and the dunes.

Villa CD, Oostduinkerke, Belgium, by Office O architects
Photography by Tim Van de Velde

Exhibition: Jonathan Muecke & Juliaan Lampens

For its seventh furniture series, MANIERA invited the American designer Jonathan Muecke to a residency in Belgium. The one-week stay was to take place in specific architectural surroundings with the aiming of being an inspiring source for the designer, as Henry Van de Velde’s Wolfers House was for Richard Venlet’s MANIERA 03. From a number of possibilities that MANIERA offered Muecke, the designer almost immediately chose the Van Wassenhove House by the Belgian architect Juliaan Lampens.

Jonathan Muecke & Juliaan Lampens, Maniera Gallery

Mexican Modernism by Francisco Artigas

Francisco Artigas was a man of order. The many modernist houses he designed in the 1950s and ’60s were as strict and exacting as his wardrobe, as tidy as his soap dish. The majority of these were in Mexico City, at the Gardens of El Pedregal subdivision developed after World War II by Mexico’s most acclaimed architect, Luis Barragán. 3 Artigas reportedly designed and built more than fifty houses there, making him the Pedregal’s most prolific architect by far. 4 (By contrast, Barragán produced no more than a half dozen buildings for the Pedregal, and only one of these, the Prieto López House, remains intact.) The houses Artigas built were occupied by top professionals, business leaders, powerful political families, film stars, and other native and foreign elites. They were featured in popular Mexican movies of the era and reproduced in newspapers and magazines around the country and beyond. 5 These cool, crystalline pavilions represent the glamour, optimism, and excess of their time and place much as the Beaux-Arts mansions of Newport, Rhode Island, or the modernist villas of Palm Springs, California, embody theirs. Their architect, however, though admired by well-informed mid-century modern enthusiasts, remains essentially unknown to a larger public. He is well worth a look.

Read more: Regionalism Revisited: The Case of Francisco Artigas

Llewellyn House by studioplusthree

Working in the context of the renewal of a derelict urban heritage property, the approach to this project began with considerations of typology, density and affordability. Key to this was the appropriate adaptation of a Federation-style cottage into a home for two musicians that allowed for future flexibility, and that made the most of its constraints both of site and budget. The result is the transformation of a derelict property into an open, light-filled home for two musicians.

The starting point was a dilapidated, water-damaged house containing a warren of dark and uninhabitable rooms. The rear portion was demolished to provide a series of open living spaces in its place. Located in an area undergoing rapid renewal, the design takes advantage of the detached cottage typology. The narrow side alley, common to this type but often neglected, offered an opportunity to extend the living area to create a lightwell and wall garden, allowing light to penetrate deep within the centre of the house.

The route through the house was conceived as a journey of changing light, colour and materiality. Original Federation interiors have been restored in crisp white, whilst new elements are introduced in a restrained palette of dark timber, steel and porcelain. A contrast of light and dark materiality is used to knit together old and new. This duality continues in various material combinations. In the kitchen, natural materials are contrasted with the manufactured; such as French-polished timber veneers in combination with crisp, large-format porcelain sheets.

In the living room, bespoke joinery exploits the depth of recycled brick walls, creating pockets of storage along the edges of the tightly constrained site. Flush finishes form continuous planes from inside to out, creating one large living space that expands to fill the outdoor side alley. These new living spaces are open to the outdoors, yet tempered from the strong northern sun by the depth of a black steel awning, detailed so that it appears to float over the rear timber deck. In a minimal and modern interpretation of a traditional verandah, its glossy surface reflects the garden into the house. The dialogue between old and new continues by contrasting the roughness of aged, dry pressed recycled bricks, with glossy black steel. It is a project united by contrast – rustic and slick, thin yet massive, dark and bright.

Llewellyn House, Marrickville, NSW, Australia, by studioplusthree

Film: Tadao Ando’s Cerro Pelon Ranch for Tom Ford

A promotional movie has been released to entice potential buyers for a massive ranch in New Mexico that features buildings by Japanese architect Tadao Ando.

