Tepoztlan, is a small town nestled between rocky cliffs located to the south of Mexico City, 50 kilometers away from the vibrant metropolis. With its well preserved historic center and wild countryside, Tepoztlan is a town of legends and deep cultural roots that has been appreciated by writers, poets, artists and musicians over many decades, turning it into their hometown or weekend retreat. Located in this incredible context and surrounded by an astonishing landscape, the Tepoztlan Lounge is the first building completed of a larger project that also includes a series of bungalows of different sizes and designs, which can be rented by years, months or days.
Tepoztlán Lounge, Tepoztlán, Morelos, México, by Cadaval & Solà-Morales
Designed to fulfil the desires and needs of a young family, Villa L is set in the woods of central Netherlands, fully oriented towards the sun and the views on the garden. Villa L is a spatially diverse residence where every floor has its own strong identity, creating a broad spatial spectrum within a unified whole. A young family with three children asked Powerhouse Company and RAU to design a house that would fulfill their dreams: a paradox of a house that is simple yet surprising, open yet specific, minimal yet luxurious. Powerhouse Company, responsible for the design, resolved these contradictions with a house based on a radical differentiation of spatial experiences on three floors (of which one is subterranean). RAU embedded the sustainable strategy for the villa in the design. Three clear levels, with three very different characters and functionalities as a basis for family life to emerge.
One level is for living, a generously open ground floor. A strip of serving rooms containing storage, toilets and stairs, provides easily access to the luxuriously open living spaces. The kitchen and living room are oriented maximally to the sun and view. In close relation to this living area there are two studies located on the north side next to the entrance.
The collection of rooms on the first floor provides space for sleeping and privacy. Set in a delicate roof garden, all the bedrooms are autonomous volumes crafted in their entirety from dark wood. They work like a village of cabins, providing intimacy and privacy. Every room is like a world of its own with private views over the wooded landscape. The curved basement is for guests, wellness and storage. The excavations allow the pool and the guest rooms to have fully glazed facades and direct access to the garden. The house incorporates innovative sustainable measures including a hot and cold-water storage and extensive use of hidden PV cells. The basement contains a dedicated area for the high-end energy saving installations.
Villa L, Utrecht, The Netherlands, by Powerhouse Company, in collaboration with RAU
Ramat Hasharon House 1, Isreal, by Pitsou Kedem Architect
This project consists of a two-story, 5,000-square-foot single family residence and guest house on a 12,000-square-foot property in Venice, California. The property is large for this section of Los Angeles, making it nicely sized for a young family of four. The first floor plan is in the shape of a long bar and has an open arrangement of public rooms all looking on to the western half of the property. The living room is a double-height space. The exterior areas are comprised of a front garden, a private garden, an exterior covered area and various concrete deck areas, a sports court, and a swimming pool and spa. The T-shaped second floor of the main house contains a large master suite and two children’s bedrooms, a laundry room, an office and a large black-out media room. A guest house pool house is situated at the south end of the property on axis with the pool. The main exterior materials are white stucco, glass and metal panel. Photo-voltaic panels on the roof provide a portion of the electricity for the residence.
Flag House, Nakano Ward Tokyo, Japan, by Apollo Architects and Associates, Photography by Masao Nishikawa
The house is specifically designed for a small modern family. It is composed of a 560 sq.m private land and 500 sq. m usable internal space. Even though the usable space of the land is limited, the client wanted a modern house with sun shades and rain protections as well as a large greenery area to enjoy. After numerous hours of design planning and meetings, the architect proposed cantilevering practically half of the house over the ground floor area. This would liberate more space in the garden while following the regulations.
The house is designed in L shape to enhance the usable space and green area. One side of the wall of the house is designed close to an adjacent plot of land to maximize the green space. The bathrooms, service areas, storages and staircases are designed as buffer zones to absorb the heat and provide more privacy for the main private space on the north. Most of glass walls are also in the north of the house in order to receive natural sunlight since the northern sunlight is the least intense in Thailand. In addition, 50 percent of the land is an open space for gardening that can be visible from every angle. The swimming pool is positioned in parallel with the building to draw cool air into the house.
The architect’s main concerns are to keep the building cool during daytime and provide cross-ventilation from opposing windows for every room. The layout not only satisfies the client’s need, but also provides a natural ventilation and generous outdoor area compared with that of a small plot with similar surrounding properties.
YAK01, Yen Akat Road, Bangkok, Thailand, by Ayutt and Associates Design
According to English Heritage (which oversees historic buildings for the British government), Woodchester House, a Georgian mansion built in 1746 and located on 30 acres of Gloucestershire countryside, is architecturally untouchable and unchangeable. For both the architect, London- and Paris-based Robert Grace, and the client, a financier and author, that was a problem.
Granted, the mansion and its grounds and garden–where the owner’s wallabies frolic–are breathtaking. But the link, visual or physical, between the house and the landscape was lacking. After months of discussion, Grace and the owner decided that a 1,500-square-foot glass, wood, and concrete “orangery,” or garden room, would solve the problem. It provides a place of contemplation and repose adjacent to, but never touching, the house. “It is shelter,” says Grace, “but you can look out at the garden or at the back at the house and feel linked to both.”
