The western shore of Lake Garda is characterised by its mild climate and richly cultivated landscape. David Chipperfield Architects has built two villas on the hillside looking over the resort town of Gardone Riviera. Both buildings are carefully inserted into the landscape with its olive groves and cypress trees. Their volumes are divided into individual one or two storey structures, which are offset to one another following the topography of the hillside.
The materials are influenced by the region. The stone for the masonry and terraces comes from local quarries. The light roof structure of the pergolas and the window frames are crafted from wood, providing a contrast to the stone. The inner organisation of the buildings further reflects the surroundings. While the auxiliary rooms are located in the rear areas, the living and bedrooms are situated at the front, providing panoramic vistas of the lake and the surrounding landscape. The two buildings were constructed in the context of a larger project, encompassing seven villas, a hotel and an apartment building designed by four architectural practices.
Villa Eden, by David Chipperﬁeld Architects
Yet another in a series of exemplary beach houses by this practice, this project has a directness and simplicity that engages its occupants with both the essential and the existential nature of the beach house. Beautifully considered and expertly crafted, this is a demanding house – showers are not fully weather-sealed, surfaces are intended to suffer the natural consequences of ageing, and materials are blunt and uncompromising: the architects know that meeting some challenges is a wholly beneficial exercise. Yet within this almost rustic language is a captivating level of delight – the warm breezes passing through the spaces, the sand on the floor: all the qualities which distinguish a holiday house from a suburban home create a distinctive sense of place. The house commands its site without either pretence or posturing and invites occupation in all seasons.
Castle Rock House, Whangarei Heads, New Zealand, by Herbst Architects
Photography by Patrick Reynolds
This weekend house located in the Jurica Campestre community seeks to redefine the concept of a retreat home by defragmenting its core program in 4 main volumes. The house is conceived as a central house and 3 independent suites or volumes. This configuration of modules makes the house central core a plaza where one can enjoy a variety of outdoor activities. These main spaces of the house create an interior-exterior relationship where the interior is well connected to nature and its surroundings, creating this way its own context.
The house from the beginning was placed on a 5m by 5m grid and this helped position and have flexibility during the creative process where one could reconfigure the relationship between volumes. The name Casa 4.1.4 derived from its massing consisting of one central house, 4 main volumes, one central plaza and four plazas or patios.
The project takes a starting point by placing the 4 components of the house on the site. The main house of approximately 155 sq. meters, is lived from a central courtyard that acts as a distribution of program such as kitchen, living, dining, and main bedroom, as well as filters light to all the public areas. The suites (cubes) of just 25 sq. meters makes a playful shadow and depth of field and creates its own context by being placed around the central plaza, these rooms allocate a bedroom, a bath, dressing room, panty-coffee space so they can operate independently form the house and provide privacy.
Casa 4.1.4, Jurica, Mexico, by AS/D Asociación de Diseño
Photography by Rafael Gamo
They are simple sky-reflecting concrete and glass cubes framed, or rather camouflaged by vegetation. Pascal Grasso conceived a spacious vacation home that reinvents outdoors living in perfect harmony with the environment – a contextual architecture designed as an adapted response to the surrounding geography, landscape, climate and light. The materials chosen echo to the coast’s mineral quality: raw concrete, stone, glass, stainless steel. Poured in formworks, the bottoms of which were layered with sanded wood boards, the surface of the raw concrete retained the motif for a peculiar texture.
While minimalistic aesthetic is one of the project’s formal influences, it also reveals a more conceptual approach. Pascal Grasso used a reflecting glass to bring forth notions of disturbance or transparency: in day time, nothing from the inside of the house can be perceived from the outside as the openings reflect the landscape (and this furthermore intensifies the way in which the four cubes merge in their environment). Dealing with this connection to the landscape also implied resolving the issue of the openings. More willingly speaking of screens rather than windows, the architect thought in terms of photographic or filmic framing.
Pascal Grasso conceived a house divided into four volumes set in the landscape according to an orientation determined by the viewpoints and connected together by circulation spaces. Each of the four raw concrete boxes has a distinctive size and positioning (on the ground, in slight levitation, cantilevered, piled up): this was a means to take advantage of the tilted land by working with terraces at different levels, but also to interact with the surrounding landscape.
Maison Le Cap, Var, France, by Pascal Grasso Architectures
Photography by Cyrille Weiner
The interior consists of four apartments that were knocked down to create one large apartment to create a two-story penthouse space. The house is characterized by sprawling views of the cityscape, as well as a rooftop pool that overlooks the city. The lower level consists mainly of living spaces while the upper floor contains the balcony and roof deck. A series of raised and recessed squares compose the wall and ceiling of the main living area. Total floor area: 400 sqm.
