In completely switching the expected logistics and experience of a house, local studio anonymous architects have recently completed the car park house in the mountains just outside of Los Angeles. Complying with local code which calls for two private parking spaces, and having a steep site overlooking the san Gabriel mountains, the order by which the owner circulates through the house is reversed – the garage is an open-air deck level with the street giving entrance to the living spaces below. The structure rests on large concrete piles driven into the mountain side; a steel frame provides the necessary support for the various cantilevers that extend out over the valley, made liveable by wooden floors and walls. A row of apertures in the roof bring in natural light to the spaces more proximal to the hillside that would otherwise not receive as much illumination. The stairs are located along the northern wall giving access to the interior that leads directly to the open kitchen area. an outdoor terrace past a curtain wall provides unbeatable views over the city while the private bedrooms are reserved to the hillside.
Car Park House, Echo Park, Los Angeles, California, by Anonymous Architects
Photography by Steve King
This 1960’s Hugh Kaptur ranch house was in quite a state of disrepair when it was purchased as a foreclosure. It had been “remuddled” several times, featuring electrical wiring run on the outside of walls, awkward closets added in every room, and poor design choices highlighted throughout. It was stripped of all finishes and some minor layout work was implemented. It was restored to its mid-century glory with modern, but period-appropriate, finishes and materials. Furnishings are a mix of vintage and new, mostly sourced from eBay and local Palm Springs vintage boutiques. It’s intended use as a vacation home provided some extra latitude for whimsy and use of color. The original architect came to view the home at the end of the project and was highly complimentary.
In a constant game of fusion between inside and outside, the project responds to the challenge of keeping privacy between four close neighbours without losing the spectacular views of the surrounding landscape.
The idea was to create a single plan for all the houses that should work as a unity taking advantage of the diagonal of the plot. By doing so the wall of the neighboring house could become an interesting space for the adjacent house, in a delicate game of constructed and empty spaces. The house is relatively narrow but very rich in paths and views. The section demonstrates quite clearly this division of spaces. A central patio becomes an interior garden while bringing abundant light to the core of the house.
The spaces are developed with diagonal views to other spaces. The materials and textures delimitate intimate and public spaces, by the use of wood and stone. The façade is made of bricks. It’s a beach house that has a strong Brazilian character through a contemporary vocabulary, taking advantage of our particular climate and unique landscape.
Beach House, São Sebastião, Brazil, by Studio Arthur Casas
The residence overlooks a mountain lake with expansive mountain views beyond. The design ties the home to its surroundings and enhances the ability to experience both home and nature together.
The entry level serves as the primary living space and is situated into three groupings; the Great Room, the Guest Suite and the Master Suite. A glass connector links the Master Suite, providing privacy and the opportunity for terrace and garden areas.
Piedmont Residence, Blue Ridge Mountains, North Carolina, by Carlton Architecture+Design
The aim was to create a multifunctional space that provided an experiential opportunity for the visitor so they could appreciate, to the full extent, the inherent beauty of the landscape. Simplicity is essential to the success of the project. The approach was to maintain simplicity through each stage of the design process in order to create an elegant, unobtrusive incision into the landscape setting that allows for both prospect and refuge.
The use of the pavilion is multifunctional. The design needed to be flexible and adaptable to accommodate for various uses during the changing seasons through out the year. Site selection was critical from an existential and sustainability perspective. The location was selected for it’s remoteness, opportunity for prospect, and orientation to the sun and prevailing winds.
The materiality was selected for the inherent tellurian characteristics to harmonise the building to the natural setting. The geometry itself is simple. The building is essentially two bisecting rectangular prisms, one created from composite steel, concrete and glass, and the other a sandstone cladded core. The structural solution was derived from a rationalised ‘grid’ system.
Wirra Willa Pavilion, Somersby, Australia, by Matthew Woodward Architecture
Photography by Murray Fredericks
The highlight of this adaptive re-use project is the introduction of a new façade that enables the circa 1950′s building to morph from an enclosed structure into an environment that invites the community into the space. The transformation was achieved by essentially replacing the entire front façade with a double-height, double hung floor-to-ceiling window wall that can be raised or lowered depending upon the needs of the user. The wall is operated by engaging a pedal-to unlock the safety mechanism- then turning a hand wheel which activates a series of gears and pulleys that opens the sixteen-foot by ten-foot, two thousand pound window wall. In addition to the front façade, other changes to the building included raising the roof by half of one story to create a better proportioned interior volume, and installing skylights to bring in more natural light.
242 State Street Building, Los Altos, California, by Olson Kundig Architects
Top to bottom: endless sky, commanding trees, house and wild vines. The home humbly nestles into this order… The entire length of the house opens up to the expanse of vineyard before your eyes. Yet a lintel overhanging the plate glass window marks the border between homely serenity and the melee of vines… Breakwater: at the foot of the dining room, large rocks turn back the momentous tide of nature… Space is not distance, it’s infinity… The desks in the children’s rooms overlook the vineyard, their heritage.
Rian House in France, by Atelier d’Architecture Bruno Erpicum & Partners
Photography by Jean-Luc LALOUX
For this residence, light, transparency and continued spacial flow was vital. Privacy was also a concern since the residence is located in a tight urban location. The solution was to create open, fluid interior spaces, both horizontally and vertically and then to wrap it all in white masonry. This white veil is scored with window bands that allow abundant natural light, yet because of strategic locating, provide privacy and eliminate the need for window treatments. The light filled white interior is strengthened by the use of reflective white surfaces and the use of glass railings. The main central stairs is clad in glass, both clear and opaque to again maintain privacy but allow natural light.
Bucktown Three Residence, Chicago, IL, United States, by Studio Dwell Architects
Photography by Marty Peters
This one-bedroom house is located on an agricultural property in Sonoma owned by two scientists. We were asked for a structure that would take advantage of hillside views and integrate more sustainable utilities over the 25-acre site. Energy is now supplied by a new solar array, sized to power the entire property and all buildings and equipment.
At a mere 850-square foot, the house is situated at the top of an olive orchard where breezes and shade are maximized. We also made sure to exploit the open area so that no hardwood trees were removed. The goal was to emphasize outdoor living areas that would be intimate for two people but accommodate larger groups for entertaining.
Anchored into the steep hillside with a series of concrete retaining walls and cascading exterior decks, the structure has a much grander presence than one would assume from its size. A site strategy of cascading spaces embracing the slope and relating the inside and outside at every level is an ambitious concept, yet one least intrusive to the natural topography. The circulation always directs one to the open views, while the fenestration protects from the hot southern sun in favor of soft northern light. The fun of living there is in the plentitude of special openings, details, and secret nooks that allow many options for places to be at different times of day.
House in an Olive Grove, Sonoma, California, by Cooper Joseph Studio
Photography by Elliott Kaufman Photography & Cooper Joseph Studio