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.
The vision was a customised building, incorporating the impressive panorama at the foot of the Alps with a lifestyle demanding variable solutions. The owner’s specifications were a house combining living and working areas under one roof. The entire design of this compact house conforms to the location and it was built into the slight decline. As the hill side of the house is embedded, the east facing cellar area could be naturally illuminated and used as an office, for example. This office has direct access, via covered outdoor steps between the main entrance and the carport. Due to its ideal positioning, the building profits from the optimal use of the mountain sunshine.
In spite of being highly original and very chunky, looking almost fortified, the building does not appear out-of-place in its surroundings. The nearby 150 year old, heritage-protected, typical Bregenzerwald farmhouse is reflected in the Haller house. Local tradition has been reinterpreted, focussing on aesthetic details without cutting back on functional aspects. The entrance area is generous and includes a guests’ cloakroom. It is also possible to enter the house or the office from the double garage. The central staircase divides the ground floor into a living area and a kitchen area. The bedrooms and an extra bathrooms for guests are situated on the first floor. The owner’s bathroom has a separate terrace, which is ideal for relaxing and enjoying the magnificent views. The ridge and pitch of the roof give each first floor room an individual character. The internal walls and ceilings are covered with local silver fir wood, which gives the rooms a cosy feeling despite the large glass windows. The outside façade and the roof have been finished with local silver fir shingles. Here we can see how the architect as made use of a single material, testing its possibilities and confinements. What was once considered confined to traditional buildings appears here as experimental.
Located at the top of Nichols Canyon on a quiet cul-de-sac, the home has been strikingly modernized yet remains faithful to the confident, unfussy simplicity of Fickett’s original aesthetic. It is sited on a handsomely landscaped knoll above the street, flanked by the original carport. Through the double entry doors one is struck immediately by the open living plan and dramatic glass atrium and pond that anchors the center of the home, bringing the peaceful sound of water flowing over rocks indoors and filtering light throughout. Cool white limestone floors play against the heft of the double-sided river rock fireplace and the geometry of a cinder block feature wall. Floor to ceiling Fleetwood doors allow the entire rear of the house to be opened to the pool and deck, creating a seamless flow between indoors and out.