Among the pines trees, a stone plateau is drawn to a scale that can no longer be understood as a courtyard. The space embraces a wide area of trees. The house and its services define a recognizable solid border. The interior of this boundary is inhabitable and characterized by light. The more open side of the house creates a water tank through the connection of geometries. A space that embraces its context is created through this closed extension.
House in Alentejo Coast, by Aires Mateus
From the beginning, the thinking behind the Life House was an uncompromisingly modern design where it would be possible to inhabit a different sort of architectural space. Experiments with massing and orientation have produced a composition that is bedded into the fall of the land. The proliferation of blackened gorse in the surrounding heathland is reflected in the dark exterior brickwork, whilst the rough moor grass provides a reference for the lighter bricks used inside.
The house’s programme is arranged as a series of self-contained folds, opening off two corridors. Meeting at a right angle, these passageways generate extended internal vistas and a plan designed to allow groups living in proximity to spend time together and apart, in a spatial arrangement that shares certain characteristics with the monastic cloister. The corridors — one light, one dark — represent more than just the means to get between the different parts of the house, they are key architectural experiences, each charged with its own distinctive character.
In the spirit of creating a contemporary Walden, communal and private quarters are shaped by the idea of supporting and enriching specific rituals and activities. Across the Life House this translates into optimised inventories of equipment and functional conditions, but also into a series of finely calibrated atmospheres.
Life House, Llanbister, Mid Wales, by John Pawson
Photography by Gilbert McCarragher
A set of living spaces is held in a dramatic concrete box that floats over the site. Connected to a garden on the street side, the building sits above the pool level on the beach side.
Beachyhead, by SAOTA – Stefan Antoni Olmesdahl Truen Architects
Located in a beautiful valley in the south of the Maresme Mountains, this home was designed to capture the magnificent views of the coastal mountain range with pine and holm oak forests. The clients, a Scandinavian family, wanted to create a dream holiday home with accommodations for their kids and guests: a unique, warm and comfortable contemporary space that would host an inviting and harmonious atmosphere. The home was planned as two different volumes connected by a large terrace with a swimming pool and the front garden. The secondary volume consists of the garage and the guesthouse. The primary one is an elongated two-storey volume containing the main house that faces the terrace.
The main house captures the owners desire for luxury and transparency to enjoy the views. On both floors, a large corridor along the main façade connects the spaces and allows an elongated view through the whole house. Natural light is pulled into the plan via large windows and a central patio.
The street level is comprised of the living room with an integrated dining area and the kitchen, both separated by a central entrance hall with the staircase. The upper level is composed of three children bedrooms with a play room and the master bedroom at the opposite side. A beautifully complementary rich material palette of taupe colored concrete floors, tobacco-colored wood paneling and cabinetry, sandstone walls and elegant furnishings create a contemporary, sophisticated and warm environment. Color is introduced subtly through brass elements, as part of the custom-made furniture and décor, rich fabrics and the landscape views.
The spacious sun-drenched living room is formed by different settings that encourage get-togethers. A tobacco wood custom-made wall unit with integrated black steel fireplace, TV and sound system dominates the space. The living area displays a cozy arrangement of light colored sofas and chaise longues, paired with black marble coffee tables, armchairs and ottomans over a beige silk rug. In the adjacent dining area, under a set of magnificent brass suspended lamps, a dark lacquered table is flanked by brass legged chairs. Grey natural sandstone wall claddings, adjustable wood slats and natural silk taupe curtains complete the living room, which connects with the inner patio decorated by an olive tree.
In the kitchen, a central unit with two side sliding doors, separates the kitchen from the rear located kitchen auxiliary areas. A large central island contains a cooktop and serves as an informal dining space. The bespoke kitchen is finished in a dark coffee lacquer finished with a Neolith worktop and backsplash in the same color.
The master suite contains a dark coffee lacquered custom-made bed with leather headboard, brass side lamps and a silk rug that become the room’s major element. On the opposite side is a grey sandstone paneled wall unit with a brass covered opening and wood drawers, which hides the tv and storage space. A large wood sliding door separates the sleeping area from the bath and closet. The central standing washbasin with mirror and two black tinted glass side doors give access to the more private areas.
Vallès Oriental Residence, by YLAB Arquitectos
This new house was designed to accommodate a couple of soon to be empty nesters. Built on an irregular block the ground floor of the house was conceived as 3 distinct zones punctured by 2 glazed interstitial areas. This allowed the linear arrangement of the house to be perceived as contained and expanded. The entry to the house enters directly into the first of these interstitial areas which contains the staircase and views beyond, allowing the modest proportions of the size (varying between 8-12m) to be maximized. The second interstitial area is occupied by the kitchen island executed as a simple black box containing some of the kitchen facilities. The other cooking and cleaning facilities as well as a walk in pantry are located adjacent to the island concealed from view. The first floor master bedroom is conceived as a hotel suite. Entered via a dressing area that overlooks the entry void via plantation shutters, the open rooms contains the sleeping and ensuite facilities within a single space. The WC and shower are housed within a curved module rendered in the same cement render as the exterior of the building. The curved wall of the shower animates the stark façade of the building, which, depending on the lighting levels and time of day emerges and submerges from view from the street. The limited palate of natural materials, namely cement render and unfilled travertine are used throughout the house both internally and externally. Over time the contrasting effects of external wear and internal protection will allow the inherent nature of these materials to become more pronounced adding another layer of interest and subtle contrast.