The new 18-foot-high structure may relate to the house functionally, but hardly stylistically. “It’s totally of the ‘now,’” says Grace. Two slender reinforced concrete columns support a concrete roof, while expanses of glass diminish the sense of mass. Triple-glazed units enclosing the space are almost nonexistent, especially where they meet at a corner facing the garden: With a push of a button they glide back on an invisible motorized track. Oak plank floors unite the various parts of the retreat, which includes an entry, bathroom, laundry, and living area with a fireplace carved in a stone wall.
A 41-foot gallery links the garden pavilion to an existing outbuilding, used as a kitchen and dining room, that adjoins the main house. To create the linear gallery, Grace placed sections of an old stone garden wall, once part of the house’s former orangery, parallel to each other and clad the interiors with white concrete. He then covered the hallway with a glass roof resting on glass beams that in turn hook into the concrete columns. It was a fantastic day when we could step back, take off our hard hats and marvel at the beauty of this project.
Woodchester House, by Robert Grace, via: Architectural Record
The project is situated in the vicinity of the whitewashed town of Montemor-o-novo, in the Alentejo, near the UNESCO-listed city of Evora. Located on a gentle valley facing south and looking towards the skyline of the medieval Montemor castle, the master plan was devised in a system of clusters of villas and terraced row-houses reminiscent of the former agricultural compounds of the Alentejo, known as “monte”, which literally means “mound” in English, wherein the etymological reference is fundamentally topographic. In addition, a small lake cools the air and is used for leisure activities besides serving as a sustainable water-retaining basin for agriculture.
The property is located in a quiet, wooded area. The house is built against the right neighbor. The left neighbor is a detached house. The house is at the front 12.70 wide and is tapered and parallel to the parcel toward the rear. The roof is retracted so that the cornice is at 5.79m. The challenging form of the plot and the orientation, make sure that we have gone looking for a type of home that meets these conditions and also provides an architectural value. The requested program with limited living space was poured into a patio home with abundant light. By choosing this concept, the southern sun invades deep into the house. The living areas at the top are linked to a south facing terrace. The small terrace at the rear of the house composes the views to the wooded area. The entrance, sleeping area, bathroom and storeroom are on the ground floor.
The client chooses a house with enough light and views, but with some privacy. The window openings are chosen in the privacy of the residents. Some windows are recessed so that a few bricks filtered light enters. At the terrace on the top floor is the front covered with white slats. These are rotated so that the west sun may fall on the terrace overlooking the forest. The privacy at the front of the building create introverted spaces on the floor. In terms of materialization we’ve chosen a light brown / beige brick with black aluminum joinery. The edge and the slats in the front are materialized in white aluminum.
House K, Buggenhout, Belgium, by GRAUX & BAEYENS Architecten, Photography by Luc Roymans, Dennis Desmet, via: ArchDaily
The arrangement of objects in a given space or a defined format in order to give meaning to the placement and arrangement of the items, the result of the relationship between the object and the framework of the artistic creation. A private, family residence in an urban environment. From without, the building does not reveal that it is a home. It resembles a mold or an artist’s canvas or an almost two dimensional frame within whose area various openings have been placed and which are enveloped with a dynamic system of wooden, linear strips. The planar distribution of the “picture” or, in this case the front façade, creates a non-symmetrical composition which pulls towards the flanking faces in an attempt to suggest that this is, in fact, a three dimensional mass. The arrangement of the objects (the openings) is always fixed and allows for one central and permanent composition. The ability to reverse the balanced composition into a dynamic one is made possible thanks to the design of a system of smart blinds that allows the blinds to be lifted upwards whilst they are folded into what resembles a roof. All the rails and fixtures are hidden and so, when the façade is closed the dynamic and changing possibilities hidden in the residence’s facade are not apparent. All the openings open separately and so allow for different compositions. At any given moment and for whatever reason (privacy, protection from the sun) the relationship between the object and the plane can be changed. Thus we can achieve a composition that is balanced, dynamic, haphazard, closed or open within the same framework.
Movement through the house is accompanied (thanks to the flexible blind system) by different views of the outside, some exposed and bare, others undisguised and others framing a section of landscape especially designed for it. This selfsame changeability and flexibility also allows control of the amount of sunlight and natural light entering through the openings and into the homes spaces. These spaces are characterized by a restrained use of materials and form so that the light penetrating the space creates a sense of drama, movement and dynamism which seems to breathe life into the souls of the silent walls. Thus, in effect, the system of relationships between the street and the structure composed of changing, but two dimensional compositions on a framed and flat plane develops, for the user of the house’s spaces, an open area that incorporates abstract or tangible images with volume. The relationship between these same volumes (the walls, the stairs, the various partitions and the different elements in the house) and the space, create, through the structures changing facade and the dynamism of the blinds, changing compositions, sometimes controlled and sometimes random with a new and different experience being created each time for the user and those living in the home.
Kfar Shmaryahu House, by Pitsou Kedem Architects