The municipality of Wemmel, situated on the outskirts of Brussels, is well known for its green areas with their monumental villas of the upper class. After a search of several years, the principal saw a house situated in one of those quarters. It was not his dream house but because of its marvellous location and the south orientated garden, he decided to buy it.
DmvA was commissioned to turn the rather classical house into a contemporary edifice. No sooner said than done, but the fact that also the neighbours had to approve the design to get a building license, as prescribed in the building regulations, had a great impact on the design. So no total ‘methamorphosis’ of the existing house, just small interventions. The façades of the existing house were painted white. The interior was furnished in black and white. The swimming pool was renovated and framed by an illuminating glazed ‘retaining wall. Finally, two sculptural white volumes were added connecting inside and outside, linking house, pool and garden.
House LS, Brussels, Belgium, by dmvA
Photography by Frederik Vercruysse
The residence was designed to take advantage of the site’s striking features, including majestic oak trees and large boulders. The house is divided into two wings. A public wing includes living, dining and kitchen areas and opens up to the main outdoor dining and lounging areas. The second, more intimate wing, contains bedrooms, bathrooms and a library all of which open up to small outdoor courtyards and terraces. The property also includes a lap-pool and an existing guest house.
The building is constructed of exposed steel, glass, concrete and insulated metal panels. The Montecito Residence takes full advantage of the indoor-outdoor living made possible by California Coast’s mild climate. Designed specifically without air-conditioning, the house is cooled exclusively by cross-ventilation. Large operable sectional glass doors, sliding doors and windows can be opened and closed to quickly adjust to the climate conditions and the occupants’ comfort. In addition, the house’s radiant heat system is fed by solar collector panels. Other sustainable features include highly efficient boilers, photovoltaic panels and an Energy-Star rated “cool” roof.
Montecito Residence, Montecito, California, by Barton Myers Associates
Photography by Ciro Coelho
On a marvelous place like a piece of earthly paradise, at Cádiz, we have built an infinite plane facing the infinite sea, the most radical house we have ever made. At the very edge of the waters of the Atlantic Ocean, where the sea unites the new and the old continent, emerges a stone platform. At the place where all the ships from the Mediterranean used to pass and still pass by as they head off into the Atlantic. There we have erected a house as if it were a jetty facing out to sea. A house that is a podium crowned by an upper horizontal plane. On this resoundingly horizontal plane, bare and denuded, we face out to the distant horizon traced by the sea where the sun goes down. A horizontal plane on high built in stone, Roman travertine, as if it were sand, an infinite plane facing the infinite sea. Nothing more and nothing less.
The House of the Infinite, Cádiz, Spain, by Alberto Campo Baeza
Photography by Javier Callejas
Aptly named, Heavy Metal is a steel clad private residence that sits on eight acres of heavily wooded terrain. As an owner of a steel manufacturing facility, the homeowner wanted a residence to reflect his distinctive family business and his personal artistic background, but also become a “forever-home” for him and his family. As an industrial entrepreneur, steel is introduced as an element to add a level of interest and texture from the inside out. The hot-rolled steel on the interior of the home is blackened and maintains a natural “grain”, while outside the exposed custom perforated panels are allowed to rust, bringing out the natural warm reds of the steel’s iron oxide.
Being a single-level dwelling the home is easy to move through. Neutral walls and floors facilitate a gallery-like space that showcases the client’s art collection. Warmth and texture is introduced into the spaces through something natural, elements and furnishings that interact with the user and relate to the home’s exterior context. Heavily textured rugs break up vast expanses of concrete floor while walnut wraps selected vertical and ceiling planes for added richness and warmth. Natural light filters through the exterior perforated panels in the daytime and likewise in the evening the light from the home softly glows through the exterior skin. A careful combination of indirect cove lighting and aggregate task lighting help maintain the calm aesthetic of the residence and further define the spaces in the otherwise open floor plan.
Heavy Metal House, Joplin, Missouri, by Hufft Projects
Bridge House is a multi-generational family home that spans both landscapes and age groups. Sited between a suburban development and a protected wooded area, the Bridge House appears as a single family home from the front. Its rear elevation reveals an internal organization designed to accommodate three generations living together under one roof-or in this case, within three volumes that act as a number of roofs. These three volumes are devices that frame views through the house of the dramatically sloped wooded site.
Each tubular volume contains a carefully organized relationship of private and public areas that correspond to the family’s generational structure. The smaller volume of the ground floor is the private master suite for the grandparents (the clients) who are first-generation Korean-American immigrants to the United States. The larger volume of the ground floor is the collective public area of the multi-generational home, which includes all shared programs, such as the kitchen, family room, dining room and garage. Physicallybridging between these two spaces is a long volume that houses the family’s second and third generations. Two master suites bookend the bar volume: one for their visiting daughter and one for their live-in son and daughter-in-law who reside in the space with the clients’ two grandchildren. The grandchildren live in a “Jack and Jill” suite and have access to the upper-level outdoor space, which is set between the master bedrooms.
