The owners of this new residence, a married couple, lost their previous home in a forest fire near Boulder three years ago. After considering the options, they decided to head back into the burn zone, purchasing a steep site located in an area burned in the same fire. While the site sits at an elevation of 7500 feet it is just seven miles from downtown Boulder. The 2200-square-foot house, a simple bar shifted at the point of entry between the garage and main house and skewed at both ends to capture views, hovers above the stark slope of the hillside below. Views are framed under and through the house, at times seeming to bring the distant mountains inside. There are two slotted openings on the north side placed strategically to wash light onto the floor of the main living space and the wall of the master bedroom. A skylight fills the entire hallway to the bedrooms to create a light-filled transition from the living room. The south side of the house is almost completely glazed, allowing the abundant winter sun to passively heat the radiant concrete mass floor. Heat is provided by a geothermal heat pump, while an 8KW PV array offsets the electrical use to bring the house close to net zero energy performance.
Sunshine Canyon Residence, Boulder, Colorado, by THA Architecture
Photography by Jeremy Bittermann
Lomocubes is a new innovative and sophisticated residential project by MPA Architetti, located in Lugano and commissioned by the entrepreneur Alessandro Lo Monaco. Lomocubes is a luxurious and high profile condominium that overlooks the Lugano lakeshores. It is a groundbreaking architectural project that marks a new frontier in residential building construction. Finished in July 2013, Lomocubes synthesizes the best relationship between interior and exterior spaces, giving from the living room of each unit a wonderful view on the lake. A texture-in-motion built with a rigorous and wise use of materials leads to a seductive aesthetic result established on the succession between full and empty spaces, transparency and opacity.
Lomocubes, Lugano, Switzerand, by MPA Architetti
This project is conceived as a domestic landscape that blurs the boundary between interior and exterior space in a temperate coastal rainforest climate. It is essentially a ranch house typology with a guest house stacked upon it – for an physically active empty nest couple who enjoy the idea of welcoming family home for the holidays. The domestic program is spread across the entire site, and the vertical circulation is deliberately understated.
The programmatic organization allows the primary residents to live entirely on the ground floor. The japanese-inspired courtyard ‘moss garden’ operates as a multi-faceted architectural device – it provides circulation along the primary project axis from the main entry through to the backyard pool and workout pavilion; it provides a visual extension of the living room into the garden; and the sliding glass doors in the kitchen (conceived as a glass box in the garden) open directly into the courtyard and the outdoor dining space beyond. The central living space is bracketed on the south side by a large concrete fireplace which provides privacy from the street, and it extends visually into the mossy minimalist courtyard to the north. The orientation, form, and positioning of the upper volume was designed to protect against direct solar gain during the summer months, while allowing light at lower sun angles to penetrate into the spaces during the winter months.
Ocean Park House,Vancouver, Canada, by Campos Leckie Studio
Photography by Ema Peter
This unconventional design by Pitsou Kedem blurs the borders between private space and outdoor space. In a new building, in the old north of Tel Aviv, a unique penthouse covering an entire floor of some 600 square meters, is open and transparent in four directions. The entire penthouse is wrapped with a screen of clear walls. The internal spaces, floating within the building’s shell, are fully exposed to the city. Passages and movement, or corridors in conventional design language, to the rooms and then, on to the apartment’s spaces are next to the structure’s outer shell. No rooms connect with this outer shell and no rooms block or shut off the view over the city. The levels of transparency and exposure are regulated using various methods of shading. Thus long and continuous lines of sight are preserved from one of the apartment to the other.
Along the entire frontage, some 25 meters, there are transparent, teak framed, sliding doors which allow for the opening and closing of the various internal spaces, such as bedrooms and bathrooms, to the external shell. Thus the city merges into the apartment, the climate is regulated and the residents can enjoy the sky line and changing lights at any given time. The apartment’s style corresponds with international styling whilst retaining classical influences in the spirit of the period. Such as, for example, the style of French architect Jean Prouvé whose work was unembellished, placing the emphasis on practicality. The materials used in the apartment’s construction are, for the most part, shown in their raw state. The floor is poured terrazzo and an exposed concrete wall in the living room is offset with a metal bookcase. The pool is completely covered with dark stone so that the city can be reflected in its entirety in the water. Along the balcony we find planters with Frangipani trees that reflect and continue the characteristic flora of many Tel Aviv gardens. The apartment’s residents have an impressive collection of art. This played a significant role in the design of the spaces, each of which relates to the specific piece displayed in it. And the responsibility for bringing a smile to the design has been given the yellow hue that has been used in the main door, the closet and additional touches of yellow scattered around the apartment.
Open and Transparent to the City, Tel Aviv, Israel, by Pitsou Kedem Architects
Photography by Amit Geron
“Disconnecting”; a wall cuts the home off from the world outside: the French coast distorted by common town planning. On the other side, the sea. Nature stirs. Wind bends tree trunks. The roof bows before a bustling environment. Bedrooms transform into terrace: a concrete passageway leading outside. A moment to breathe; punctuation in sentences. A tile-covered ceiling salutes the spirit of Provençal homes. Below, only wood and concrete form the building. Beyond any codes, the natural, raw materials stand eternal. Concrete has a soul; it has something to say. The bedrooms sit alongside undergrowth. Two intimate, comfortable places facing each other. On one side, trees provide shady spots, on the other, a mass of concrete offers protection and a cool haven.
