Rolling pastures, bordered with dark, stained fences interspersed in woodlands define the Albemarle County, Virginia countryside where this project is located. The new house is sited at the edge of woodland on the crest of a hill, providing vantage view points of the pastures and distant treetops.
The house is conceived of three gable-roofed pavilions that provide a threshold between the woodlands and the pastures, taking advantage of two very different scenic panoramas. The one room deep, central living pavilion contains large expanses of glass along two walls, affording views of both the woods and rolling horse pastures. This configuration insures the space will be flooded with light at all times of the day throughout the year. A screened porch and bluestone terrace, running the length of the house provides a stage to view sunsets over the pastures while a manicured lawn and dry-stacked slate wall provide an ordered transition from the house to the woods beyond. Gable roofs with black, standing seam metal, clapboard siding and the small scale of the separated pavilions evoke a familiar, comfortable rural vernacular. The large expanses of glass, cement board paneling and crisp, minimal detailing render the house decidedly modern.
Becherer House, Albemarle County, Virginia, USA , by Robert M. Gurney Architect, Photography © Maxwell MacKenzie Architectural
Sited in the northeastern corner of the Singapore, the 2-1/2 storey house sits on a sunken piece of land facing a huge park next to the sea. It is a house designed for a middle-age couple that entertains frequently. The house is set low to the ground and all the bedrooms are placed on grade while the living spaces on the upper floors. The bedrooms on the lower floors gets the shade and privacy from the garden and the boundary walls while the communal space on top, connects with the park across the street. Capitalizing on the planning guidelines on Roof Eaves Setbacks, created a 2m wide apron all round the upper floor that stretches to form the car porch canopy. The band of cantilevered concrete is planted on top, elevating the garden to the upper floor while shading the bedrooms on the ground.
The Park House , Singapore, by Formwerkz Architects, Photography by Jeremy San
This rural home sits on an 80-acre agricultural site in California’s Central Coast wine region. The design directly responds to the wide diurnal temperature fluctuations of its arid climate. Masonry walls anchor the building to the earth and structure the primary living spaces, centering activity around a covered outdoor living room. The design integrates deep overhangs, passive ventilation, photovoltaic electricity, solar hot water and radiant heat.
Paso Robles Residence, Paso Robles, California, USA, by Aidlin Darling Design
A glissade is a manoeuvre deployed in skiing and mountaineering to control a breakneck plunge down a steep, snowy alpine slope. It’s an apt name to give a house like Maison Glissade, a rigorously elegant chalet in Collingwood, one of Ontario’s most popular ski areas, just an hour’s drive north of Toronto. Designed by Robert Kastelic and Kelly Buffey of Atelier Kastelic Buffey, the chalet is set almost at the base of a ski run. Standing in the spacious second floor, which combines a living room, a dining room, a kitchen and an office nook, all within a single sweep, one can see through the pitched windows to the blurred figures of skiers bounding down the hill, then drifting back up on the lift.
Triton Bar Stools by ClassiCon
Located in a Whistler neighborhood halfway up the mountainside, this house was designed for clients who appreciate the timber structure characteristic of a Whistler Chalet, but desired a unique family home for seven that would capture this ambience without its typical organization and aesthetic. Situated in a prominent site, the visual mass of the structure was diminished by making a substantial portion of the house appear to be below grade through the strategic removal of bedrock, and by the extension of the living room terrace over the garage. An upper courtyard deck area was also carved in to the massing to gather light centrally into the house. The result is a home that looks deceptively modest in relation to the neighboring properties.
“I wanted to give it the spirit of an old residence where time has passed and there are so many stories to tell”
- Marcio Kogan
The 600 sq m of residence V4, which four years to built, consists of just one large living room with three open areas, two bedrooms, a kitchen and bathroom. There is also an outdoor kitchen for barbecues, a gym and a small basement with a laundry and service room. The team from studio MK27 has handled interior design as well.
Breaking the prescriptive mold of horizontally layered homes, NaCl House aspires to render unclear the spatial organization of the project and explore an architecture of ambiguous scale. The resultant massing reveals an imperfect, rough-hewn form recalling the natural isometric formation of mineral rock salt.
The exterior composition is read as a single object that reflects a dynamic fluid interior. Uncorrelated to the buildings structure, glazing panels are detailed flush to the exterior surface, eliminating shadows which further inhibit a reading of the buildings scale.