Read more: Tom Ford’s New Mexico Ranch

Buy the book: Ando. Complete Works, Updated Version 2010, Jodidio, Philip, Hardcover, 30.8 x 39 cm (12.1 x 15.4 in.), 600 pages, Published by Taschen, ISBN: 9783836509497
Buy it here: Amazon

The Dovecote by AZO. Sequeira Arquitectos Associados

This is an emotional design! Our client asked us to reform an old dovecote in the backyard of his home. We decided to propose a play house for the children and a balneary to serve the pool on the ground floor. The whole family loved the idea. We wanted a play room inspired by magic, fantasy and also by the childhood dreams and memories…

We decided to transform the old dovecote in a minimal concrete «tree house» that represent these memories and fantasies of pure and peaceful way. We look for a way that seemed the main volume is levitating as a tree house but simultaneously it had to be balanced and pure. The idea was that the interior was absent of superfluous elements and were gradually decorated by the works and toys of these children as a reflection of consumer society we are experiencing. Some elements remained of the original building as the triangular window through which entered doves.

The Dovecote, Soutelo, Portugal, by AZO. Sequeira Arquitectos Associados
Photography © Nelson Garrido

Desert House by LOHA

LOHA’s take on the Palm Springs vacation house typology simplifies its forms into their essential elements and plays with those forms through cuts and separations and by introducing unconventional materials.

Starting from a single-floor heavy mass and a contrasting light roof, LOHA further articulated the mass by cutting into the form and creating a series of landscaped courtyards. These courtyards open up the mass to bring in natural light and increase transparency and connections laterally through the home. After cladding the exterior with cement boards and minimal openings, LOHA utilized wooden slats in the courtyard spaces to materially define this formal move.

LOHA lifted the roof to create clerestories that give the appearance of a floating roof line, provide natural light, and unify the various courtyards and shifting volumes.

Desert House, Palm Springs, California, USA, by Lorcan O’Herlihy Architects
Photography by Paul Vu

Rooiels Beach House by Elphick Proome Architects

This vacation beach house located near Cape Town, South Africa, is carefully crafted to respond directly to the brief from the client, a maverick businessman from Johannesburg. Primary requirements were to create an extraordinary living experience, conceptually capture the client’s brief to create a single space vacation house and fully embrace the remarkable seaside location.

Capitalizing on its unique context with panoramic views across the Atlantic Ocean, the house is thus conceived as a minimal steel framed glass box with a hull shaped hardwood clad roof to facilitate distant views to the surrounding mountains. All the external walls are frameless sliding folding glass doors and are filtered by slatted hardwood shutters which open hydraulically to become verandas when open and a continuous secure screen when closed. To ensure minimum environmental intrusion to the sensitive fynbos vegetation and dunes that form the site, the house is elevated to allow the fynbos to be extended under its footprint. All interior walls dividing living and sleeping spaces are sliding ash clad doors which slide away during daytime hours to create a single large living space which flows out on all four edges on to broad cantilevered decks made of Garapa hardwood.

The effect created is thus an umbrella, connecting isotropically to the amazing environment that cradles the house. This building significantly evolves the seaside vacation house typology by dematerializing the notion of cellular space, burring the traditional regime of private and semi-private space and offering variant connection and refuge. The house is counterpointed by a freestanding elevated pool and subterranean entry court and garage clad in unhewn beach stone and Garapa. The elongated pavilion with a floating curvilinear roof displays a minimal architectural language rendered in steel, glass, raw concrete and all powerfully juxtaposed with warm hardwoods deployed in the ceilings, furniture and all joinery to deliver an extraordinary outcome.

Rooiels Beach House, Cape Town, South Africa, by Elphick Proome Architects

House in Alentejo Coast by Aires Mateus

Among the pines trees, a stone plateau is drawn to a scale that can no longer be understood as a courtyard. The space embraces a wide area of trees. The house and its services define a recognizable solid border. The interior of this boundary is inhabitable and characterized by light. The more open side of the house creates a water tank through the connection of geometries. A space that embraces its context is created through this closed extension.

House in Alentejo Coast, by Aires Mateus

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