Heritage status defined the transformation of the modern architect’s only service station into an intergenerational community centre. It was necessary to cover and then restore the building, while allowing for integrating new mechanical equipment and power without affecting the heritage the building. The architectural interventions try to radicalize the inherent qualities of building by accentuating the formal simplicity, the continuity of the roof and transparency of the pavilions.
Ludwig Mies van der Rohe Gas Station, Nun’s Island, Montreal, Quebec, Conversion by Les Architectes FABG
This house aims to overlook the various views which can be seen from the highest point of the land. Starting from a set of separate volumes and following the adaptation of the traditional architecture to the terrain, the resulting area between the four volumes was designed as a living space, the walls of which are a continuation of the exterior façades and where only glass separates the exterior from the interior space of the home. Depending on the prevailing wind or the desired view, the house can open out on various landscapes and its connection and permeability with the exterior is total. The solid volume in darkened wood is transformed into four volumes when the large glass panes are opened, allowing the extension of the various platforms of the house. A system of pre-fabrication was used for this building which was conceived in order to achieve an A+ rating in terms of energy efficiency.
House C:Z, São Roque do Pico, Ilha do Pico, Açores, Portugal, by Inês Vieira da Silva, Miguel Vieira, SAMI-arquitectos, Photography © FG + SG architectural photography, Fernando Guerra, via: ArchDaily
The new home of the Poetry Foundation, located in the River North neighborhood of Chicago, is comprised of a building in dialogue with a garden. The garden space is created through erosion of an implied volume as described by the L-shaped property boundary of the site, resulting in a relationship whereby the building the enclosed building spaces interlock with the exterior spaces of the garden. In this manner, the garden is implied as another “room” of the building, and part of the building’s slowly-unfolding spatial sequence, which is revealed space by space as a poem is revealed, line by line.
Visitors reach the building by walking through the garden, which is a conceived of as an urban sanctuary, a space that mediates between the street and the building, blurring the hard distinctions between public and private. Upon entering the garden, visitors perceive the double height library space that borders the garden, announcing that they are entering into a literary environment. Inside the building, an exhibition gallery connects the library to the poetry reading room where poets read their work to an audience against the backdrop of the garden.
Public functions-the poetry reading room, a gallery, and library-are located on the building’s ground floor, while offices space are located on the second level, organized into three areas corresponding to operations (foundation administration, Poetry magazine/website staff, and programs staff). The building’s internal arrangement is configured to allow for views from all spaces back out onto the garden.
Tectonically, the building is conceived of as a series of layers that visitors move through and between. The layers, of zinc, glass, and wood, peel apart to define the various programmatic zones of the building. The building’s outer layer, a cladding of oxidized zinc, becomes perforated where it borders the garden, allowing visual access to the garden from the street to encourage public investigation. Inside the garden it serves to internalize the garden experience and provide a sense of removal to prepare visitors mentally for the experience inside.
Poetry Foundation, Chicago, USA, by John Ronan Architects
The property is placed on the outskirts of Puerto Banús, in one of the most famous and exclusive developments in the Sun Coast. This development is located on one side of a mountain but very close to the coast, with plenty of Mediterranean vegetation. The plot where the project is located has a notorious slope that goes down to the South from the street access. This fact would determinate the design to adapt the house to the environment and achieve excellent views of the Mediterranean Sea. The possibilities of the plot and the wishes of the property appear in the execution of this huge project. The floor is rectangular and places the most used spaces to the south façade in order to enjoy the views. Here is where the plot is open to the outside. The north façade, where is located the access to the house, is more sober but forceful from an architectonic point of view, with walls and plans crossed and cut. There is a path with geometric forms covered with a layer of water that goes to the main door. The windows are secondary on the aesthetics of the house, but really important to give light to the corridors, distributors or common spaces. All the rooms, both public and private, are located in the rear part of the house, with the porch, the pool, the garden and a tennis court. In this part of the house, orientated to the south, the black glass windows are bigger to connect the outside with the inside, like the big one in the living room that hides in the floor automatically. The greatest part, in architectonic terms, is the big volume over the porch where stays the main bedroom on the first floor. The property is “dressed” with Roman transventilated travertine stone. Inside, the house has wide spaces, all of them modeled by natural light.
The property is developed in three levels:
The low floor is the most public space and includes the living-room, kitchen, dining room, laundry, and a little service room.
The first floor is the most private area and here we can find the bedrooms and a little office. The ground floor is dedicated to a relax area, with a spa, an internal pool, gym and garage. The large central courtyards that articulate the property core give light to this level of the house.
Family House, Marbella, Spain, by A-cero, Joaquin Torres Arquitectos, Photography by Jacobo España, Negami
A weekend desert residence for a family and their dog, the Four Eyes House is an exercise in site-specific experiential programming. Rather than planning the house according to a domestic functional program, the building was designed foremost as an instrument for intensifying a number of onsite phenomenal events.
Four “sleeping towers” are oriented towards four spatiotemporal viewing experiences: morning sunrise to the east, mountain range to the south, evening city lights to the west, and nighttime stars overhead. Each tower contains a compact top-floor bedroom, sized only for the bed, and each with a unique aperture directed towards the view. These bedrooms are equally-sized and unassigned, such that the family’s sleeping locations can be rotated based on each individual’s desired viewing experience. Vertical circulation within the towers is similarly particularized (e.g. ladders, spiral stair, switchback stair, or shallow-riser stair). Ground-floor common spaces form a loose connective field between the discrete tower volumes, and offer a more permeable relationship to the landscape.
The sensations of sleeping and waking are thus inflected by the building’s foregrounding of intensified onsite experiential events. By sleeping in a room elevated off the ground and open to the stars, one might inhabit a deep pocket of silence for a few moments, and perhaps even perceive the movement of the Earth, as it slowly rotates beneath the stars.