The Shaw house is located on a narrow waterfront property on the south shore of English Bay. Views from the site stretch across the bay to encompass the skyline of downtown Vancouver and, beyond, the mountains on the north shore of the bay. The house is organized with living spaces at grade, a music room below, and a single bedroom, study, and lap pool above. The pool, with terraces at each end, runs along the entire west side of the house.
Because the house is so narrow, spatial expansion is possible only outward over the water and upward. Generous ceiling heights enlarge spaces; a clerestory above the lap pool transmits daylight and dappled, reflected light deep into the central spaces, including the dining room, which rises from the ground level to the upper level of the house. The entrance is directly under the pool, midway along the side of the house. An almost magical aqueous light is transmitted to the entrance area through the water and glass bottom of the pool.
Like many cities on the West Coast, Vancouver is in an area of high seismic risk. A robust structure is required to resist the significant lateral forces that would result from the large mass of water in the pool in the event of an earthquake. Thus the house is constructed almost entirely of reinforced concrete. A special dense mix utilizing white cement keeps the structure looking bright during frequent rainy weather. Inside this concrete shell, the house is insulated and clad with gypsum board. In areas where insulation not required, the concrete structure is exposed. Muted materials and colors — white painted walls, pale concrete floors, precast stair treads, and bleached millwork — allow natural light, even the soft light of winter, to describe the interior.
This house is designed as a vessel of personal discovery for two real estate professionals, with an educated passion for modern architecture, and their two sons. Adjacent to a city mountain preserve to the south, the house gracefully embraces the topographic fold of a desert wash, while focusing on a northeasterly view of the McDowell Mountains in the distance. A mysterious refined dark object in its rugged natural landscape, the house responds to the owners’ desire for a place of quiet reflection.
This two story structure, with its simple shed roof and deep overhangs, is a sculptural form of weathered steel and cooper. A large weathered steel vessel for swimming emerges from the natural desert adjacent to a shaded raised gravel terrace. Entry, office and bedrooms are on the upper level with the primary living and dining experience, a media/music chamber and potter’s studio tucked beneath. Cork and concrete floors, wall planes of translucent glass, and cabinets of cherry and stainless steel articulate the interiors. The upper level entry and passage are conceived as galleries for the owners’ art collection. The stair down to the collective living spaces plays against the subtle drama of the angled south facade, to draw you to the desert beyond as the double height living room takes you to the sky.
Jarson Residence, by Will Bruder + Partners
The house is primarily a response to site and local government planning limitations. With the requirement to house a family of 5 while achieving a large outdoor living space and pool we approached the project as more of a vertical than horizontal composition of spaces. Council requirements stipulated that no more than 20% of the land area could be classified as ‘overheight’. They also required on site parking for two cars off the adjacent laneway. This forced/allowed us to force part of the home underground which achieved improved thermal performance and intimacy while achieving the street appearance of a single level home – though it is the upper level that is read from the street. Covered outdoor space was also a requirement so the upper level was used as a shelter for the sunken outdoor living space. Another of the driving ideas was thermal mass. The lower level shell is constructed in concrete as most of the perimeter walls are retaining or completely subterranean. The upper level however is more exposed to the sun and therefore has been constructed almost entirely in timber for its low thermal mass. Internally the lower (public/living) level has a different treatment to the upper (private – bedrooms, bathrooms and study) level. The lower level is a mainly open space of exposed raw concrete structure mixed with American Oak paneling and storage walls. The upper level takes on a more enclosed, private feel with timber detailing and simple white plaster surfaces. Green views have been achieved from all areas.
Context of the project
The house is set in a post-war inner suburban street in Perth’s Western Suburbs. The surrounding homes are a mixture of small workers cottages and Californian bungalows. The house takes on a similar scale to the surrounding homes and despite its slightly brutal rectilinear shape does not dominate the street. The upper level materials (timber) reflects nearby weatherboard homes and street trees.
Appropriate thermal mass solutions have been achieved in both the subterranean and above ground sections of the home. The lower level requires occasional cooling (through concealed air conditioning) in summer but in winter no heating is required. The upper (exposed) level avoids heat build up through the use of double stud construction and lightweight cedar cladding to the outer walls. The operable timber shutters to the western facade provide complete protection from the hot western sun and can be adjusted to moderate natural light levels throughout the day. The roof uses foam panel technology.
Shenton Park House, Western Australia, by David Smith Studio