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Narrabeen House by Choi Ropiha Fighera

To look at it, the Narrabeen House might not seem like your typical home in the suburbs, but in the way it operates, this house is completely suburban. This home is a retreat from the city.

A series of threshold devices increasingly separate the visitor from the street, to the extent that in the main living spaces there is no sense of neighbors, of the suburb, or of the city beyond.

Extending on conventional courtyard house typologies, the design utilizes an interlocking of interior and exterior spaces. It is through the central courtyard that the house is accessed, the courtyard also acts as the main organising element, around which the family living spaces are arranged. These spaces are private and interior, though thanks to the courtyard, they are also exposed to the outdoors. The architecture plays with the tension between these elements, the outdoor ‘rooms’ giving internal and external living spaces. This interior arrangement also plays against the strong directionality suggested by the site; at the rear of the house is a southward vista, looking over the Narrabeen Lagoon.

The design also makes use of varying heights above the adjacent water. As the house is built on a flood plain, the structure is by necessity raised from the ground. This includes not just the house, but the courtyard itself. In relation to the raised courtyard, the swimming pool is below, built at ground level. And upon entering the house’s inner space the visitor realizes that there is a second storey that cannot be seen from the street, and from which they can find views of the surrounding landscape.

The design finish throughout draws on the simple elegance of blackened and medium-stained timbers. The restrained palette, with the house’s simple volumes, creates a calming atmosphere, reinforcing the idea of a withdrawal from the city.

Narrabeen House, North Narrabeen, NSW by Choi Ropiha Fighera, Photography by Simon Whitbread

Hotel Lone by 3LHD Architects

The 248-room property is located in the picturesque Mediterranean town of Rovinj, in the exclusive Monte Mulini neighborhood. Built to resemble a sleek white ocean liner floating on the hillside, the hotel offers a wide range of places to wine and dine including three restaurants, three bars and a night club. It also features a Mediterranean-inspired wellness center, a 600-seat auditorium and nine other meeting and conference spaces with state-of-the-art technology. Hotel Lone’s design focus, together with first-rate event and leisure facilities, create the perfect symbiosis of work and play.

The project is led by Croatian architect Silvije Novak of 3LHD and inspired by the typology of 1970s Croatian hotels. “The Croatian coast has several architecturally-impressive hotels from forty years ago, and their appearance is still modern today,” says Novak. “Many of them are terraced hotels with large lobbies, and this is exactly how we have organized the space of Hotel Lone.” A “Y”-shaped structure is created along the coast to give all rooms spectacular sea or park views, and a dramatic hotel lobby opens up towards the sky with an atrium spanning six levels. Respect for the environment is shown in the interior design, with integration of the natural surroundings into many of the hotel’s public and private spaces through large glass walls and mirrors.

Hotel Lone, Rovinj, Croatia by 3LHD Architects, via: contemporist

Struder House by bauzeit architekten

Situated on a gentle slope of the southern edge of Lake Biel, the new building has been designed on the old “romantic-style” garden in a nineteenth century villa. The remaining parts of it, an old Grota, a pond and trees have been retained and integrated into the stage of the new project. The project is organized on three levels, each floor with a distinct spacial character suitable for the specific program areas.

On the first floor, the lounge and kitchen are arranged in direct contact with the outside; full transparency and direct line with the slope is guaranteed by the large glazed openings. To the east, a small forest and a pond created from a natural Surgient, enclose the building; to the west, the view opens to the garden with its lush planting trees and the lake bottom.

On the upper level a large area is modulated by two sculptural volumes that constitute the two bathrooms. Thanks to a curtain system the space is flexible with a place to sleep and two areas designated for work and meditation. If the lower level is characterized by the use of exposed concrete and a high transparency, the upper level is fully made of wood (ceiling, floor and walls) and suggests more privacy and intimacy in relationship to the outside. The pervasive environment is “filtered” through the lattice of wood, while protecting the unwanted attention from the outside.

Struder House, Sutz, Switzerland, by bauzeit architekten, via: archdaily

Cafe Pavilion by Martenson and Nagel Theissen Architecture

The town cemetery in the Eastern part of Düren has taken on the role of a public park. Before, there was nowhere for cemetery visitors to shelter nor for large or small funeral ceremonies to take place. The new cemetery and café pavilion is a space where people can encounter each other when things are out of the ordinary. They can grieve together, exchange memories and look for refuge, which they will find under a multifaceted ceiling landscape.

The architecture of the pavilion unfolds out of a neutral, nondescript, square ground plan. Three closed volumes have been inserted to accommodate the service facilities of the pavilion; they structure the space and divide the ground plan into three areas, without blocking them off from one another. Each of the three areas, which all receive visitors, is characterized by archetypical roof shapes and varying room heights, combining to form one large space. The barrel vault, the mono-pitch roof and the tented roof of the visitor areas together form a manifold, continuous ceiling landscape, which offers refuge and connects the visitor areas to form a flowing unified space; it also provides richly diverse views into the surrounding park. The landscape profile created by these roof shapes can be read on the façade; it connects the individual exterior elevations of the building with one another.

