Setting amidst the nature reserve that bounds the Upper Seletar reservoir, the bungalow at Mandai area is bestowed with the serenity and repose rarely found in the island of buzzling Singapore. In the island where every inch of land is dear, the owner’s brief for a single-storey bungalow house is unusual, and reflects a nonchalant attitude towards the mainstream practice of maximising the allowable buildable area granted by the authority. The house is designed in an orthogonal ‘doughnut’ shape, with the interior spaces surrounding a central open courtyard. The ‘doughnut’ configuration allows the owner to enjoy a secured outdoor space inside the building during the evenings after work, while the roof laid with timber deck above the living/dining space is an ‘outdoor living/dining space’ during parties and gathering. The living/dining space make up the front of the house that opens up to the road along the front boundary. A wall-to-wall timber deck strip aligns each side of the living/dining space where one could sit to enjoy the front garden and the courtyard, not unlike the ‘engawa’ concept of the traditional Japanese house, which is a transitory space between the ‘inside’ and the ‘outside’. Full-height glass sliding panels open the interior and the central courtyard to the public unapprehensively to blend the exterior into the interior. Natural light abounds the interior and constant breeze of fresh air is a given for the abode. An overhanging canopy floats in front of the entrance door to create a weightless statement in contrast to the grounded house form. The white colour with black colour such as ‘gargoyles’ and window frames as accentuation is a tribute towards the black and white colonial bungalows which are significant in Singapore.
Through the water fall as a entrance gate, the road leads you to the main house extending east and west on the left, and on the opposite side, a glass house in the forest as a guest house. The main house is simply composed of a white cube and 2 horizontal plates of 11m wide by 150m long.
All rooms for owner family are put linearly between the plates, opening to both north corridor and south deck terrace. A glazed room for spa & fitness at the east end, 6 bedrooms with exclusive bathroom and living room, a family living/dining room, and storages or maid rooms at the west end. This extremely long planning takes advantage of the beautiful landscape, gaining a panoramic view and a dynamic scale space as the very long deck terrace. At the same time, it regards a airy comfortable living environment.
Above the private rooms, there is a roof top terrace covered with sand and the swimming pool of 40m long. It’s like a floating sky beach surrounded by mountains. The white cube as formal living/dining room has 6M high ceiling. The stairs from the hall below divides the large room into southern living space and northern dining space.
150m weekend house — the longest house in this century — was born by admiring the mountain scenery as a given condition and imagining a seascape as the contrastive view.
150 m House, Khao yai, Thailand, by Designer, for Shinichi Ogawa & Associates, Photography © Pirak Anurakawachon
We raise high stone walls built of the same stone as the Zamora Cathedral, that follow the outline of the site, like a box open to the sky. We thus achieve a secret garden in which we conserve and plant leafy trees, aromatic plants and flowers. And we open openings in these stone walls that frame, from within, the cathedral, the landscape and the surrounding buildings. And in this verdant garden we build a transparent glass box that makes it seem as if one is working within the garden.
For the stone wall, qualities and dimensions were studied to express the strength of the stone in the same way as it is in the Cathedral. The same stone in large dimensions and with great thickness that accentuate the strength of the proposal. For the building itself, a glazed and perfectly controlled facade was conceived, with maximum simplicity in its construction system. The facade works actively in regard to the climate, able to hold in heat in the winter (Greenhouse effect) and at the same time to expel the heat and protect the building in the summer (Ventilated facade). It is a stone box open to the sky that holds a crystalline box and protects it and tempers it, immersed in the midst of a wonderful garden.
Offices for Junta de Castilla y León, Zamora, Spain, by Alberto Campo Baeza, In collaboration with Pablo Feméndez Lorenzo, Pablo Fledondo Diez, Alfonso Gonzalez Gaisan and Francisco Blanco Velasco
The story of Can Manuel d’en Corda is a very happy one. In a stunning plot in Vénda des Cap de Barbariain in the West of the picturesque island of Formentera, Spain, sits a traditional and pretty special house called Can Manuel de’n Corda. The house, which encapsulates the domestic vernacular architecture developed in Formentara between the late eighteenth and mid nineteenth centuries, was crying out for some tender love and care. Sitting pretty, surrounded by a forest of pines and junipers, it sat tight, waiting to be noticed and transformed. And one day, that’s just what happened.
Architects Marià Castelló and Daniel Redolat realized the potential of Can Manuel de’n Corda and set out to preserve the house, whilst adding volume to create a home that embraces its location without necessarily impacting its habitat. Whilst the house’s common areas have been maintained, the limited palette of materials used in the design, acts in turn to showcase the house’s traditional features. And so alcoves, stone walls, sloping ceilings and striking beams really stand out in the fresh minimal scheme. Like the original beams, the external joinery is made from solid iroko wood, and additions such as a striking steel fire place in the living room really complement this home’s existing character. The featured furniture includes Mediterranean design classics such as the Torres Clavé armchairs and Miquel Mila Cesta luminaire, as well as the traditional esparto skating chairs made by local artisans, thus enhancing the sense of this house’s rustic native roots.
