Located in the Swiss Alpine village of Lumino, just north of Bellinzona, this house stands as a monolithic element, quietly complementing and echoing its context. The surrounding area is characterised by traditional stone built houses, many of which date back centuries and are marked by their use of this single construction material. The new house is intended as a relevant response to and contemporary interpretation of the vernacular; its exposed reinforced concrete form recalls the revered strength and resonates the presence of these old stone houses. Sitting on the edge of the old village, the house acts as a sort of bastion between the old core and the modern residential expansion.
“Make a step into the world of tea, slow down, enjoy, relax and focus on the moment. a place to celebrate my own tea ritual. From the beginning, research of calmness was linked to the aim of creating a space. a space where you have to slow down, feel protected and invisible. This is the reason why I designed a teahouse, a place for my own ritual of preparing and drinking tea. there is an important succession of actions: to select the tea, to prepare the teapot and to boil the water, to let the water cool down if necessary, to infuse the tea and to give it time to draw, to pour the tea into a bowl, enjoy it and to clean up afterwards.”
My Teahouse, Model scale 1:10 / Graduation Project, by Simon Kaempfer
Envisioned as a home that will accommodate a family as it grows, and play host to friends and extended family, the ideas that inform the design of the house were developed through an unusual process—The family, including their children, all actively participated in design meetings with the team from Dick Clark Architecture. Critical decisions were vetted among the group and decided by vote, with each family member getting equal say. The result is a house that stays true to its purpose as a place where family and friends can spend precious free time enjoying one another and the beauty of the Highland Lakes setting.
The most gestural element of the house is a raised, copper clad pavilion with transparent walls facing south toward the neighborhood and north toward the courtyard and lake. The butterfly shape of the roof dramatically casts off rainwater through an oversized scupper, an external reference to the series of seven water features found inside the walls of the retreat. The courtyard offers two points of entry: when the large wooden gate is rolled in to the open position below the pavilion, the house invites visitors to come in through this primary pathway. A second gate is found by following a linear water feature that starts along the east edge of the sandstone wall. Not visible from the street, this entry provides a more intimate arrival into the courtyard.
In the House 6 project, the idea of the veranda has been reinvented. The veranda is not exactly in front of the living room, disposed longitudinally, but, rather, perpendicular to it. The wooden pillars that give support to the structure and the clay tiles of traditional verandas have been substituted by modern pilotis that support a volume of flat slabs. The veranda of House 6, nonetheless, still remains an open space and, simultaneously, opens to the garden and the pool. It is a living room, a TV room and an extension of the internal kitchen.
This space, then, structured the entire architecture of the house, organized in two transversal volumes and an annex in the back that holds a home office. The lower volume houses the utilities, the kitchen and the living room with door-frames that can be recessed into the walls, and thereby entirely opening the internal space to either side. This sets the cross-ventilation and an unfettered contiguous view of the garden. The upper volume has the private area of the house with the bedrooms and, on the third floor there is a small multiple-use living room alongside an upper deck.
Architecturally, the space of the veranda, located under the bedrooms, would have a low ceiling-height, to create a warm feeling. The sum of the structure of the two perpendicular volumes and the living room ceiling-height would result in a very high ceiling. Thus, it was decided to make the living room lower in relation to the veranda and the garden. This result made it possible to have a house with elongated proportions and the viability of a covered external pleasant space to be used on both warm and cool days in the city of São Paulo.
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Set on an island north of the San Juans, the exterior metal skin of this single room cabin will be allowed to weather naturally. Inside, wood-finished surfaces create a cozy refuge. A large, weathered steel panel slides across a window wall, securing the space when the owner is away.
Salt Spring Island Cabin, British Columbia, Canada, by Olson Kundig Architects, Photography by Tim Bies
Montecito Residence is a single-family home set in the fire-prone Toro Canyon. The owners wanted a house that minimized its use of scarce natural resources and recognized the challenging environmental conditions of the area. The design solution is a house that functions as an umbrella to shield the house from the sun and allows naturally cool offshore breezes to move through the space. The house is made of simple, fire resistant materials. Steel will be allowed to oxidize and concrete will be toned to allow the house to blend into the landscape.
Montecito Residence, California, USA, by Olson Kundig Architects
“It’s all about the lake,” was our clients’ direction when we began designing this vacation home. Located in rural Iowa, Lake Okoboji is a part of a glacial lake system surprisingly located amidst endless cornfields, 2.5 hours from the nearest metropolitan area. The house sits on a diminutive lot on the dense shoreline where old cottages and new McMansions sit tightly together. Our strategy resulted in a deceptively simple footprint that minimized the size of the house on the site while allowing for a series of spatial frames within the house that focus on the view while excluding the neighbors. This allowed for a sense of total privacy within the house itself. Additionally, the lake itself is ringed by numerous oak trees which form beautiful a canopy around the lake, separating it from the corn fields.
Volumetrically simple from the exterior, opaque and slatted vertical Ipe clads a stacked set of spatial tubes (the primary living spaces) that are open to the lake and woods views, but visually closed to neighbors on the sides. We formed the house’s spatial tubes around view axes running through the site, perceptually linking the lake through the forest to the fields beyond.
High-end Hollywood property developer Steve Hermann has completed The Glass Pavilion, designed inside and out for buyers that include A-list stars and entertainment executives. The house comes complete with a personal showroom with enough floor space to house a respectable car collection.
The Glass Pavilion, Montecito, California, by Steve Hermann Hermann Design & Development
Following the success of the Hansjörg Göritz Architekturstudio in an international European competition in 2000, seven years of planning and implementation are now completed. Today the built exterior and interior spaces manifest not only his interpretation of democratic separation of powers within the Alamannic cultural region of the Alps’ Rhine River valley. They also stand for a conscious understanding of an architecture of urban contiguity, whereby the original masterplan of Luigi Snozzi has been newly reinterpreted.