When the Gantert Residence in the Hollywood Hills hit the market last fall, it was frequently described as the last built house designed by Pierre Koenig, who’s most famous for his Case Study Houses Nos. 21 and 22 (aka the Stahl House). The Gantert has just been bumped–sort of. For years, Serial mid-century modern collector/preservationist Michael LaFetra has talked about his plans to build a Koenig design on a beachfront lot in Malibu that was once occupied by a Pia Zadora-owned spec house. In fact, he bought that land in 1999, before even his first major modern acquisition, CSH No. 21. Shortly after buying 21, he got a call from Koenig, according to a 2005 LA Times article, and they became friends. In 2000 Koenig offered to build LaFetra a beach house. The house has just been finished, but Koenig died in 2004.
According to the old LAT story, “The plan Koenig ultimately came up with called for a house built from a massive steel-and-glass grid, with living space on the first two floors and three bedrooms on the top level. The entire wall facing the ocean would be made of transparent glass. Although LaFetra asked for polished concrete and cork floors in place of the vinyl tile Koenig favored, in most other ways the house would adhere to Koenig’s spare style. It would have an open floor plan and would be finished with Sheetrock and painted steel.”
Centro Niemeyer is a new cultural complex in Avilés, and is part of an ambitious scheme to redevelop the riverfront. Brazilian architect, Oscar Niemeyer, designed the complex as a gift to the principality.
The extensive remodel of the house began by tearing away the substandard remodeling that had taken place over the past 100 years and replacing it with spaces more appropriate to the client’s program. These included a more open plan for work and living, a sod roof, and a glass penthouse with the roof supported by a steel exoskeleton. The steel exoskeleton is part of a seismic upgrade that doesn’t tear the existing building apart. It also supports decks on 2 floors and a pack a bi-facial solar panels.
Xiao-Yen’s House by, Craig Steely Architecture
Designed for a local artist to enjoy, this residence is located just south of Collingwood, in the heart of the Clearview area. A broad selection of sustainable technologies, including a geothermal lake loop and green house set this project apart from others in the area. The building itself draws inspiration from a number of intimate relationships and views, both through the adjacent woodland, as well as across the nearby pond.
The buildings programme is pretty extensive and with the clients desire to maintain the majority of this over one level the design team were particularly aware of the need to integrate the building into its surroundings in a subtle manor. Consequently this quickly became one of our main focuses and thus gave the scheme real direction, as we sought to arrange each space appropriately within the overall layout so to take advantage of the site and its beauty as well as to make sure that the building was as user friendly and functional as possible.
Clearview Residence, Clearview, Ontario, Canada, by Altius Architecture
Heritage status defined the transformation of the modern architect’s only service station into an intergenerational community centre. It was necessary to cover and then restore the building, while allowing for integrating new mechanical equipment and power without affecting the heritage the building. The architectural interventions try to radicalize the inherent qualities of building by accentuating the formal simplicity, the continuity of the roof and transparency of the pavilions.
Ludwig Mies van der Rohe Gas Station, Nun’s Island, Montreal, Quebec, Conversion by Les Architectes FABG
This house aims to overlook the various views which can be seen from the highest point of the land. Starting from a set of separate volumes and following the adaptation of the traditional architecture to the terrain, the resulting area between the four volumes was designed as a living space, the walls of which are a continuation of the exterior façades and where only glass separates the exterior from the interior space of the home. Depending on the prevailing wind or the desired view, the house can open out on various landscapes and its connection and permeability with the exterior is total. The solid volume in darkened wood is transformed into four volumes when the large glass panes are opened, allowing the extension of the various platforms of the house. A system of pre-fabrication was used for this building which was conceived in order to achieve an A+ rating in terms of energy efficiency.
House C:Z, São Roque do Pico, Ilha do Pico, Açores, Portugal, by Inês Vieira da Silva, Miguel Vieira, SAMI-arquitectos, Photography © FG + SG architectural photography, Fernando Guerra, via: ArchDaily
The new home of the Poetry Foundation, located in the River North neighborhood of Chicago, is comprised of a building in dialogue with a garden. The garden space is created through erosion of an implied volume as described by the L-shaped property boundary of the site, resulting in a relationship whereby the building the enclosed building spaces interlock with the exterior spaces of the garden. In this manner, the garden is implied as another “room” of the building, and part of the building’s slowly-unfolding spatial sequence, which is revealed space by space as a poem is revealed, line by line.
Visitors reach the building by walking through the garden, which is a conceived of as an urban sanctuary, a space that mediates between the street and the building, blurring the hard distinctions between public and private. Upon entering the garden, visitors perceive the double height library space that borders the garden, announcing that they are entering into a literary environment. Inside the building, an exhibition gallery connects the library to the poetry reading room where poets read their work to an audience against the backdrop of the garden.
Public functions-the poetry reading room, a gallery, and library-are located on the building’s ground floor, while offices space are located on the second level, organized into three areas corresponding to operations (foundation administration, Poetry magazine/website staff, and programs staff). The building’s internal arrangement is configured to allow for views from all spaces back out onto the garden.
