For over a thousand years this site was a summer camp location for the Lummi Indians, and due to its archeological significance no footing excavation could take place on the site. Further, its location in a federally designated flood plain required that the structure be raised off the ground several feet. The design brief called for a very low-impact, easy to maintain summer home that provides necessary programmatic functions with minimum distractions from the land and the view.
This house is a reconstruction of one of iconic Seattle architect Fred Bassetti’s earliest designs built in 1962. Fronting a busy street, we wanted to root the house to its sloping wooded site and provide a protective shelter for family life. The plan is opened up allowing for large family gathering spaces and perspectives throughout the full length of the house. A new metal skin with interior cedar liner wraps over the roof and grounds the house to the site. An aluminum bar grating screen encloses an exterior patio and deck filtering interior views and forming a sparkling and diaphanous wall from the street. The entry approach is redesigned with a cantilevered concrete landing in a sunken courtyard and a 4’ x 11’ pivot door to the interior. Bathing spaces are ethereally bright, smooth and seamless. Materials throughout are natural but installed and crafted in an extremely crisp manner.
UK architects Chris Lee and Kapil Gupta of Serie Architects have designed ‘The Tote’, a banquet hall, restaurant and bar. Their brief was to incorporate a series of disused buildings from the city’s colonial past set within the Mumbai race course and convert them to form a series of restaurant and bars.
The interesting aspect of the site, however, lied not in the colonial buildings but in the open spaces covered by mature rain trees. These spaces are shaded throughout the year by the thinly wide spread leaves of the rain trees, allowing almost the entire proposed program to occur outdoors.
The interior of the lounge bar on the upper level is an intricate arrangement of 3-dimensional, faceted wooden panelling, acoustically treated with sound proofing material. The pattern of the panelling is a series of trees with intersecting branches.
This mid-terrace house in Ireland has been extensively refurbished into a contemporary live/work space. The new structure was conceived as a simple form which connects at ground level with the existing house. The tight site and strict planning constraints defined the form of the new extension from an early stage.
“In a place of profound silence, after a day of fog and mist, an intense light is mirrored off the still, deep waters of the majestic Hudson River. This is a place where the sunsets are a thousand colors and where water sparkles in millions of reflections. It is a place where the clean air is calm and mild. It is a place that seems very close to heaven. In building here, we wanted to create a structure that would be worthy of its surroundings, something that would not intrude on this space but only serve to enhance it. Since we would not attempt to embellish on this landscape, we decided we would simply underline it. To do so, we built a large box, measuring 122 feet long x 54 feet wide and 12 feet high, with strong concrete walls that have a solid relationship to the earth. Bedrooms, bathrooms, mechanical and service rooms reside inside this concrete box. In the center of the box and connecting the main entrance with the garden, there is a large luminous hall. The lid of the box is a stone and concrete platform with a roof measuring 100 feet long x 40 feet wide and 9 feet high. This is supported by a 20 feet x 20 feet framework consisting of cylindrical steel pillars—the entire roof projecting out 10 feet. On top of this platform, we created living space by glassing in a surface 25 feet wide x 94 feet long that resembles a large table with 10 legs. Three areas have been created inside this space by boxes of white plaster that do not reach the ceiling. They contain the stairs, the elevator, the powder room and the wet bar. The central space is the living room and the dining area; the south side is a pensatoio, a meditation room with a fire place; the north side is for the kitchen. The main idea of the house is the creation of this underlining plane, conceived primarily to contemplate and at the same time be part of, this incredible landscape, and–in addition–to house a collection of contemporary Italian Arte Povera.”
- Alberto Campo Baeza
Olnick Spanu House, by Estudio Arquitectura Campo Baeza
Buy the Book: Alberto Campo Baeza: Idea, Light and Gravity Available at Amazon
Built on a hillside with reflecting pools and a carport on the roof, this single family residence is made of reinforced concrete with a steel frame.
An old chapel in Portugal has been renovated and converted into a private residence by RML Arquitectos.
Maison Quinta dos Floreados, Santo Varão, Portugal, by RRML Arquitectos
Sometimes ordinary photographs of the Farnsworth House leave you wanting more. Peter Guthrie has filled the gap, by creating a set of beautiful 3D renderings of the iconic house, originally designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe for his client, Dr Edith Farnsworth in 1946.
Farnsworth House, Designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe,
3D Renderings by Peter Guthrie, Flickr Set
While the idea of indoor/outdoor living is typically taken for granted in Southern California, the altitude of the site allowed for an atmospheric connection rather than a connection to the landscape. As the clouds change color and are in constant motion along the coastline, the house and its materials were thought of as a canvas to be manipulated by the sky.
“Instead of keeping places normally used for movement such as an elevator shaft or stair wells closed, we wanted to open them up to collect light, using them as lightwells to maintain the lighting coming in from above. As light travels downward through the lightwells, exterior ‘bar graph’ like apertures maintain lighting on the lower levels, and gradually decrease in number towards the upper levels. This lighting design, using the building’s positive-negative relationship between interior and exterior, makes uniform lighting on each floor possible.”