Ten years ago, when StudioMK27 tried to do a project using exposed concrete, many builders said that this was practically impossible. Yeah, Right – Brazil that has a vast modern tradition in the use of raw concrete? During a determinate period, in the 90′s, the use of the material declined sharply, restricted to the few architects that used it experimentally and sporadically, without fixing a constructive know-how.
Concrete is, on the other hand, a type of x-ray of the construction and of the passing of time, where the surface is impregnated not only with the smallest defects but also the knots of the wood. It is liquid stone, as has already been said. The experience of constructing in raw concrete during these last ten years has shown StudioMK27 the impracticality of making an absolutely perfect material. The House of Ipês incorporates this experience of design and construction in exposed concrete.
In this house the material is used in a radical manner throughout the upper volume and, as such, the large concrete box appears to be floating atop a glass volume. In the living room, which continues to the veranda and the garden, the doors open entirely, diluting the division between interior and exterior. The main entrance is done through pivoting panels that also open entirely to the front garden. In the internal space, a long irregularly-shaped sofa wriggles around the room, constructing a space with no hierarchy among the different orientations.
On the top floor, a TV room distributes the circulation to the bedrooms, which are lit by a wood block on the concrete wall of the facade. The wooden brises offer the interior great thermal comfort and makes it possible to totally control the lighting.
The structure of the house incorporates large spans which accentuate the Idea of a floating Box, besides propitiating a totally free and continuous space. The use of raw concrete refers to modern buildings, aesthetically and functionally, as in a dialogue with this modern architecture. The House of Ipês, with its grand spans and brute material, transpires a sobriety and the concrete impregnated by the passage of time, exposes the existence of the life of the building.
Ipês House, Brazil, by Marcio Kogan, StudioMK27
Further Lane House, Amagansett, New York, USA, by Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects
Architect Vasco Vieira, principal of Arqui+ Arquitectura, has just completed Casa Vale do Lobo. The contemporary home is stark white with a mix of wood and glass. An absolute exquisite piece of architecture, but there is no denying the property’s real beauty — the swimming pool. The concrete that holds the water is risen from the ground, and acts as a waterfall to the shallow pond below it. The site of the home is ‘U’ shaped, one side being the home, on the other a wooded deck to relax on and the infinity pool. Though the golf course property sits on a sea side, this epic pool might be enough to keep it’s owners in fresh waters.
A double storey rectangular volume contains living spaces and the children’s accommodation, whist a separate single storey volume contains a parent’s wing. The two volumes are organized about a central access spine, which forms an Entry Hall and visually links to a pond and fire place beyond. Living spaces are generally located to the north for solar and garden access, whilst articulation of the building form and facade controls day-lighting to the interior spaces. The project adopts a number of sustainable design initiatives.
Manning Road House, East Malvern, Melbourne, Australia, by Noxon Giffen Architects, Photography by Peter Clarke
An arrangement of freestanding structures around a sheltered central courtyard rests in a saddle above Matiatia Bay. The natural undulations of the saddle have been subtly emphasized to form a natural setting for three roofed structures and freestanding raised pool. Inspiration for the site came from a study of lightweight, canopy- like structures, tensioned to the ground plane. Draped roof planes are tensioned to the surrounding landscape over interior and exterior spaces.
Island Retreat, Waiheke Island, New Zealand, by Fearon Hay Architects, Interiors by Penny Hay, Photography by Patrick Reynolds
Located in a neighborhood bordering Washington, DC, this suburban site has the advantage of being located adjacent to woodlands. A contemporary house surrounded by mature trees and manicured gardens anchors the site. A new swimming pool, stone walls, and terraces located behind the existing house organize the rear yard and establishes a dialogue between the existing house and a new pavilion. New paths, trees and structured plantings reinforce the geometry.
The new pavilion, intended for year round use, is strategically located to provide a threshold between the structured landscape and adjacent woodland. A low-pitched, terne coated stainless steel roof floats above a dry-stacked slate wall and mahogany volume. Five steel-framed glass doors along with frameless glass walls and mitered glass corners enclose the space, creating an environment that is surrounded by views of the structured landscape, pool and the adjacent woodland. The doors pivot to open the space much of the year while a large Rumford fireplace and heated floors provide a cozy counterpoint in winter months.