Square Compositions Penthouse, Tel Aviv, Israel, by Pitsou Kedem Architect
Photography by Amit Geron
Designed by Brussels-based architect Olivier Dwek, “House T” is embedded within the hillside of western Greece that overlooks the beautiful surroundings of the island of Kefalonia. The initial designs for the country villa were developed around the dwelling’s view with surges of blue, intense light and veils of cloud playing key inspiration. From the terraces, the sitting room, the dining room, kitchen, bedrooms, and bathrooms, each living space is oriented towards this fascinating Greek seascape. Boundaries between interior and exterior become blurred as sliding doors open the sitting and dining areas onto the patio, drawing inspiration from the island’s vernacular into a contemporary design.
House T, Kefalonia, Greece, by Olivier Dwek
Photography by Serge Anton
This project consisted in creating a pool house design that embraces the rural environment and furthermore includes the existing house from 1998 in its entirety. The pavilion, which was connected to the residence by using a glass footbridge, is completely enveloped in glass. The roof, in exposed concrete, contrasts with the fragility of the glass. The roof was cast on site with the aid of sight formwork and it is supported by steel fins. The transparent extension restructures the existing house and defines an inner area with the quality and characteristics of a farmstead and focuses on the garden, as well as the inner area and the surrounding landscape.
The residence to expand has a specific architecture with a saddle roof. The extension separates itself as much as possible from the existing volume, and contrasts in simplicity and light structure. The awning is anchored in the roofing sheet wit the aid of an insulated connection. The roof is insulated at her top. Likewise for thermal reasons the floor plate is deduplicated. The full height sliding doors have been manufactured thanks to a minimal window frame system of only 20 mm wide, with sliding pieces rolling on multiple small bearings. On top of that, the whole construction remains thermically very high performing.
A Glass And Concrete Pool House, Wannegem-Lede, Belgium, by Lieven Dejaeghere
Photography by Tim Van de Velde
The Spaceship Home was born out of a project for a client who wanted a quick, intelligent design construction to enjoy the panoramic view of his plot. His passion for the cinema, home automation and comfort did the rest.
The futuristic and ground-breaking proposal was his aesthetic choice, and the large terrace oriented to the views defined the layout.
The house is composed of wooden prefabricated modules which are attached to a metal frame 4m above ground level. Access is by a “real airplane” staircase that belonged to Spanair, and which, restored and modernized, recognizes and welcomes its owner. A mobile device provides automatic control for the whole house which when accessed by the ladder starts to open an impressive door with a pantographic opening. An aesthetic metal “Star Wars” control panel centralizes the house’s facilities and presides over a restrained and functional interior.
The architectural proposal stands out for its polished metallic exterior, the integration of the facilities, services and architectural details in a “space” context, and for the metal legged structure that connects the house with the ground.
The Spaceship Home, by NOEM
Architects were approached to extend and refurbish a Victorian terraced house in Shepherd’s Bush for a growing family. Remit was very conventional: a ground floor extension and a loft conversion – a potentially hum-drum brief. Dominant material chosen was concrete, primarily for its aesthetic qualities but the opportunity to build in high thermal mass and develop free-form structures became increasingly important considerations as the project progressed. As a point of reference concrete then became the driver for all other material decisions. The facade of the extension is clad in rusted Corten steel and the interior joinery fronts made from Grey Elm – both providing the necessary contrast, warmth and richness against the cool swathes of smooth concrete.
Spatially, the ground floor is designed to comprise of two main spaces – the kitchen extension and the more formal living rooms – and these spaces interlock around a central fulcrum of storage units with circulation to either side. Each space flows into the other by an extending limb of floor finish negotiating the threshold and serving as landing, seat or bookshelf to break down the formal differentiation between rooms. The framing of views and the shift of planes have been constructed to choreograph movement from one space to another, with walls and plinths quietly receding, or changing levels. The design of corners, windows seats and benches have been considered with a young family in mind: places to accommodate the day-to-day activities of children and adults alike – sitting, reading, talking, playing or resting – with the large window seat projecting into the garden and brushing up against the foliage.
The rear garden in considered as another ‘room’ of the house and the view to the garden from the front door underlines its importance, providing relief from the efficiently planned interior. The layout of the garden is defined by a concrete bench for outdoor entertaining in warmer months and two large glass panes provide plenty of natural daylight and help the external ‘room’ feel connected to their interior.
Ingersoll Road House, London, England, by McLaren.Excell
The Oak Pass Main house uses an “Upside Down” program, with public spaces above the bedrooms, which are buried into the hill and beneath a green roof of edible herbs. This relatively large house at 8,000 square feet appears much smaller and carefully integrated into the surrounding landscape, which includes over one hundred and thirty Coast Live Oaks. A seventy five foot swimming pool, with infinity edges on three of four sides, bisects the house and slips below one of the largest Oaks on the property.
Oak Pass, Beverly Hills, California, USA, by Walker Workshop
Photography by Joe Fletcher