Located on the Alentejo Coast, the Monte Novo da Cruz is a rural property strongly characterized by a gently undulating land with slopes sometimes relevant. The presence of a curtain of high trees along the south-eastern perimeter of the site and a dense vegetation near a south-western stream stand out in the landscape. In the centre of the property, in a high position, there is an old rural construction in an advanced state of degradation.
The proposal for the Monte Novo da Cruz seeks to establish a contrast dialogue between the existing and the new building which sometimes merge with each other, creating a smooth transition between the past and the present. This relationship is materialized through two types of intervention, placed at different levels on the ground: In the upper level, the intervention consists on recovering and expanding the existing building for owners’ house. The planimetric composition is made up by a succession of spaces, which ends with a double height common lounge with a central fireplace. On the north-west side are located the main entrance and supporting spaces intercalated with small garden courtyards for natural lighting and ventilation. On the south-east side, to the contrary, are located the main spaces overlooking the garden and pool.
In the lower level, the intervention results in a new independent building that adapts to the topography of the site and uses the slope of the ground to differentiate the owners’ house of the guest areas. This long volume, half-buried and perpendicular to the line of trees, preserves the scale of the house and reinforces the verticality of vegetation. Its unique façade is characterized both by a wide opening framing vistas of the landscape as well as by a stand-alone pergola reducing the amount of direct sunlight coming inside the rooms and providing privacy for guests. At the level of arrival the building is almost imperceptible to the eye, only a long terrace with seating areas for contemplation of the surrounding nature is visible.
Pe No Monte Rural Tourism, Odemira, Portugal, by [i]da Arquitectos
Photography by Joao Morgado
Based on the genetic of the place, the intervention holds, as the main goal, the creation of a contemporary space without disturbing the peace of the countryside area. A pure volume, with rectangular base, is adjusted to the ground and opens into the green landscape. The volumetric purity, desired by the customer, sets the mood for the project and the new inhabitant of the place is, now, one of the terraced fields of the perfectly balanced ground. Thus, the act of inhabiting unfolds through the volume of concrete, pure, raw, adjusted to the ground, just waiting to grow old as the days go by reflecting the life of the countryside.
Sambade House, Penafiel, Portugal, by Spaceworkers
Photography by Fernando Guerra, FG+SG
Two thin parallel concrete planes stretch over a gently curving topography acting as floor and roof, floating slightly above the terrain. The large rectangular footprint provides a 360-degree experience within and around the home, with a large concrete mass perpendicularly projecting out into the site containing the pool. Within the framing elements indoor and outdoor space are separated only by a transparent operable glass membrane that slides to connect the two states.
Structural materials are present throughout the interior and exterior lending to its conceptual purity. At the other end of the house, opaque volumes clad in closely-bound slender wooden slats offers privacy for the bedrooms and bathrooms and much needed shade during the day. Existing as individual forms within the horizontal concrete extents, hallways penetrate through the program so each room has a unique connection to the outdoors be it through immediate access to the site or through exposed patios formed from varying setbacks on the foundation slab. The floor of circulation through the spaces essentially dictates the location and size of each internal element so the home becomes more about ones movement through the site and through the structure.
Redux House, Brazil, by Studio MK27
Photography by Fernando Guerra
Inspired by early Modernist and Bauhaus era architecture, this one room deep house is organized along an L-shaped window wall which offers each space a connection to a central courtyard and a balance of natural light from multiple sides. The street facing courtyard and transparent first floor are made private as the house is perched on a plinth above passersby. With little protection from shading trees, exaggerated overhangs help protect the transparent façade and provide continuous outdoor living space between interior and courtyard. Simple, well-crafted details are carefully edited so as not to compete with the texture and reflections of the true divided lite steel windows.
Courtyard House, Austin, Texas, by Tim Cuppett Architects
Photography by Whit Preston and Atelier Wong Photography
A glass box makes up one of the lower volumes and the transparent structure contains the kitchen, living, and dining rooms. Floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors fully open letting the space continue outdoors. The picturesque swimming pool wraps around the glass volume making the water super enticing. The upper volume houses the master bedroom wing that’s designed as an open floor plan. It hovers over the pool and gives the owners views of the ocean. When the sliding glass doors are open, it’s almost like you’re living outdoors. The glass volume is attached to a structure that contains the garage and a guest wing above. Landscaping plays a key role in the design of the house making it feel like the home is meant to be there.
Interior design by Rees Roberts + Partners LLC (Lucien Rees Roberts, Partner, Kate Rizzo).
Landscape design by Rees Roberts + Partners LLC (David Kelly, Partner).
Surfside Residence, East Hampton, New York, by Steven Harris Architects
Photography by Scott Frances/OTTO
The municipality of Wemmel, situated on the outskirts of Brussels, is well known for its green areas with their monumental villas of the upper class. After a search of several years, the principal saw a house situated in one of those quarters. It was not his dream house but because of its marvellous location and the south orientated garden, he decided to buy it.