The interior contains a stainless steel kitchen component with seating, along with a small living space anchored by the fireplace. The blue stone flooring, stone and mahogany walls, and Douglas-fir ceiling create a warm, natural space. This new pavilion is intended to provide shelter from the harsh natural elements while simultaneously allowing the occupant to enjoy both the beautifully structured garden and the native, natural surroundings.
Nevis Pool and Garden Pavilion, Washington DC, USA, by Robert M. Gurney Architect, Photography © Maxwell MacKenzie Architectural
The barn redevelopment project addresses the issue of the transformation of a disused farm, situated on the route leading out from the historical village centre, into a living space. The new architecture is related to the existing through a dialogue of tradition and contemporary, with the attention to a correct contextualization. The architecture is sober and proposes itself as a new project and, at the same time, as something that fits in with the existing village. The house is on three levels, the entrance is on the ground floor, with services areas and guest rooms overlooking the courtyard. The first floor is a unified space with kitchen, living room and study arranged around the block of the stairs and fireplace. Another room and a “loggia” are located on the second floor.
The facades are made of stone and wood, as the original texture, and have smooth concrete inserts, with a core of reinforced concrete, framing the new openings of the ground floor. The stone corner walls and roof are existed. The large openings are filtered by vertical oak axes, making up a manually moveable screen. The outdoor areas are arranged on three levels, as the natural slope, designed through a smooth concrete wall, that enunciating the theory of contemporary construction in continuity with the context.
Inside, the materials used are contemporary but not-compound and not-industrial. They are: smooth concrete, raw solid oak wood and hand- treated welded steel. The material has a rough appearance, but it is prepared and used not with improvisation and approximation, but instead with extreme accuracy, design and craftmanship. The smooth concrete has a static behaviour similar to that of a traditional brick wall. (There was not the possibility of using reinforced concrete inside because of the conditions of the construction site -the roof was maintained-). The new wall tries to merge with the old stone wall, as if it was its translation in the language of contemporary techniques. Everything is prepared before laying the concrete, switches, doors and window frames…
The implementation is experimental and derives from research through 1:1 scale models. All the oak used (25 cubic meters) was acquired and processed in the same place, so that material would have the same colour, behaviour and the same “patina”. The material used is a key element of this architecture. In this house the atmosphere is achieved through the care and culture of the craft, and materializes in line with the roughness of the place, and it is expressed in the designing of the details, in a homage to craftmanship, to know-how.
Barn Renovation, Soglio, Switzerland, by Designer, for Ruinelli Associati Architetti
Implemented in a slender lot from north to south, the project born with the aim of building a dwelling with a single floor. The typology was defined according to the best sunlight, as this is one of the richest of this Mediterranean country. So all rooms are oriented to the east, the living room (place more permanent) to south, the kitchen to west and garage to north where the functionality is the symbiosis of the project. The professional link of the owner to the forestry sector, led us to look for sources of inspiration in the region. We are in the west of the country, near the city of Leiria that is distinguished by loggers and mythical forests (created by King D. Dinis in order to protect the city from sand storms from the winds off the Atlantic ocean) this was the turning point of the project which allowed us to take advantage of traditional formwork pine boards used in the concrete in sight walls at core walls of the house.
This guesthouse was designed by Allied works for the family of an art collector in Dutchess County, New York. This commission included a residence, guesthouse and private gallery. Located on the eastern slopes of the Hudson River Valley, the site consists of rolling hills, open meadows and a dense hardwood forest. Each of the three buildings responds to a particular landscape. The images above are from the guest house. The main residence (preview below) is still under construction. The main house is situated at the head of a large meadow, providing sweeping views of the valley and mountains beyond (this is a 350 acre property by the way). The residence takes the form of an orthogonal helix sited at the intersection of three landscaped courts. These are bounded by a series of stone walls that extend into the landscape. Above, the helix is enclosed by a skin of glass panels — transparent, translucent and opaque — that mediates light and views and dissolves into the surrounding landscape.
Dutchess County Guesthouse by Allied Works Architecture, Photography by Jeremy Bitterman, via: Modern
Allied Works Architecture: Brad Cloepfil: Occupation, Published by Hatje Cantz, English, 2011. 440 pp., 481 color ills., 12 foldouts, 25 x 31.4cm, hardcover, ISBN: 9783775728386
Buy it here: Amazon
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