Commissioned in the mid-’50s by industrialist Henry Singleton for a site on a spectacular peak atop Mulholland Drive. The house has been restored by legendary stylist Vidal Sassoon and his wife, Ronnie. Although the Sassoons made use of Neutra’s original materials and vocabulary to an astonishing degree, the changes were considered sacrilege by some design purists. Ronnie, however, is unapologetic: “Unless the house is a museum, or you only spend a few weeks a year there, you just can’t live this way today. And given how valuable the land is, the house would have been torn down.”
When the renovations were complete, the couple turned to decorator Martyn Lawrence-Bullard, a close friend, for advice on the interiors, particularly upholstered pieces and textiles. “Ronnie and Vidal both have such an amazing eye,” says Lawrence-Bullard. “They bought great midcentury French and Italian furniture, including important pieces by Charlotte Perriand and Gio Ponti.”
Singleton House, Bel Air, California, by Richard Neutra, via: Architectural Digest
The garden that separates the main part of the house is south facing, the bottom of the plot presents a level area that ends 6 metres higher up. These are the only constraints to guide the project: a residence based on two rings: a vertical ring ensures the connection between the levels, a horizontal ring includes the earth pressure at the rear and forms the interface between the main part and the rooms on the first floor. Everything is designed so as not to have to reveal the intimacy of the premises to passers-by, in this way, only a small section of the South facing garden is reserved to welcoming visitors and the entrance to the garage. To the right, the site climbs. Steps lead you to two levels in the area bathed in light … the upper garden. The vertical wall folds round to form the ceiling; it covers the living space which is simply organized around a white service area. The floor is black, it moves outside to the south, to form a vast patio. The view overhangs the neighbours so only the tops of the trees can be seen, two birches perforate the vertical patio encircled by the screen wall that makes the night-time areas on the lower level concealed from public view. The bedrooms and office situated in the depth are completed by their own patio. Three vertical circulations have been organised: the hall stairs, the lift and the family stairs that pierce the volume to the swimming pool. On return to the lower garden, a swimming pool takes the tangent from the partition wall and extends 25 metres further. Each time of the day has its own living framework, and one is never bored.
Perke, Belgium, by Atelier d’Architecture Bruno Erpicum & Partners, Photography by Jo Pauwels
The functions are banal: a house divided in private area with bedrooms, and social area with living-rooms. The private areas are at street level under the plot, around a central courtyard with rooms opening to private patios in a intimate environment. The living rooms are around a void, that collects light from above and gazes the castle at the city centre. The house is a recognizable archetype emptied of its centre by the light designed by a three heighted courtyard that opens horizontally at the garden level. The bedroom courtyards, revealed in the garden, relate with this archetypal object providing different readings on its scale. Scale and volume are controlled in a chaotic context, with a clear identity that from its core relates with the historical legacy far away: the Leiria Castle.
This home and studio space, ‘the work of my life’ according to Álvaro Leite Siza, took 12 years to complete, assembling the site, designing the house, and then building it. The home’s size is almost statuesque with its lines and angles.
“To do architecture it’s necessary a client, a promoter. When I realized, in certain moment of my career that to continue my path I would need to occupy that role too, I didn’t hesitate. I conciliated objectives, interests, goals, I pursued an ideal and I achieved a dream. I also had the need to be, in this work, supervisor, coordinator and project director, in an organization in direct administration. I started this work in 2004 and I finished it in early of 2005. The construction begins in February of 2006 and was concluded in July of 2010. The project of personal house-atelier is the first where is present touching figures in their own atmosphere, exalting pieces, personalities that derive from history, versus the sensibility, recreating individually realities, with no intention previously defined. They appear in the middle of delivery to ones believe beyond what we need (specific program and functional), sublimation underlying to authentic communication of the creative process.”