DmvA was commissioned to turn the rather classical house into a contemporary edifice. No sooner said than done, but the fact that also the neighbours had to approve the design to get a building license, as prescribed in the building regulations, had a great impact on the design. So no total ‘methamorphosis’ of the existing house, just small interventions. The façades of the existing house were painted white. The interior was furnished in black and white. The swimming pool was renovated and framed by an illuminating glazed ‘retaining wall. Finally, two sculptural white volumes were added connecting inside and outside, linking house, pool and garden.
House LS, Brussels, Belgium, by dmvA
Photography by Frederik Vercruysse
The residence was designed to take advantage of the site’s striking features, including majestic oak trees and large boulders. The house is divided into two wings. A public wing includes living, dining and kitchen areas and opens up to the main outdoor dining and lounging areas. The second, more intimate wing, contains bedrooms, bathrooms and a library all of which open up to small outdoor courtyards and terraces. The property also includes a lap-pool and an existing guest house.
The building is constructed of exposed steel, glass, concrete and insulated metal panels. The Montecito Residence takes full advantage of the indoor-outdoor living made possible by California Coast’s mild climate. Designed specifically without air-conditioning, the house is cooled exclusively by cross-ventilation. Large operable sectional glass doors, sliding doors and windows can be opened and closed to quickly adjust to the climate conditions and the occupants’ comfort. In addition, the house’s radiant heat system is fed by solar collector panels. Other sustainable features include highly efficient boilers, photovoltaic panels and an Energy-Star rated “cool” roof.
Montecito Residence, Montecito, California, by Barton Myers Associates
Photography by Ciro Coelho
On a marvelous place like a piece of earthly paradise, at Cádiz, we have built an infinite plane facing the infinite sea, the most radical house we have ever made. At the very edge of the waters of the Atlantic Ocean, where the sea unites the new and the old continent, emerges a stone platform. At the place where all the ships from the Mediterranean used to pass and still pass by as they head off into the Atlantic. There we have erected a house as if it were a jetty facing out to sea. A house that is a podium crowned by an upper horizontal plane. On this resoundingly horizontal plane, bare and denuded, we face out to the distant horizon traced by the sea where the sun goes down. A horizontal plane on high built in stone, Roman travertine, as if it were sand, an infinite plane facing the infinite sea. Nothing more and nothing less.
The House of the Infinite, Cádiz, Spain, by Alberto Campo Baeza
Photography by Javier Callejas
Aptly named, Heavy Metal is a steel clad private residence that sits on eight acres of heavily wooded terrain. As an owner of a steel manufacturing facility, the homeowner wanted a residence to reflect his distinctive family business and his personal artistic background, but also become a “forever-home” for him and his family. As an industrial entrepreneur, steel is introduced as an element to add a level of interest and texture from the inside out. The hot-rolled steel on the interior of the home is blackened and maintains a natural “grain”, while outside the exposed custom perforated panels are allowed to rust, bringing out the natural warm reds of the steel’s iron oxide.
Being a single-level dwelling the home is easy to move through. Neutral walls and floors facilitate a gallery-like space that showcases the client’s art collection. Warmth and texture is introduced into the spaces through something natural, elements and furnishings that interact with the user and relate to the home’s exterior context. Heavily textured rugs break up vast expanses of concrete floor while walnut wraps selected vertical and ceiling planes for added richness and warmth. Natural light filters through the exterior perforated panels in the daytime and likewise in the evening the light from the home softly glows through the exterior skin. A careful combination of indirect cove lighting and aggregate task lighting help maintain the calm aesthetic of the residence and further define the spaces in the otherwise open floor plan.
Heavy Metal House, Joplin, Missouri, by Hufft Projects
Bridge House is a multi-generational family home that spans both landscapes and age groups. Sited between a suburban development and a protected wooded area, the Bridge House appears as a single family home from the front. Its rear elevation reveals an internal organization designed to accommodate three generations living together under one roof-or in this case, within three volumes that act as a number of roofs. These three volumes are devices that frame views through the house of the dramatically sloped wooded site.
Each tubular volume contains a carefully organized relationship of private and public areas that correspond to the family’s generational structure. The smaller volume of the ground floor is the private master suite for the grandparents (the clients) who are first-generation Korean-American immigrants to the United States. The larger volume of the ground floor is the collective public area of the multi-generational home, which includes all shared programs, such as the kitchen, family room, dining room and garage. Physicallybridging between these two spaces is a long volume that houses the family’s second and third generations. Two master suites bookend the bar volume: one for their visiting daughter and one for their live-in son and daughter-in-law who reside in the space with the clients’ two grandchildren. The grandchildren live in a “Jack and Jill” suite and have access to the upper-level outdoor space, which is set between the master bedrooms.
Bridge House, McLean, USA, by Höweler and Yoon Architecture