The house for a family with two children is situated on a former hillside vineyard that had remained undeveloped. On the northern slope of the hill adjoining a non-developable zone, the house is surrounded by large old trees. In order to be able to even use the site it was necessary to terrace the immediate surroundings, and the house was developed along the lines of the formed topography.
In the process, the four terraces themselves function as exterior spaces, each corresponding to a specific interior space. The unusual topography is also mirrored in the construction of the building. The connection to the terrain is a stepped, largely subterranean basement storey made of internally insulated exposed concrete, above which is a prefabricated wooden construction with a ventilated Eternit façade. The large-format plates are a prototype with a textile-like embossing, producing a raw and haptic appearance.
Inside, a stairway core constitutes the centre of a spatial sequence that unfolds over three storeys. At the entrance level are the children’s rooms, with the cellar rooms at the back. The floor above is set back, creating differentiated spatial heights for the different areas of the house. The doorways on the intermediate level with the living rooms and the parent’s bedroom allow a free circular movement. Due to building regulations, the roof above the living room slopes parallel with the terrain, and runs directly over into the flat roof of the studio and the guest room in the upper storey. A roof light running the entire width of the building creates a studio-like character at the top, simultaneously lighting the high living room.
Located in Yarralumla, Canberra, the clients purchased the adjoining property to their existing contemporary residence to accommodate a tennis court, indoor swimming pool and guest accommodation. A new simple, single level off-form concrete structure houses the heated pool, shower facilities, a kitchenette and a sitting area with a fireplace. Sliding glass doors open to the east and west from the indoor pool and the sitting room, with timber screens providing sun control to the west. Three large circular skylights are located above the pool. A lightweight steel structure accommodates guest accommodation within an upper level. A palette of Off-form concrete, grey stained timber and Travertine stone floors are used throughout. The new pavilion sits comfortably in scale and style with the existing residence, and forms a strong architectural background to the tennis court from the main house.
Yarralumla Residence, Canberra, Australia by Katon Redgen Mathieson
Recycling a single story suburban house located on a busy corner site, Jigsaw introverts itself in a continous spatial flow around an open air courtyard carved from the home’s remains. Fundamental to the conception of the house is the notion of reflectivity, rendering unclear the boundaries between inside and outsite. Light and space are modulated by meshing ribbons of wall and glass that form a tessellation of solid and void. The conditioning of these internal and external walls is identical. Planes of stucco exterior walls transform into plaster interior walls while passing through glass. Clerestory glazing and window constructs are carefully sited to afford privacy to the occupants while framing and extending views through the site.
Portuguese practice FVArquitectos has completed ‘house in banzão II’, a single family residence located in pinhal do banzão, colares, portugal. this low profile dwelling is situated amid and framed by a grove of mature trees. The striking plaster facade produces a crisply defined volume contrasting the abundant textured foliage of the pine needles. Bold recessed openings are accented with sturdy single hinged timber shutters which may be swung shut to completely enclose the home. An open slat pergola which extends from the facade encourages guests to turn the corner and discover the main entrance. The main living space introduces the rustic materials into the interior with horizontal wooden shades which slide along a concealed vertical track. an enclosed open air courtyard provides opportunities for ventilation into the innermost rooms. Positioned within a corner is an understated outdoor pool is recessed into a terrace composed from parallel planks.
The cabin is five hundred square feet and is a private writers retreat and guest cottage. Located on San Juan Island, Washington, the owners wanted the cabin to feel contacted to its setting, the climate, the wildlife and views. They also needed a structure that could be easily secured when not in use.
The cabin was designed as a glass house surrounded by three wooden slat decks that can be raised by a hydraulic system of wires, rope, pivoting sheaves and lead blocks, that serves as shutters. When open, the shutter decks are outdoor living spaces; when closed they secure the cabin. The fireplace rotates 180 degrees to be enjoyed indoors or out. An inverted roof with deep overhangs forces water to drain to the rear of the cabin.
The cabin is a single room with a small kitchenette and a bathroom. Finishes are restrained, punctuated only by a blackened steel inlay that bisects the floor from the fireplace to the slot window at the rear of the cabin.
The Skylight House inverts a traditional Victorian terrace house. The living rooms are relocated to the top floor where there is better access to views and sunlight, and the secondary bedrooms are placed on the ground floor. The design is imagined as two fluid horizontal planes that have been inserted within the traditional envelope; one folding to form a ground plane that mediates the natural ground levels along the site; and a second along the ceiling line which fragments and undulates to permit sunlight into the length of the building. The ground plane has been cut around a central courtyard containing an endemic Banksia Integrifolia which, along with the sculptural southern facing skylight, brings light into the living, kitchen and dining spaces. These two planes act as spatial dividers as well as create a light filled, open fluid space unfamiliar in a traditional terrace house.