“Transitional spaces, the porticos, the lamps, the light, the doorknobs, the doors, the hand rails, even some paintings and the furniture was designed for me, but also other of XIX century (timeless pieces) that came from my family that fit the environment perfectly, beyond other elements, complement the creation of environments that exalt Mozart, Leonardo da Vinci, Miguel Angelo and surrounded by a lot of extraordinary Art works, that aren’t limited to the atmosphere of purely imaginary architectural.”
- Álvaro Leite Siza
Four years ago while experimenting in the workshop, Dror Benshetrit discovered a serendipitous geometry. Initially inspired by the aesthetic and flexibility of this versatile form, he soon realized the structural integrity of the interlocking members. Dror then embarked on four years of inspired and diligent investigations. Working in a collaborative and experimental environment, the team developed a unique structure that can adapt to a variety of conditions and configurations. These range from product design, trestle structures, dwellings, dividing walls, sound barriers, and more. Some applications take advantage of its load-bearing capabilities, while others capitalize on its acoustic properties, ease of manufacturing, collapsibility and energy performance.
Boosted by a team of experts, the studio conducted inter-disciplinary research and rigorous analysis, to soon discover the overwhelming strength of the geometry coming from the most simplistic physical force. The geometry revealed five development direction for applications with endless possibilities; dividing, dwelling, trestle, fenestration and artistic installation. These enabled designs reflect an ever-changing world where contextual factors and technological resources are shifting definitions of architecture, design, and the traditional boundaries between disciplines.
“Our goal is to inspire change. Working with creative and innovative experts from various fields, we aim to share and implement this geometry in urban design, architecture, philanthropic work, and public art. When realizing that the system could potentially bring a groundbreaking solution to the global issue of habitat, we were eager to complete our experimentations and share this discovery with the world.”
- Dror Benshetrit
Located half an hour’s drive west of Paris, the roughly 5000 m2 plot of old trees called for a design that would leave the spacious grounds predominantly untouched. The project works with a pre-existing 18th century orangery, a conservatory-like building with a seven-meter high ceiling line on the northern part of the site. to disturb the ground as little as possible, ‘maison L’ extends 50 m to the north-west to line the boundary, resulting in a general ‘L’-shaped plan. Considering the natural topography of the site, the house is buried up to two meters below grade with a garden roof covering the ground storey. this main level remains largely open and connected, with varying degrees of privacy depending on the depth of the zone’s placement. five three-storied tower-like volumes puncture through the green roof to stand almost autonomously with the main level. positioned to frame a specific perspective of the site, each tower houses a dressing room, storage space, a mezzanine, bathroom and a bedroom.
This project distinguishes between old and new with a clean, timeless interior renovation melding with a classic Victorian character. The Victorian features throughout the home have been simplified to a clean, fresh palette whilst maintaining all of the existing elements. The requirements of a modern family home are demonstrated through the simple extended height and open feel of the renovation. The interior furnishings work in conjunction with the space to create an elegant, timeless, fresh feel.
A land without any view, except 3 meters above the level of the ground: the living room is organised at the first floor and is surrounded by a glazed facade in order to catch a panoramic view to the see and the old city. The access to the first floor is organised with a smouth ramp, an internal walk in the forest.
Azibi, Spain, by Atelier d’Architecture Bruno Erpicum & Partners
A staple trademark of Marcio Kogan’s designs are elongated rectilinear openings which we also experience here with the Studio SC project. The use of wood, metal, stone, and concrete come into play and complemented with pops of color from the unique furniture pieces. In true MK27 form, the space has a large opening into a natural environment, letting sunlight reach in and vegetation act as a focal point. In the warm months employees can bring out a little table and enjoy work outside but still within their space.
The house in Melides, on the southern Alentejo Coast, by Pedro Reis, represents the desire for a holiday house as a getaway from the bustle of a big city. The client made the unusual decision to have an architectural competition between three distinct ateliers, allowing a choice from a wider range of possible solutions. This winning proposal presents a reading of the “drama” of the natural countryside, building it on top of a steep hill relatively protected by the surrounding “rugged topography”.