Approaching the house, it seems monolithic, almost hermetic. Two incisions divide the building, which sits prominently on a relatively level hill, guide guests to a small entrance niche and offer a view of the introverted courtyard to the north. The hard shell opens up towards the valley and the south side, and the extensive glazing reveals the scenery and mountain panorama. The terrace faces the pond and small integrated stream, which blend in with their natural surroundings, lends the courtyard a sense of an open air living room and connects the entrance floor to the grounds via a ramp.
The smooth exposed concrete surfaces find their counterpart in the interior in the tactile and optical softness of the white pine floors, built-in furniture and walls. The character of the house turns out to be bright, inviting and almost homey. Windows and doors in white aluminium bring robustness into play and add to the powerful appearance of the concrete.
Shark Alley House, Great Barrier Island, New Zealand, by Fearon Hay Architects
Extraordinary views in the heart of the city and a small buildable footprint limited by restrictive easements prompted a thin, three-story home with the main living spaces and master suite on the top floor–essentially a one-bedroom loft with 270° views. The visitor enters through a pivoting glass door, where the natural stone gives way to its dressed counterpart, and is immediately greeted by a stair of massive ebonized oak treads floating above twin steel channels, and hanging in a three-story vertical space. Beyond, an etched glass wall captures the projected shadows of a stand of giant bamboo, and a band of clear glass directs one’s gaze out to a private garden.
East Windsor Residence, Austin, Texas, by Alterstudio Architects
Photography by Paul Finkel
Riverside house, Chiba, Japan, by Keiji Ashizawa Architects
The composition was decided by associating the client’s “scenes of daily life”, with the context being thought from the site and laying it out in three dimensions. Some private rooms are on the ground floor and the second floor is made as one big room, dividing each space with furniture. In DG House the studio thought of furniture as volumes to produce various areas rather than functional furniture. The structured volumes are made with a 24mm plywood frame. It can be seen as one mass as it has been painted black, keeping the feeling of wood when it is viewed closely.
VitraHaus by Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron, has recently opened at the Vitra Campus. VitraHaus joins two other buildings in this area, the Vitra Design Museum by Frank Gehry (1989) and the Conference Pavilion by Tadao Ando (1993). The concept of the VitraHaus connects two themes that appear repeatedly in the oeuvre of Herzog & de Meuron: the theme of the archetypal house and the theme of stacked volumes.
VitraHaus, Weil am Rhein, Germany, by Herzog & de Meuron, for Vitra.
Parnell House, Auckland, New Zealand, by Fearon Hay Architects
Used as villa for weekends, Plus house was realized by crossing two rectangular parallelepipeds at very right angles. The lower one contains private rooms and bathroom, and sticks half of the body out to existing narrow level ground. The upper one incorporates salon and kitchen, and lies astride the lower one and the mountain ridge. It almost seems like an off-centered cross pinned carefully on natural terrain.
“I didn’t want to just form the undulating landscape dotted with great trees as normal, nor design an elaborate architecture bowing down to the complex topography. What sprang to my mind is a blueprint for an architecture which is perfectly autonomous itself, at the same time seems to emerge as an underlying shape that the natural environment has been hiding. It’s abstraction of nature, to say.”
Built on a site overlooking the sea, the H-House is built with protection from the elements in mind, the house has large outdoor areas under the roof, and the H-shape helps protect against the wind and also creates a more intimate space in the courtyards.
H-House, Stockholm Archipelago, Sweden, by WRB Architects
This townhouse in Chicago floats behind a private garden wall and is framed by traditional houses on both sides. A dramatic side stair leads to the main level, comprising open living, dining and kitchen areas, then continues upstairs to the master bedroom and bathroom that are literally suspended above the main living space. Two guest bedrooms and bathrooms are located on the lower floor.
Chicago Town House, by Alexander Gorlin Architects