The rationale was to improve the house by simplification and maximise the outdoor experience on a tight site with neighbours in very close proximity. One solution was to replace all upper level external walls to the courtyard with a fully operable facade, when closed this emulates the weather boards of the original cottage. The main bathroom spills out onto the upper balcony, the doors completely retreating within the wall cavity, creating a private outdoor bathroom experience. The stairs were replaced with a new elongated stair spine along the southern boundary connecting the three levels. Joinery wraps under and over the stair filling the cavities with much needed storage space. The stairs are bounded by a smooth concrete stucco wall which disperses shadows and light from the glazed roof overhead.
The original front two bedroom remain in tact, while the reminder of the house has been reorganised to address the courtyard and increase the perception of space. On the upper level windows have been expanded to appreciate the the outlook across the harbour to the iconc Sydney Harbour Bridge. The walls on the ground floor were removed and replaced with a sliding glazed panel system. A small level shift of three stairs demarcates the kitchen from the main living and dining rooms. The relationship from the living room to the courtyard is slightly sunken. A joinery unit edges this transition, doubling as a bench seat on grade with the courtyard. The dining room joinery reinforces this datum through a change in material creating a horizontal split.
Birchgrove House, Sydney, Australia, by Nobbs Radford Architects
A narrow, dense lot called for design solutions that supported the owners’ open, casual lifestyle at the same time it created a dramatic, luxurious and intensely built space. The single family residential structure rises three levels, straight up, to afford city views; yet spaces flow openly between a formal living room, the inviting family area and the all-out glamour of the dramatic central staircase. Walls assert impose sculptural volume in steel, glass, stone and colored concrete, yet create light and delicacy that veil the structure’s intense efficiency and multi-level volume.
Casa ML, Mexico City, by Gantous Arquitectos
Photography by Michael Calderwood
Historical Tel Aviv Apartment, by Pitsou Kedem Architect
PCA’s new agency replaced an old printing office that was located in a courtyard of a 1950’s building. The goal of the project was the restructuring of a workshop and its annex into an innovative office. Through a partial demolition, the open-space work areas are built around a patio. This design change brings a flood of natural light underground.
Architecture Studio, Paris, France, by Philippe Chiambaretta Architecte (PCA Agency)
Photography by Claire Curt
A 55 m2 steel object emerges in a rugged landscape framed by naked trees and a silent lake that mirrors in the sky frame window facade. Within the transparent shell, nature is omnipresent yet with a physical blindage that provides shelter from the extreme winters in the north. The simple steel grid structurally supports the two level space, where only the bathroom and bed loft is shielded from the main living space. The Shelter is prefabricated and built to fit any type of landscape and natural conditions.
Prefab shelter, by Vipp
The project is located in Krokskogen forests, outside the town of Hønefoss. Its location on a steep slope gives a fantastic view over the Steinsfjorden. The site is very exposed to the wind and the cabin is shaped to create several outdoors spaces that provide shelter from the wind and sun at different times of day. The interior is a continuous space finished in curved 4mm birch plywood. The curved walls and ceilings form continuous surfaces, while the geometry defines the different functional zones. These zones are also created by the floor that follows the terrain and divides the plan into four main levels. The transition between levels create different steps, sitting and lying down places.
Cabin, Norderhov, Norway, by Atelier Oslo
Photography by Lars Petter Pettersen
The Balint House is a two-storey dwelling with a sinous elliptical shape. The volume is placed leaving as much free surface as possible towards the southern edge of the plot for it to be used as a garden, while the lateral limits are blurred with vegetation. The other elements that compose the urbanization resemble the curved nature of the place’s topography. Accordingly, a crescent-shaped swimming pool shadows the structure itself, while the surrounding garden echoes the shape as well.
Balint House, Valencia, Spain, by Fran Silvestre Arquitectos
Photography by Diego Opazo
The arrival at House B+B – the access to the social area – is through an architectural trajectory, via an open ramp, located on the eastern side of the construction. This space is protected by hollowed-out concrete elements to the side, which create surprising effects of light and end up functioning as protection from bad weather conditions. It is an interstitial space between the protected inside of the construction and the open garden. The ramp, long and smooth, extends the transition from interior to exterior creating the constant sensation of environment changing. This solution was vastly used by Brazilian modernism, which consecrated the radical use of ramps as a way of vertical circulation while reaffirming the Corbusian precepts of architectural promenade.
Limited views and access to the garden resulted in the rooms beings dark, and thus the clients main request was to transform this house into a light-filled open plan contemporary home. A framework of steel columns and beams surround the entrance while louvered planes conceal the four garages and floating roofs. It’s as if each plane whether wall, roof or floor has been intentionally treated differently either in material, texture or colour creating a unique entrance design.
By incorporating large glass sliding doors Werner van der Meulen ensured that just about every room has direct access onto the garden while the double volume living spaces and high level windows add a dimension of spaciousness to this predominantly single storey house. The inclusion of a new study located on the first floor allowed for the staircase to become an architectural feature in the home, built as a mezzanine overlooking the garden and family room. Framed by grey tinted glass, the steel staircase fluidly yet privately connects the study to the living room below.
Indoor /outdoor and open plan living is a trademark that Nico van der Meulen Architects for many years, and this is most often achieved with extensive use of glass and steel throughout their designs. As is the case with House Sar, making use of expanses of glass ensures maximized views of the garden all the while allowing natural light and ventilation to flood the rooms. The lanai overlooks both swimming pool and water feature creating a contemporary landscape to compliment this modern home.
House Sar, Johannesburg, South Africa, by Nico van der Meulen Architects