The Skylight House, Sydney, Australia, by Chenchow Little, Photography by John Gollings & Katherine Lu
54 years ago she visited Orcas Island for the first time and decided that one day she would live there. 40 years passed before she saw it again and purchased a forested piece of land on a hillside populated with madrone trees, firs, beech, thistle, moss and rocks with magnificent views to the west of the San Juan and Canadian Gulf islands. Throughout her life rocks, nature and landscape played an important role in her artwork. It was this attraction that convinced her that this was the perfect site. She requested an open, simple, low maintenance design which works with the site in such a way that her views of the island, forest and ledges were always present within the house. The program consists of a combined kitchen-dining-living area, study, master suite, art studio and storage area. The solution utilizes some of her favorite materials; old barn wood, rusty steel, moss and rocks. Large doors slide away to open the house to the expansive views, creating a living room in the woods. The entry garden bisects the house creating two zones while it carries the site and the eye out to the view. The 800 s.f. art studio and storage area are left raw to facilitate converting them to additional bedrooms at a later date.
Eagle Ridge Residence, by Gary Gladwish Architecture, Photography by Will Austin
The property was 90% covered by Aukerlands native Pohutukawa trees, which created a challenge for Herbst, a New Zealand based architecture firm founded in 2000 by Lance and Nicola Herbst. “In order for the home to exist it would require the destruction of a large number of mature trees. To do this we looked to the trees themselves to give us the cues that we needed,” the two architects explained.
“We separated the brief loosely into private and “public” components, giving us smaller individual masses with which to articulate the forms. The private functions of bedrooms and garage are housed in two towers which are construed as freshly sawn stumps of the trees that were removed. To allude to the bark of the stumps the skins of the towers are clad in black/brown stained rough sawn irregular battens. The interior spaces are then seen as carved out of the freshly cut wood, achieved by detailing all the wall / ceiling and cabinetry elements in the same light timber.”
After working around the tree issue, Herbst put their minds together to design the interiors. Warm woods were used on the walls and furniture with a complementary color scheme of oranges, tans, and browns to keep the interiors cohesive with the exterior architecture. The living room became the featured space of the home, with its large ceilings, fireplace, welcoming furniture, and unique lighting; Herbst created a comfortable and contemporary place for story telling and hosting. Part of the living room opens up to the forest, letting natural light and ventilation to breathe into the space. The living room and other piblic spaces are the main areas that link the private spaces of the home. A walkway links the towers at the upper level allowing engagement with both the natural and man made canopies. The Pohutukawa home is designed to be the perfect get away, secluded, a chance to re-connect with nature.
Due to the reduced size of the site, residual and crossing spaces were practically left out (for example, there is no entrance hall, in behalf of a visual permeability with the entrance garden, achieved through large pivotal doors in the facade).
The floor plan is rectangular and compact, stretching till the site’s sidelines. The rooms are illuminated by large doors front and back facades and also by matted glass locking (u-glass that acts as a good thermal insulation due to the existence of an air layer between the glass sheets) between the lagged cover labs. A glass cover over a concrete pergola complements the illumination through an indoor garden. Therefore, the house is flooded by zenithal and indirect natural light that besides avoiding artificial lighting during the day, also avoids excessive heat from direct sunlight. The prevailing wind comes from the street, thus the entering doors work as regulators of wind speed. Totally opened in the summer, praise cross ventilation, or closed in the winter, or even semi opened if little ventilation is desired.
The residence was established in the street level, one meter above natural ground, in order to avoid unevenness and improve accessibility of the social areas. And, it also let the house more protected from the soil moisture. It is important to remind that one of the reasons for the implantation of compact field, reducing its footprint, was to increase the permeability of the ground, something really needed in our cities.
Solar collectors (that meet the house and the pool) occupy the most of the cover slab which prevented the use of this area initially contemplated. Due to the large spans desired, supported by few points of foundation, and also to the large porch swing, the upper walls are concrete beams built by ripped forms of wood left apparent. Its aesthetics comes from a structural option, hence follows that it is not decorative. This structural gymnastics was important, as the support pillars on the porch would be contrary to the intention of integration between interior/exterior desired. The result was a lightweighted residence (despite its aesthetics of exposed concrete), lighted and ventiladed, with pleasant and proportional spaces that puts into to practice the initial desire to the best possible use of external area.