Can Manuel d’en Corda, Vénda des Cap de Barbaría. Formentera, Spain, by Marià Castelló + Daniel Redolat, Photography © Estudi Es Pujol de s’Era, via: Yatzer
Consisting of an office & a residential space the division of the two lifestyles has been executed with symmetry and complete severity. The small architecture studio is present in the north side and repeated on the south side in the form of a space of identical dimensions in the small but smart dwelling. One of the greatest features of indication for these two divisions is the subtle niche present exteriorly on the two sides of the structure subtly indicating the division between work and play. This is a great detail representing continuity beyond the walls of the structure and onto the landscape. Wanting however to achieve the perfect harmony between earth & man the small setback around the edge in section creates the sensation that the building is floating over the site.
Moving inside the interior follows the exact same language of harmony. Dividing the two type structures from within is a nucleus of services consisting of bookshelves, bathroom, kitchen, fold out beds, cupboards and two sliding walls which divide these main areas in order to create more intimate spaces such as an annexed office or guest room. The interiors are both bright and pure where one’s focus is drawn to the outside views. The main internal presence is of course the Iroko wood element, which in combination with the naturally white interiors, is portrayed as the dominant feature. With its horizontal and vertical presence, it dominates the areas and successfully brings together all the relations.
More about this project: Home-Office in Formentera
The writer’s studio is a place for one person to work, read and listen to music. Open vistas to a pond and fields are to one side, the other side is immersed in deep woods. The overall impression of the structure is deceivingly simple. Each façade is composed with distinct apertures specifically arranged to the light, the views and tailored, like a bespoke suit to his size and eye level. The inside is, uncluttered and elegant, unified by the use of walnut.
Writer’s Studio, by Cooper Joseph Studio
A simple bungalow dating from 1967 on a hexagonal ground plan had been radically altered and modificated through the years. Although this had made the house bigger, it had also become increasingly inward-looking. The expanding wings were steadily enclosing the heart of the house with the hall and living quarters, and direct contact between the house and the magnificent surroundings was largely lost. The original detailing and material form were consistently adhered to during all previous interventions but the result was now thoroughly outmoded and of a poor technical quality. The house has now been given its fourth look. The principle guiding this most recent intervention being to create a house that is much more sustainable and able to reinstate the lost relationship between it and the landscape. There has been kept as close as possible to preserving the existing house, which gave the first step towards a sustainable end-result. Taking the existing structure as the basis, the outer walls and roofs were modernized by adding insulation and replacing all windows and larger areas of glazing. The walls in the central section of the house were removed to create a new living hall looking out onto the surroundings on four sides. In addition, the physical bond between house and landscape has been consolidated by an all-glass pavilion attached to the living hall that reaches out to the brook flowing past the house.
Villa 4.0, by Dick van Gameren Architects, Photography by Primabeeld
Sited on the edge of a 70-metre high cliff, the plan of Holman House refers to Picasso’s painting The Bather. It contains a complex series of fluid living spaces set within a meandering perimeter that arcs, folds and stretches in response to sun, landscape and views. Living and dining areas cantilever out over the ocean, allowing dramatic views up and down the coast. The lower floor forms a base that is built from rough stone walls like an extension of the cliff below. These walls continue along the cliff edge to form a series of eccentric terraced gardens and a vase-shaped rock pool.
Holman House, Sydney, Australia, by Durbach Block Jaggers
The house’s original owner and designer was John Black Lee, an architect affiliated with the so-called Harvard Five — a group of architects that included Philip Johnson and Marcel Breuer who began settling in New Canaan starting around 1940, transforming the town into a hotbed of Modernism. Lee’s axially symmetrical, one-story structure, completed in 1956 and published in RECORD as part of a collection of rectangular houses, featured a large open space, about 30 feet square, which contained a central fireplace, a living room, and a compact island kitchen. This main room had a perimeter clerestory and two all-glass exterior walls, on the north and south, providing views of the wooded 2-acre property. Bedrooms, two each on the east and west, flanked the main space, with a veranda and a generous overhanging roof surrounding the house on all four sides.
The current owners, a finance executive and a lighting designer, bought the property from Lee in 1990. Soon afterwards they commissioned New York City-based Toshiko Mori to renovate the house. Mori, who has since renovated or added onto several buildings by some of Modernism’s giants, made subtle but significant alterations that included raising the central roof by about 18 inches, thereby enlarging the clerestory, and replacing deteriorated wood columns with stainless steel. The changes helped make the already elegant structure seem even more delicate and graceful. Even Lee, who now lives in another house he designed a few miles away, approves. “It was one of the most sensitive remodelings in New Canaan,” he says.
Glass/Wood House, New Canaan, Connecticut, by Kengo Kuma & Associates,
via: Architectural Record