Cafe Pavilion, Düren, Germany, by Martenson and Nagel Theissen Architecture
Photography by Brigida González, via: archdaily

Santa Isabel House by Ricardo Bak Gordon

Perhaps what’s most important in this project is the desire to refer to the city that exists within the city, the places inside the city, whose matrix anchored in street, square and block it originated. There are many such places in Lisbon, more or less old, deeper or more open to the sky, but always very impenetrable. This other city, so often abandoned and unhealthy, can be recovered, giving way to another network of places, like overlapping meshes that can constitute a regeneration of the urban fabric.

All this concerns the project for two houses built in the midst of a block in Santa Isabel, a site with an area of about 1000 square meters previously occupied by semi-industrial sheds and with access via a small store open to the street. The programe mandated the construction of two houses, a bigger one for the family’s daily life and another two-bedroom one to be rented. All of this was to be built in the area of about 400 square meters for which construction was authorized, replacing the existing sheds. The site was notable in that the empty space stood out with respect to the built, and for the vertical surroundings embodied in the façades of the neighbouring buildings, which would suggest a very horizontal building, in contrast.

Santa Isabel House, Lisbon, Portugal, by Ricardo Bak Gordon, Photography by FG+SG – Fernando Guerra, Sergio Guerra, via: archdaily

Villa Mayavee by Tierra Design

Located on a dramatic site, which starts high on a natural ridge and slopes toward to ocean. The house has been conceived of as a relaxing retreat for its owners with an emphasis on entertaining guests.

Villa Mayavee by Tierra Design, Photography by Chonnasit Sundaranu, via: Contemporist

Nakahouse by X Ten

Los Angeles based architecture firm X Ten recently completed their remodel of the Nakahouse, a 1960′s hillside home. The home sits tightly in the Hollywood hills where it looks out onto breathtaking views of the city below. The team at X Ten explained that “the existing home was built as a series of interconnected terraced spaces on the down slope property.” Because of zoning and geographical constraints X Ten built off of the existing footprint.

The exterior walls are smooth black plaster, designed to render the building as a singular sculptural object set within the lush natural setting. A series of abstract indoor-outdoor spaces with framed views to nature are rendered in white surfaces of various materials and finishes; lacquered cabinetry, matte white quartz, epoxy resin floors and decks.

Nakahouse, Hollywood Hills, California, by X Ten, Photography By Steve King, via: knstrct

House on the Road to Farellones by dRN

The design proceeds from the particularities of the topography, its slope, its vegetation, its views and the requirements of the client. All these conditions allowed a new definition of the program for a single-family house and to turn it into a single-person one in a spot that allows him to get away from the city and live in a close relationship with the landscape of the Andean foothills. The topography is interrupted by an 8×36m horizontal plane running north-south against the slope. The platform generates a stable and continuous surface area that includes a guest room, a patio, a pavilion, a terrace and a pool, which occupy its entire length. The heavy surface of the patio, raised 70cm above the level of the platform, is defined by the base of a pre-existing hawthorn tree. The pavilion is a glass enclosure beneath a light-weight roof, dark in color, an almost empty space from where the gaze traverses the glass in the direction of the foothills, the deep valley, the pines and the space immediately outside, taking in every field of vision the terrain offers.

House on the Road to Farellones, Las Condes, Santiago, Chile, by Max Núñez, Bernardo Valdés, dRN, Photography by James Silverman

Faculty Club by Shift Architecture Urbanism

Tilburg University has extended its campus with the Faculty Club, a multipurpose pavilion for the academic staff and their guests. Shift Architecture Urbanism took the initiative to reanimate the quintessential quality of the Tilburg campus: strong solitary buildings in the green. The monumental modernism of Jos Bedaux served as a frame of reference. Bedaux designed the first – still the best – buildings for the university in the sixties.

The Faculty Club is designed as a carved-out-monolith, one simple box in which transparency and massiveness melt together. The central restaurant is carved out from the centre, creating a tunnel-effect in the front façade. In order to strengthen its solitaire character the building is lifted from the ground. The height difference is bridged by outside stairs and a ramp integrated within the front façade.

Each façade has only one window. By recessing each window, outdoor spaces are created within the front and rear façades. These mark the entrance in front and form a large covered terrace in the back. The simplicity and plasticity of the three-dimensional window treatment further contributes to the building’s sculptural qualities.

Faculty Club, Tilburg University, The Netherlands, by Shift Architecture Urbanism
Photography by René de Wit

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