This compact private residence’s 136-square-meter area consists of five horizontally divided spaces, each connected by a minuscule sculptural spiraling staircase that, given the footprint of the house, allows for loft-like spaces within its intimate confines. Oversized windows punctuate the house, each with two layers of glazing.
Transparent and relief glass extend to the floor, to ensure that the house remains responsive to passing street life. When closed, they cloak the house within an iridescent texture. On the ground floor, one of these windows serves as the main entry, and slides open to reveal the kitchen. Each level has a different program: the lowermost consists of storage and technical spaces; the lower two bedrooms, permeated by daylight via sliver windows that span the full length of the house, at street level; the kitchen and dining room occupy the ground floor; the living room the first; and the uppermost a master suite, with a wooden ofuro.
These oversized windows, with their dual layers of glazing, can be countlessly reconfigured, to regulate the interior flow of daylight. A small terrace is attached to the master bedroom, yet it is expansive, relative to the house’s size. Its northeastern wall is composed of the same textured glazing that shields the house’s windows, except that there is no layer of transparent glass behind it, as the terrace is completely open to the exterior elements.
A’ House, Tokyo, Japan, by Wiel Arets Architects
The frameless glass makes this a special open space that is completely invaded by the exterior nature. Thus, the gallery becomes a true stage for the client, while the exterior green landscape transforms into a perfect background setting. The glass is sandwiched between by a 22-metre-long floor slab and roof that project out at the front to form a sheltered terrace. The reinforced concrete roof cantilevers from a steel framework, enclosing a corridor at the rear of the building, to ensure the gallery interior is free of any columns that might obstruct the view.
Florist Studio, Mie, Japan, by Shinichi Ogawa & Associates
Externally, the same continuous volume creates a duality between an opaque block – where the living room is – and the transparent stretch of the heated pool and sauna. The volumetry of the house was given by the extrusion of sixty-five meters of an icon-house, with pitched roof. Furthermore, an external wooden deck connects the spaces and creates a solarium to be used during the summer months. In the opaque part of the volume, which is 50m long, the openings were minimized and used as sliding doors to intensify the integration between inside and out. This relation between empty and full in the facade allows for an excellent thermal performance, with a high degree of electric energy conserved. The transparent stretch is fourteen meters long and the internal ventilation was spatially designed to avoid condensation on the glass by the heated pool, which would harm the relation with the view. The house was not implanted on the top of a rough site, as initially desired by the clients, but in its lowest part – in the midst of a beautiful forest of pine trees. This solution allowed the building to be surrounded by nature, creating an intimate relation with the site. The initial premise of the project was to design a quick and cheap construction. Therefore, there were found industrialized solutions such as metal structures and steelframe walls. The site, despite high levels of rainwater, was always clean. Opposite to the usual Brazilian building culture, few elements were built on site, rather mounted at the factory.
The Mororó House, Campos do Jordão – SP, Brazil, by Studio MK27
Photography by Fernando Guerra | FG+SG
Composed of two overlapping volumes, the house derives from the intention to release the largest possible area for living spaces and provide fluidity between the spaces. The upper volume was designed bigger than the lower one, because of that half of the house seems to float on the ground and provides shadow and a relaxing space on the yard. With the intention of ensuring influx of natural lighting and ventilation, the project has large openings on the facades and coverage, and that also contribute to the composition of its main facades. Downstairs, the living room can be completely opened to the garden by sliding glass panels, creating an extension of your home to the outside and making their environments mingle, inviting the plants and flowers to get into the living room. To ensure the privacy of intimate settings on the upper floor the openings are protected by wooden shutters painted in white, beyond the glass on the inner face.
Sorocaba House, Sao Paulo, Brazil, by Estudio BRA Architecture
Photography by Pedro Kok
This project is an addition to and remodel of an existing mid century ranch house. It was designed for a retired couple, who desired a single-story home with open, accessible space. The addition, located in the rear garden area, is connected to the original structure by way of a transparent hallway that allows the garden to extend into the core of the house.
The addition comprises two floating volumes. The first is the bedroom wing/volume, which is located on the west side of the house. The existing bedroom volume was extended toward the rear in the form of a wood tube to accommodate an additional bedroom. This bedroom volume opens out to the garden. The second volume, which comprises the main space, houses the kitchen, dining and media areas. The east wood wall plane of the main space folds onto two concrete walls to form the main roof plane. The main space produces large transparent openings or voids that open out onto a deck at the rear garden. The main roof plane extends forward to form the carport roof near the front of the property. A garden concrete wall stretches out from the media room toward the garden adjacent to a rear ramp and forms part of the cantilevered bench that echoes the concrete wall material in the main space.
The original structure, which houses the music room, two bedrooms and a bathroom, was retained and renovated. A new steel bay window seat was inserted at the front bedroom to replace a small existing window. The fireplace chimney was reconstructed and, along with the carport storage volume, was skinned with recycled epdm rubber.
Renovation and an Addition to the Bal House, Menlo Park, California, by Terry&Terry Architecture
Photography by Bruce Damonte
This project is situated in a glaciated, coastal landscape, with a cool maritime climate. The geomorphology of the site consists of granite bedrock and boulder till, creating pristine white sand beaches, and turquoise waters. The two pavilions float above the shoreline like two ship’s hulls up on cradles for the winter, forming protected outdoor places both between and under them. This is a full-time home for a family of four; consisting of a ‘day pavilion’ and a ‘night pavilion’. One approaches from the understated land side between the abstract, library ends of the two pavilions; then either passes through toward the sea, or left into the living pavilion, or right into the sleeping pavilion. One structure contains a central core, while the other contains a side core. The seaward ends of the two main forms (living and master bedroom) delaminate, creating protected outdoor porches, or night time ‘lanterns’ over the water. The third linking form contains the generous entry foyer, core, and the kitchen. The great room contains a floating 24′ totemic hearth. This is a steel frame house, with a wood skin. Its white, steel endoskeleton resists both gravity loads and wind uplift. The fenestration of the ‘binocular’ ends is minimalist curtain wall with structural silicone. The side elevations contain storefront glazing. The concrete floors contain a geothermally heated hydronic system. This sculptural, yet calm and mature project contains generous white volumes on the interior, and exhibits the ironic monumentality of boats on the exterior.
Two Hulls House, Canada, by Mackay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects
Photography by Greg Richardson
Denise Macedo Arquitetos Associados says the concept of this project came from the desire that this house would have plenty of space for contemplation. First the house was aiming to host and expose a collection of contemporary art, and second, because the local area is blessed with spectacular scenery, it should be brought into the house in all the rooms, and especially the kitchen because food is also a focus of interest of the owner.
Casa das Gerais, Nova Lima, Brazil, by Denise Macedo Arquitetos Associados
Photography by Gustavo Xavier
The White Gallery House, by Pitsou Kedem Architect
Located in the Glen Park neighborhood of San Francisco, this ground-up residence harnesses natural light throughout the day, captures views of a wind-swept park, and a makes a strong visual connection to the split-level road at the front of the property. At the main living level, a continuous wall of rift-sawn oak veneer cabinetry runs the full length of the building tying the living area, kitchen, and dining area into one cohesive space. Floor-to-ceiling glass at the master suite and dining area opens the interior spaces to a dramatic view of downtown San Francisco.
Laidley Street Residence, San Francisco, California, by Michael Hennessey Architecture