Cascading Creek House was conceived less as a house and more as an outgrowth of the limestone aquifers of the Central Texas geography. The roof is configured so as to create a natural basin for the collection of rainwater, not unlike the vernal pools found in the outcroppings of the Texas Hill Country. These basins harness additional natural flows through the use of photovoltaic and solar hot-water panels. The water,electricity and heat which are harvested on the roof tie into an extensive climate conditioning system which utilizes water source heat pumps and radiant loops to supply both the heating and cooling for the residence. The climate system is connected to geothermal ground loops as well as pools and water features thereby establishing a system of heat exchange which minimizes reliance on electricity or gas.
Beyond the technological, the form and siting of the house subtly addresses the social issues of American suburbia. The surprisingly low profile of the house in relation to the street offers a critical alternative to the morphology of massive suburban homes in Texas–one looks down upon the water-collecting roofs of the house upon entering from the street. In contrast to the unassuming face towards the street, the residence presents itself generously towards the wilderness below, embracing nature without overwhelming it.
The primary formal gesture of the project inserts two long native limestone walls to the sloping site, serving as spines for the public wing and private wing of the house. The walls and the wings they delineate shelter a domesticated landscape that serves as an extended living space oriented towards the creek below and protected from the torrents of water draining from the street above during sudden downpours characteristic of the area. The siting of the boundary walls and building elements was informed by the presence and preservation of three mature native oaks.
Against the constant datum of the imperceptibly sloping roof, the floor terraces along the contour of the land to define the interior into discrete spaces increasing in volume height away from the relative compression of the entry hall. Each wing of the house terminates with the roof cantilevered from a single column that frees up the exterior walls to be fully glazed, flooding the tall and open volume of the living room with daylight and offering generous views of the pool deck and the wooded silhouettes of the Texas Hill Country beyond.
Cascading Creek House, Texas, by Bercy Chen Studio
Mews 03 is a single residence set in fashionable Notting Hill Gate. Andy Martin wanted this existing 2 levels modest mews house to be redeveloped into a 4 levels family home, and to be a private cocoon but open to the elements. An important aspect of this building is the way AMA have managed to capture the available light creatively, using glazed and wooden screens, and even natural vegetation screens giving all the spaces a unique atmosphere throughout the day and night.
One of the abutting walls is clad throughout with Douglas Fir giving one the impression that the building is some fixed back to neatly constructed barn. Andy Martin Studio are architects of strong powerful contrasts. The architecture not only lives with but is positively by its contradictions: elegance and texture, weight and weightlessness and, above all, light and dark.
House VK1, a single family dwelling by South African practice Greg Wright Architects is situated between the lion’s head cliffs and the sea in camps bay near cape town, South Africa. The common areas of the house are elevated to provide impressive ocean views. A wall comprised of large sliding glass doors may be opened entirely to lead to a veranda and pool. Inhabitants access the private rooms of the lower level via cantilevered concrete stairs. Wrapping a central courtyard, natural light permeates the ground floor from above. The material palette comprised of polished concrete floors, textured concrete, stainless steel with accents of natural gray stone and glass creates a canvas background for the dynamic activity occurring within.
A private residence built in the center of a historic avenue and at the very heart of Haifa’s French Carmel neighborhood. The avenue is studded with a number of residences designed in the Bauhaus style. The Bauhaus style gained its hold in Israel in the wake of international styling trends and is a ornament free design style, both simple and down to earth. The style celebrated the aesthetics of the machine and was characterized by uniformity of color and by unassuming and simple finishes and facades. The style faithfully represented the spirit of the age and the location. This project, designed decades later, creates a line that connects contemporary styling with the spirit of that bygone era. The project emphasizes and sharpens the differences between apparently similar design styles of contemporary minimalism influenced by Japan and the austere moderation of the modernism that characterized the end of the 1950′s. Both of these paradigms translate into a way of life, to the Israeli environment and climate. The sophistication and the minimalism that existed at the heyday of the Bauhaus period have been translated, in this latest reincarnation, into a special purity and prestigious restraint. In his design, the architect has expressed his own, localized interpretation for free planning in which there is a special continuity achieved through light, appearance and movement and the placement of secondary spaces around one, large and open central space.
Haifa House, Israel, by Pitsou Kedem Architects, Design Team: Pitsou Kedem, Irene Raz, Hagar Arad, photography by Amit Geron
The house for a family with two children is situated on a former hillside vineyard that had remained undeveloped. On the northern slope of the hill adjoining a non-developable zone, the house is surrounded by large old trees. In order to be able to even use the site it was necessary to terrace the immediate surroundings, and the house was developed along the lines of the formed topography.
In the process, the four terraces themselves function as exterior spaces, each corresponding to a specific interior space. The unusual topography is also mirrored in the construction of the building. The connection to the terrain is a stepped, largely subterranean basement storey made of internally insulated exposed concrete, above which is a prefabricated wooden construction with a ventilated Eternit façade. The large-format plates are a prototype with a textile-like embossing, producing a raw and haptic appearance.
Inside, a stairway core constitutes the centre of a spatial sequence that unfolds over three storeys. At the entrance level are the children’s rooms, with the cellar rooms at the back. The floor above is set back, creating differentiated spatial heights for the different areas of the house. The doorways on the intermediate level with the living rooms and the parent’s bedroom allow a free circular movement. Due to building regulations, the roof above the living room slopes parallel with the terrain, and runs directly over into the flat roof of the studio and the guest room in the upper storey. A roof light running the entire width of the building creates a studio-like character at the top, simultaneously lighting the high living room.
Located in Yarralumla, Canberra, the clients purchased the adjoining property to their existing contemporary residence to accommodate a tennis court, indoor swimming pool and guest accommodation. A new simple, single level off-form concrete structure houses the heated pool, shower facilities, a kitchenette and a sitting area with a fireplace. Sliding glass doors open to the east and west from the indoor pool and the sitting room, with timber screens providing sun control to the west. Three large circular skylights are located above the pool. A lightweight steel structure accommodates guest accommodation within an upper level. A palette of Off-form concrete, grey stained timber and Travertine stone floors are used throughout. The new pavilion sits comfortably in scale and style with the existing residence, and forms a strong architectural background to the tennis court from the main house.
Yarralumla Residence, Canberra, Australia by Katon Redgen Mathieson
Recycling a single story suburban house located on a busy corner site, Jigsaw introverts itself in a continous spatial flow around an open air courtyard carved from the home’s remains. Fundamental to the conception of the house is the notion of reflectivity, rendering unclear the boundaries between inside and outsite. Light and space are modulated by meshing ribbons of wall and glass that form a tessellation of solid and void. The conditioning of these internal and external walls is identical. Planes of stucco exterior walls transform into plaster interior walls while passing through glass. Clerestory glazing and window constructs are carefully sited to afford privacy to the occupants while framing and extending views through the site.
Portuguese practice FVArquitectos has completed ‘house in banzão II’, a single family residence located in pinhal do banzão, colares, portugal. this low profile dwelling is situated amid and framed by a grove of mature trees. The striking plaster facade produces a crisply defined volume contrasting the abundant textured foliage of the pine needles. Bold recessed openings are accented with sturdy single hinged timber shutters which may be swung shut to completely enclose the home. An open slat pergola which extends from the facade encourages guests to turn the corner and discover the main entrance. The main living space introduces the rustic materials into the interior with horizontal wooden shades which slide along a concealed vertical track. an enclosed open air courtyard provides opportunities for ventilation into the innermost rooms. Positioned within a corner is an understated outdoor pool is recessed into a terrace composed from parallel planks.