Bridge House, McLean, USA, by Höweler and Yoon Architecture
One of our client’s major requirements was for a living space where the presence of the family would always be felt. In response, we devised a single-roomed layout without columns that took advantage of the distinctive features of the existing warehouse. A large kitchen was installed to cater to the needs of the food-loving husband-and-wife couple. We then conceived the entire living space by taking the kitchen as a focal point, with a mix of various other activities and functions unfolding around it. Within this single-roomed space, we also created a box-like structure with a loft bedroom for the children on top of it, and private quarters including a bedroom and bathroom inside it. In order to minimize heat loss within this massive space, a 100mm layer of urethane foam was added to the walls, floors and ceiling, while a combined heat and power device was installed in the living room to heat water and provide floor heating. All openings were designed by making use of existing sash windows and doors, while glass panes were all given a double-glazing treatment to improve insulation.
Family House, Gifu, Japan, by Airhouse Design Office
Photography by Toshiyuki Yano
Located close to Naka’s sacred Todaiji temple, Japanese architect Yoshiaki Yamashita has designed a private residence for a retiring husband and wife. The house is primarily a two-storey dwelling, with spacious open-plan living accommodation positioned at the upper level of the home. above, a roof terrace offers panoramic vistas across Naka. The dwelling’s sleeping quarters are contained on the ground floor, while an exposed concrete basement provides a secluded area for the client to work on his oil paintings. in order to maintain a degree of privacy, a large window-less façade is presented to the passing street, while glazed volumes at the rear of the property allow for unobstructed views.
House Nara-Zaka, Nara, Japan, by Yoshiaki Yamashita
Being in Andalucia, in the south of Spain, the idea was to create a huge garden with big covered outside spaces, giving some shade when needed, where you could live outside day and night, all year long. It’s all about catching that twilight with your friends and family, chilling out with some tapas and great Spanish wines. At the same time we needed to create the necessary privacy towards the neighbouring buildings, so you could live outside without being exposed. The concept therefore is that the whole site is a garden surrounded with a peripheral wall filled with content, that’s the living room, a private garden. Above that living room landscape we set a patio house – a house over a garden.
In the winter time, one covered part of the private garden can be closed with sliding windows and heated.
There are no windows or openings to the outside / public space, the house appears as a white and cubic sculpture, similar to the Moorish patio houses in Andalucia. Only the plants give a sign of the interior life to the outside. Everything is covered in white plaster, creating this endless playful landscape just covered by the deep blue Andalucia sky, it’s there to host people.
Los Limoneros, Marbella, Spain, by Gus Wüstemann Architects
Photography by Bruno Helbling
The family, who occupy a typical 1940s bungalow, asked Andrew Burges to reorganise and extend the property in Sydney’s North Shore to improve both the daylight inside and the connection with the garden. “The conceptual framework of the house has been developed around improving the quality and character of natural light in both the existing interior and as a defining element in the new addition,” said the architects. The pitched roof of the single-storey extension rises from behind the roof of the original house, resulting in a V-shaped gap between the two. This incorporates skylights, ensuring that daylight reaches spaces at the centre of the home. The living, dining and kitchen area located within the extension is illuminated by large windows facing the garden and by two skylights built into the roof that channel light onto the walls.
Materials were chosen to enhance the unusual section of the new structure. The sloping ceiling is painted white, while the walls that extend up towards the skylights are constructed from bricks reclaimed from the demolished rear wall and former bathroom. “The section creates a play between an abstract, white, sculptured ceiling line and bulkhead datum, which washes light on the more robust natural finishes used below the ceiling and bulkhead datum,” explained the architects. Natural materials, including American oak used for the fitted cabinetry, and a concrete floor create tactile surfaces below the ceiling line. A central core containing a bathroom and laundry was inserted between the old and new parts of the house.
Skylights, Sydney, Australia by Andrew Burges Architects
Photography by Peter Bennetts
Positioned on a sloped, wooded site in a rural area of Luxembourg, a private house stands as a glass prism featuring distinct spatial zones. The L-shaped residence offers both privacy and seclusion, as well as panoramic views of the surrounding landscape. Opaque cladding envelops the dwelling on the south and east sides, protecting the property from the passing street and neighbouring buildings, and anchoring the structure to the plot. An interstitial space containing a series of terraces bridges internal and external space, subsequently creating a dialogue between the primary elevation and the glazed structure. The principal circulation route connects the stair hall and divides the house into two parts: a solid zone marked by a rhythm of structural piers, and a voided zone to the north, accentuated by a lighter steel structural system. Housing technical amenities and parking facilities, the lower level of the property opens to a sloped yard with a sauna, fitness area, and direct access to the garden above. The primary public spaces are located at the ground level, with an open kitchen, guest suite, and children’s playrooms located along the south side, and the living and dining volumes to the north. The bedrooms and master suite are placed along the south side of the upper floor, shielded from excessive sunlight by a system of glass louvers. Opposite these rooms a study, library, and lounge overlook the double-height living room below.
Luxembourg House, Luxembourg, by Richard Meier & Partners
Photography by Rolande Halbe