Tectonically, the building is conceived of as a series of layers that visitors move through and between. The layers, of zinc, glass, and wood, peel apart to define the various programmatic zones of the building. The building’s outer layer, a cladding of oxidized zinc, becomes perforated where it borders the garden, allowing visual access to the garden from the street to encourage public investigation. Inside the garden it serves to internalize the garden experience and provide a sense of removal to prepare visitors mentally for the experience inside.
Poetry Foundation, Chicago, USA, by John Ronan Architects
The property is placed on the outskirts of Puerto Banús, in one of the most famous and exclusive developments in the Sun Coast. This development is located on one side of a mountain but very close to the coast, with plenty of Mediterranean vegetation. The plot where the project is located has a notorious slope that goes down to the South from the street access. This fact would determinate the design to adapt the house to the environment and achieve excellent views of the Mediterranean Sea. The possibilities of the plot and the wishes of the property appear in the execution of this huge project. The floor is rectangular and places the most used spaces to the south façade in order to enjoy the views. Here is where the plot is open to the outside. The north façade, where is located the access to the house, is more sober but forceful from an architectonic point of view, with walls and plans crossed and cut. There is a path with geometric forms covered with a layer of water that goes to the main door. The windows are secondary on the aesthetics of the house, but really important to give light to the corridors, distributors or common spaces. All the rooms, both public and private, are located in the rear part of the house, with the porch, the pool, the garden and a tennis court. In this part of the house, orientated to the south, the black glass windows are bigger to connect the outside with the inside, like the big one in the living room that hides in the floor automatically. The greatest part, in architectonic terms, is the big volume over the porch where stays the main bedroom on the first floor. The property is “dressed” with Roman transventilated travertine stone. Inside, the house has wide spaces, all of them modeled by natural light.
The property is developed in three levels:
The low floor is the most public space and includes the living-room, kitchen, dining room, laundry, and a little service room.
The first floor is the most private area and here we can find the bedrooms and a little office. The ground floor is dedicated to a relax area, with a spa, an internal pool, gym and garage. The large central courtyards that articulate the property core give light to this level of the house.
Family House, Marbella, Spain, by A-cero, Joaquin Torres Arquitectos, Photography by Jacobo España, Negami
A weekend desert residence for a family and their dog, the Four Eyes House is an exercise in site-specific experiential programming. Rather than planning the house according to a domestic functional program, the building was designed foremost as an instrument for intensifying a number of onsite phenomenal events.
Four “sleeping towers” are oriented towards four spatiotemporal viewing experiences: morning sunrise to the east, mountain range to the south, evening city lights to the west, and nighttime stars overhead. Each tower contains a compact top-floor bedroom, sized only for the bed, and each with a unique aperture directed towards the view. These bedrooms are equally-sized and unassigned, such that the family’s sleeping locations can be rotated based on each individual’s desired viewing experience. Vertical circulation within the towers is similarly particularized (e.g. ladders, spiral stair, switchback stair, or shallow-riser stair). Ground-floor common spaces form a loose connective field between the discrete tower volumes, and offer a more permeable relationship to the landscape.
The sensations of sleeping and waking are thus inflected by the building’s foregrounding of intensified onsite experiential events. By sleeping in a room elevated off the ground and open to the stars, one might inhabit a deep pocket of silence for a few moments, and perhaps even perceive the movement of the Earth, as it slowly rotates beneath the stars.
Four Eyes House, Coachella Valley, California, by Edward Ogosta Architecture
This contemporary residence is designed to seamlessly open unto the panoramic coastal ridge-top site via expansive operable glazed walls. The glazed transparency is balanced and the home is anchored in place by substantial cut native sandstone walls. The architectural design evolved from our client’s desire for a home that is a tranquil place for living, art and retreat.
The project site is located on a ridge in the foothills of Carpinteria, ten miles down the coast from Santa Barbara. The program asked for a master suite, one guest room, a study for two, a more contained den and an informal open living space they could share with their children and grand children. The site strategy was to separate the guesthouse, pool and pool house from the main house, by locating them amongst the oaks on a lower terrace. The smaller structures were easier to place around the mature oak trees without disturbing their root systems. Each structure has its own orientation and privacy.
How to develop a strategy with dramatic 360-degree views was a challenge for laying out the main house. Placing the main living space and study further away from the edge was determined to be quieter from the distant freeway noise. A courtyard created an inward oriented counterpoint to the distant vistas. A flat roof modernist scheme complemented the couples taste for modern art and furniture. Designers in their own right, they were the driving force in the overall design team. The design was limited to a simple palette of materials and forms. A European window and sliding door system was used to minimize the frames and optimize the glass. These glass walls were framed between large stonewalls constructed of the local Santa Barbara Sandstone, and volumes contained in plaster walls with an integral color (pantry, guest room, master bath and closet, storage area). The flat roofs were supported by steel columns separated from the curtain walls.
The landscape design became a hobby of the owner who studied local native plantings that were both fire resistant and drought tolerant. Some large oak trees were brought in to augment the existing oak grove, further nestle the house into the site, and create a foreground to help frame the spectacular views.