Four Eyes House, Coachella Valley, California, by Edward Ogosta Architecture
This contemporary residence is designed to seamlessly open unto the panoramic coastal ridge-top site via expansive operable glazed walls. The glazed transparency is balanced and the home is anchored in place by substantial cut native sandstone walls. The architectural design evolved from our client’s desire for a home that is a tranquil place for living, art and retreat.
The project site is located on a ridge in the foothills of Carpinteria, ten miles down the coast from Santa Barbara. The program asked for a master suite, one guest room, a study for two, a more contained den and an informal open living space they could share with their children and grand children. The site strategy was to separate the guesthouse, pool and pool house from the main house, by locating them amongst the oaks on a lower terrace. The smaller structures were easier to place around the mature oak trees without disturbing their root systems. Each structure has its own orientation and privacy.
How to develop a strategy with dramatic 360-degree views was a challenge for laying out the main house. Placing the main living space and study further away from the edge was determined to be quieter from the distant freeway noise. A courtyard created an inward oriented counterpoint to the distant vistas. A flat roof modernist scheme complemented the couples taste for modern art and furniture. Designers in their own right, they were the driving force in the overall design team. The design was limited to a simple palette of materials and forms. A European window and sliding door system was used to minimize the frames and optimize the glass. These glass walls were framed between large stonewalls constructed of the local Santa Barbara Sandstone, and volumes contained in plaster walls with an integral color (pantry, guest room, master bath and closet, storage area). The flat roofs were supported by steel columns separated from the curtain walls.
The landscape design became a hobby of the owner who studied local native plantings that were both fire resistant and drought tolerant. Some large oak trees were brought in to augment the existing oak grove, further nestle the house into the site, and create a foreground to help frame the spectacular views.
Residing on a plot that once served as a farm road before a small house was built and removed, the design seeks to maintain the site’s historical context by taking on the silhouette of a humble shack. Surrounded by a number of multi-storey buildings, the long and slim site features a small street-facing line. The gable roof structure is completely transparent in the front, serving as a direct interface between the activities of the pharmacy and the immediate site. Simple and proportionate to the original house, the front elevation is extruded back to fully occupy the linear site. the remaining remnants of the old farm road is preserved by setting back the structure to highlight the original sidewalk.
Constructed using a simple steel frame system, the interior is defined by its structural makeup: wooden columns and rafters are left exposed to rhythmically reveal the space in warm tones. In order to delegate the slim layout efficiently, a small loft level serves as a waiting area. the program gains clear separation by being elevated but preserves the interior’s sense of connection between levels.
The work involves renovating and transforming a house in the suburbs into a contemporary residential building. The owner wanted everything to have a fresh perspective, to be rethought and reworked: The architect took charge of the building and worked on it as if it were a sculpture which needs to be controlled from both the inside and the outside until a full appreciation is gained for the relationship the occupants have with the building in question. The architect will work on the house relentlessly, applying his formula of preference: “the right proportions shall have precedence over any form of decoration”. Since, two white walls have appeared on the avenue in the suburbs and two young trees can be seen in front of these walls which will grow and bear witness to the seasons of the year. As you enter the building, and before the family has a chance to extend its hospitality to you, a vast surface of water will arouse your senses.
Les Heures Claires, Belgium, by Atelier d’Architecture Bruno Erpicum & Partners, Photography by Jean-Luc Laloux
Architect Peter Zumthor designed this memorial on an island in Norway to commemorate suspected witches who were burned at the stake there in the seventeenth century. The Steilneset Memorial in Vardø comprises two structures, one conceived entirely by Zumthor and a second housing an installation by the late Louise Bourgeois (1911-2010). The first structure comprises a pine scaffolding framework, inside which is a suspended fabric cocoon containing a long oak-floored corridor. Inside this corridor, light bulbs hang behind 91 windows to represent each of the men and women that were put to death during the witch trials. A plaque accompanies each lamp to record the individual stories of every victim. The installation by Bourgeois, entitled The Damned, The Possessed and The Beloved, occupies the smoked-glass-clad second structure. A circle of mirrors within surround and reflect a flaming steel chair inside a hollow concrete cone.
Steilneset Memorial, Vardø, Norway, by Peter Zumthor and Louise Bourgeois,
Photography by Andrew Meredith, via: dezeen
With distant views of alpine peaks, the hillside site overlooks rolling farmland. The site faces north, directly into the blazing sun of the southern hemisphere. Strict agency requirements limited both the size and form of the home in relation to the slope. The climate is one of extremes with very hot summers and freezing cold winters.
The approach to building on this barren hillside was to merge with the slope, rather than to stick out from it. In response to the climactic extremes, a distinctive roof form protects the home from the sun with generous roof overhangs. Inspired by the form of the hillside, the roof is shaped like an upside down checkmark. A long, thin footprint allows for views of the mountains from every room. Entry is through the side of the house with circulation along the back wall. Upon entering the rooms, the strong horizontals of the roof and deck frame the view.
The massing consists of two volumes, public and private, that are linked by a staircase. The first volume contains the “great room” including the kitchen, living room and indoor/outdoor dining rooms. At the back of the great room, a wood wall conceals the study, bathrooms, refrigerator and ladder access to a sleeping loft. Sliding glass doors open to the pool and exterior lounge area. A retaining wall, constructed of a local stone called Gibbston Valley Schist, runs from the living room to the exterior patio and incorporates an outdoor fireplace and benches. The second volume is the private wing containing the master suite and children’s rooms.
New Zealand Residence, Wanaka, New Zealand, by Marmol Radziner, Photography by Emily Andrews and Marmol Radziner