LSD Residence, Toorak, Victoria, Australia, by Davidov Partners
Photography by Andrew Wuttke, Robert Davidov
The renowned photographer Peter Krasilnikoff commissioned architecture practice Studio David Thulstrup for his private residence and studio in the Islands Brygge harbour-side district of Copenhagen. The guiding inspiration for the project evolved from worn-out warehouses and factories with their blackened steel and old bricks; a concept direction which was sparked by the desire to retain the three raw-brick walls of the original garage building on the site. Retaining the brick walls which sit to the boundary of the narrow site, revealed the challenge of permitting light into the new building structure. The task was solved by a simple gesture with a slight twist. A glass-walled atrium was dropped down through the center of the building volume and floods all three floors of the residence with natural light. The atrium contains expanses of dark mirror paneling creating the appearance of a far larger internal space and enhanced lighting effect. Specially selected greenery has been planted in a manner of a natural Scandinavian woodland. The atrium is the central green heart of the house.
Peter’s House, Denmark, by Studio David Thulstrup
Photography by Peter Krasilnikoff
Japan is getting its first museum dedicated to miniature architecture models. On June 18, 2016, Archi-Depot will open on Tennozu Isle in Tokyo’s Shinagawa district. Boasting a 450 sq m (4840 sq ft) space with 5.2 m (17 ft) ceilings, Archi-Depot will be lined with over 100 shelves all dedicated to the permanent display of architecture models. According to Fashionsnap, the organization has already secured models made by architectural luminaries like Kengo Kuma, Jun Aoki and Shigeru Ban, as well as a younger generation of architects like Wonderwall and Torafu. And they’ll continue to add to their collection.
Each model will be accompanied by a QR code that you can scan with your smartphone to bring up more information like photos of the completed work. The space itself is operated by Terada Warehouse, a company that specializes in the storage of valuables like art and wine. Tennozu Isle, where Archi-Depot is located, was previously an industrial hub for airlines and freight companies because of its proximity to the water and Haneda Airport. But the area has undergone significant redevelopment in recent years in an attempt to rebrand itself as an isle with “art & heart.”
This single family home is located on a steep West Vancouver slope with expansive views to the water of the Georgia Strait in the southwest and the city of Vancouver in the southeast. A series of basic transformations to a simple form embeds a rich and diverse experiential sequence focusing on privacy, light and livability. A raised portion of the main roof over the living spaces expands exposure to sunlight and southern views while incorporating north-facing automated clerestory windows for ventilation. This “lifted” roof is manipulated internally to drop into the box form, respond to structural spanning, and create angled planes that bounce light into the core of the house. A bend in the south-facing volume provides privacy from neighboring properties and differentiates the south-easterly view to the City of Vancouver and Lion’s Gate Bridge from west-facing views towards the Georgia Strait and Gulf Islands. Floors extending south create outdoor terraces that screen further development down the slope. The extension of the east and west side walls and substantial roof overhangs offer additional privacy, while mitigating solar gains. Two north-facing courtyards offer respite from
the sunny south terraces while improving ventilation and natural light.
Fairmile, West Vancouver, Canada, by BattersbyHowat Architects
Photography by Tom Arban Photography
Located in the heart of Dublin, Ireland, the Flynn Mews House seamlessly integrates into and celebrates its historic urban fabric. Sharing ground with an 1847 coach house, the design for this residence highlights and reframes the site through an unabashedly contemporary gesture that honors history while adding to it a distinctly new architectural strain.
This home engages with the historic core of Dublin in a uniquely intimate way. With its main entrance by way of a small mews, or alley, the site’s historic coach house façade was restored and incorporated into the new structure so that unobstructed views from the original manor remain unspoiled.
The house comprises two volumes that flank an interior sunken courtyard, creating a dynamic sequencing of exterior and interior spaces that is atypical in urban Dublin.This staggering of two masses best resolves the challenge of highlighting the preserved wall. Overlooking the interstitial courtyard, the historic façade is reflected across the contemporary glazed forms that surround it. A contemporary glass bridge is suspended across the central void.
As part of the Dublin Green Building Pilot Program, the house utilizes sustainable measures achieved through a holistic design approach: recycled and high performance materials, solar panels for domestic water heating, and radiant floors heated by an underground pump system that incorporates gray water. The Flynn Mews House was completed with an Irish firm, ODOS, providing services as executive architect during its construction documents and administration phases.
Flynn Mews House, Dublin, Ireland, by Lorcan O’ Herlihy Architects
Photography by Enda Cavanagh, Alice Clancy