ALON House, France, by Atelier d’Architecture Bruno Erpicum & Partners
Photography by Jean-Luc Laloux
G12 House, Überlingen, Germany, by (se)arch Freie Architekten BDA
Photography by Zooey Braun
The owners of this house are a family of five with kids ranging from elementary school to middle school. They had hired Klopf Architecture about 10 years ago to design an addition to their ranch home, but had dreamed of living in a modern home even back then. When they eventually found the right home, an Eichler in Burlingame that had recently been used as a group home for up to 12 people at a time, they knew from the start they wanted an open, light-filled, clean, bright (and of course updated) home. The owners shared much of the same tastes with us, so the design was a very smooth collaboration. The family had been collecting mid-century modern furniture, and once they were moved into this house rounded out their collection to furnish the whole house.
Project goals were to allow for more connection than even the original house had, as well as increase the functionality of utility spaces and improve the kitchen / family room so that a family of five could live together happily in these spaces. There were removed half the wall between the kitchen / family area and dining room, and also replaced half the solid wall of the dining room with a large, fixed window to the back yard – this gives a direct view to the rear yard from the computer desk area, as well as allows much more circulation into and out of the kitchen / family room area. We also reconfigured a hallway closet, laundry closet, and 2-room bathroom into a full bath, a half bath, a laundry room, and a linen closet. We widened the space in the kitchen and set up a huge, single plane island for projects, feeding the kids, entertaining, and work space.
Double Gable Eichler Remodel, Burlingame, California, by Klopf Architecture
Photography by Mariko Reed
At the bauhaus art school in Dessau, two original buildings designed by Walter Gropius have been restored and reinterpreted by German practice BFM Architekten. The project, which reopened its doors on may 16th, 2014, generated a great deal of debate regarding alternative approaches to the memorial site. Potential options included the complete reconstruction of of the homes, in line with the principles of monument protection; the aesthetic reconstruction of the outer shells in the interests of tourism; and the conservation of the structures as historic records of destruction.
The final decision was to integrate both reconstruction and conservation, safeguarding the legacy of the building with an updated and reconfigured design. The completed structures stand as stacked compositions of concrete, influenced by their former structural shape. Externally as well as internally, many of the design’s intricate details have been excluded, simplifying the existing volumes.
Bauhaus Masterhouses, Dessau, by Walter Gropius
Photography by Sebastian Gündel and Christoph Rokitta
Casa Spodsbjerg is a family summer home on a rocky beach in Denmark. Completed in 2010 by Arkitema Architects, this house is designed to take advantage of the views and characteristics of its site. The structure is composed of two staggered volumes on a concrete foundation. One volume houses the living rooms while the other holds the bedrooms and bathrooms. The living room utilizes floor to ceiling windows to achieve an unbroken view of the sea and beach. The bedrooms are on the second story and are more shielded, allowing for a quiet and peaceful place to rest. Casa Spodsbjerg uses a limited number of materials in its design. Concrete is used for the base and internal forms, the floors are a light hardwood, and the ceilings covered with a warm, slatted wood.
Casa Spodsbjerg, Denmark, by Arkitema Architects
This three-bedroom vacation home on Big Sur’s spectacular south coast is anchored in the natural beauty and power of the California landscape. The site, which features a 250-foot drop to the Pacific Ocean along the bluff and toward the west, offers dramatic views. Yet it demands a more complex form than a giant picture window. The long, thin volume of the house conforms to the natural contours of the land and the geometries of the bluff, deforming its shape and structure in response, much like the banana slug native to the region’s seaside forests. In this way, the complex structural system applies natural forms to accommodate the siting. The main bearing system of the house is set back twelve feet from the bluff, both to protect the cliff’s delicate ecosystem and to ensure the structure’s integrity and safety. The house itself is cantilevered over the bluff. The interior is a shelter, an elegant refuge in contrast with the roughness and immense scale of the ocean and cliff.
The main body of the house is composed of two rectangular boxes connected by an all-glass library/den. A one-story concrete wing perpendicular to the main volume holds the ground-floor bedrooms and features a green roof; it is the boulder that locks the house to the land. The lower of the two main volumes, a double-cantilevered master bedroom suite, acts as a promontory above the ocean, offering breathtaking views from its floor-to-ceiling windows. The upper volume is an open-plan space-kitchen, living room, and dining room-with a swooping ceiling, all clad in wood, that follows the shape of the land.
The house’s two main facades express both shelter and exposure. On the north, clear expanses of glass reveal ocean and coastline views; long strips of translucent channel glass dapple the light, playing on the sea’s shimmering surface. The south facade, clad in copper, which wraps over the roof, is mostly enclosed, offering a retreat from the forces of nature. Roof overhangs on the east and west protect the windows and the front door from the harshness of sun and wind.
Fall House, California, by Fougeron Architecture
Photography by Joe Fletcher