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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Vienna Way residence, designed for a young family, is located on a large, extensively landscaped lot in Venice, California. Floor to ceiling glazing and outdoor living spaces fully integrate the home within the California native landscape. Working within the restrictions posed by the narrow site, the design divides the lot into thirds, with the two main volumes placed on the exterior edges of the property, bridged by a sunken kitchen in the center. The one-story structure to the south houses a great room that combines formal living and dining areas. The structure begins in the front of the property and flows into an outdoor dining patio. A large expanse of glass along the east provides a visual and spatial link to the pool area. The northern structure runs from the back of the property forward, also leading to an outdoor living area, and contains more casual, private spaces, including a family room and an office on the first floor and bedrooms on the second floor. Glazing along the second-story hallway offers views of the green roof (above the kitchen) and tree tops below. The kitchen acts as the hub of the residence, connecting the public and private areas and providing views of the pool, side yard and rear property. From the exterior, the kitchen is shaped by a bronze box that emphasizes its significance and provides contrast to the plaster façade found on the main volumes of the residence.
In addition to bridging the two main volumes, the kitchen is the center of a water-related area that starts in front with a swimming pool and flows through the kitchen and over its green roof, and continues in the backyard’s riparian landscape planted with rushes, reeds, and sycamore trees. These plantings give way to a large play yard filled with buffalo grass and surrounded by oak trees and other California native plants.
Centro Niemeyer is a new cultural complex in Avilés, and is part of an ambitious scheme to redevelop the riverfront. Brazilian architect, Oscar Niemeyer, designed the complex as a gift to the principality.
The small and narrow lot extends dramatically down a steep slope to beautiful Flowing Lake in Snohomish County, Washington. Giant fir trees occupy the western half; the eastern half was marred by the previous removal of a fire damaged cabin. Our challenge was to create a home for an active, young couple which preserved the trees and the remaining native landscape while extending toward and maximizing views of and access to the lake.
The solution was to first establish a path to the water alongside which a house was then placed. The path begins at an auto court with its detached garage/office. It then descends past the bedroom wing alongside the giant firs to mid-slope where a glass corridor/entry blurs the line between interior and exterior. From here the living areas open and cantilever toward the view, its glass façade maximizing both openness to the lake and the limited quantity of light. The upper level Master bedroom with its roof terrace hovers amongst the trees. These lake related portions of the house are all embraced by the wood clad wall providing privacy to the neighbors and focusing attention to the view. Downslope from the entry, as the house bridges over the path, is a covered porch, then a bunkered patio and finally the lake edge itself with its restored wetland. The materials of the house are honest and natural. This allows the house to meld with the natural landscape so that by day it is difficult to isolate when viewed from the lake, while at night the home glows reassuringly from within.
The project is articulated basing on two really simple spatial typologies. The first one, a compacted and pure single-storied level with huge window panels that open to the Alps, framing the beautiful view. The glazing surfaces on the entire level structure the façade in a generous way. The panoramic window panels fold inside, providing a special expression to the ensemble, while forming the terrace-covered area. The difference of enclosure between North and South façades is two faces: “behind” the street and “on the front” The Alps as a visual limit. The “courtyard” typology is composed of an open terrace bordering on one side of the dwelling, a vertical wooden enclosure and by a “green wall”, which at the same time separates the dwelling from the street. The garage, which protects the dwelling from the winds crossing the “Jura” from the East, permits a prolonged use of the terrace during the year. The dwelling is buried on its North side down the steep ground. The volume of the lower ground floor retracts from the façade line in the first floor, which produces a floating effect over the natural prairie. The interior is arranged in 4 individual rooms, including wet and comunal areas, which are defined by the concept of open space. Both the garden and interior rooms, with their glazing façades, open onto the valley.