The location of this house, in the heart of a bustling resort town, demanded special consideration of the acoustic sense. The house is comprised of a series of parallel walls that provide layers of privacy and insulation from the sound of the village. The walls project beyond the living spaces and ascend in height, building from a human-scale wall at the entry to a high wall along the center of the house. The walls diffract the sound waves moving past them, casting an acoustic shadow over the property to create a quiet outdoor gathering area.
The walls are built with insulated concrete forms: a wall assembly nearly twenty inches thick, comprised of a poured concrete core, continuous from footing to roof, wrapped in insulating foam, that also serves as formwork during construction. These walls provide excellent thermal insulation and an extremely low sound transmission coefficient. Due to the strength of their concrete cores, the walls act as structural beams, enabling them to span over the gathering space at the center of the house and the covered deck.
Inside, variations on the clips are utilized as robe hooks, cabinet pulls, and hinges for an adjustable sound baffle in the central gathering space. The hinges hang cedar boards in front of a felt panel with spaces between them. Sound waves pass through the gaps between the boards, are trapped behind them, and absorbed by the felt. The hinges allow the spacing of the boards to be adjusted so the room can be acoustically tuned for intimate gatherings or boisterous parties. The stair is also tuned to create a subtle acoustic experience. The stair treads taper in thickness, changing the pitch of footfalls as one ascends from the woodshop in the basement, past the main floor with public spaces, guest room, and master bedroom, and up to the childrens’ rooms on the upper floor.
Elizabeth II, by Bates Masi Architects
The development at 24 The Esplanade, Brighton, has been designed to provide four contemporary buildings of outstanding architectural quality, as a possible prototype for medium density housing in Melbourne. The siting, formal composition, and materiality of each building gives consideration to contextual issues such as surrounding building form and size, the waterfront promenade, and views within and from the site.
The proposed design is a mix of typologies, including terrace town houses, apartments and penthouses. Each is arranged in a way to maximise views to the beach, from apartments and semi-public areas, or capitalise on views within the site, towards the proposed landscaped areas. All four buildings are individually sculpted and provide an engaging dialogue through their juxtaposition.
Esplanade 30, Melbourne, Australia, by Wood Marsh Architecture
Photography by Lynton Crabb Photography
This timber and glass pavilion is the second house in the development and continues the theme of coastal modernity. Following the principles of the InForm ‘Retreat’ design, but on a larger scale, the house includes a double garage, four bedrooms and a lounge, as well as an open plan kitchen, meals and living space.
The characteristic long lineal roof plane caps the entire building, protecting the loggia and deck that extends the length of the northern exterior. A full height vertical timber screen protects the loggia from the west, and creates a dynamic front façade. Large full height black aluminium doors connect the living areas and master bedroom to the deck and sweeping lawn beyond. The black aluminium provides a striking contrast with the smoky grey oiled timber cladding and crisp white fascias. A white concrete brick blade wall separates the entry from the loggia and extends into the living area to form the fireplace. White oiled oak floors add an appropriate contemporary but rustic sensibility to the interior palette, which also includes stainless steel and marble bench tops, oak joinery and a white mosaic tiled splash back.
Blairgowrie 2, by InForm
Photography by Hilary Bradford & Derek Swalwell
Few architects have imbued a community with as much design spirit as has Donald Wexler for Palm Springs and the Coachella Valley. One of the first impressions of this spirit was the house he designed for himself and his family, in which they lived for 38 years. After expanding the home in 1960, he assisted in its 2008 restoration, consulting and designing alongside the owners, with painstaking attention to quality and detail. This restoration – which he considered to be the final evolution of his aesthetic – was awarded MOD COM’s 2009 Preservation of the Year.
A privacy wall surrounds the house and newly-landscaped grounds, by William Kopelk and Marcello Villano. The pedestrian gate opens to reveal a gem-like transparency of floor-to-ceiling glass walls and wide overhangs, all engendered by the post and beam construction. Taking cues from his mentor, Richard Neutra, Wexler “pinwheels” the floor plan so rooms open readily to the many terraces and salt-water pool.
Open living and dining room, a kitchen modernized with stainless steel appliances, library nook, three bedrooms, two baths, car port. Terrazzo and T111 panels crisply unify the whole, while creating intimate spaces. The elegant Master suite is thoughtfully separated from the guest wing, which opens to private outdoor spaces, flanked by spectacular mature pine trees and the original Wexler spa. Sophisticated yet relaxing, the Wexler House stands as a testament to the marriage of design and livability found in Mid-Century architecture.
The Wexler House, Palm Springs, California, by Donald Wexler
Photography by Lance Gerber
The house consists of three volumes stacked in a pyramid shape, whereby the two lower ones contain the living areas and the upper volume houses three bedrooms; these three ‘blocks’ were made to stand out by using different materials on their facade, namely stone and metal for the lower ones and wood for the upper one. On top of the whole house sits a pavilion with a barbecue area and a sunbathing area which also acts as a viewing platform, offering a 360-degrees view of the city.
Casa Lara, São Paulo, Brazil, by Felipe Hess
Photography by Ricardo Basseti
The discreet polygonal volumes of the two buildings are the result of ideas of visual privacy and vantage points, and with their slanted roofs they constitute a single entity. The concave and convex recesses enter into a dialogue with the exterior space. A sculptural quality is generated, lending the buildings plasticity and a certain lightness. The form and the expression of the buildings therefore aim to fulfill both contextual and formal aspects. The arrangement of the facades follows the same principles. The concept involved is not one of houses with roofs, but rather of building shapes in which the surfaces of the roofs represent a “fifth” facade.
Both houses are reached by a footpath through the garden that connects the two exterior levels to each other. A “promenade architecturale” leads from the shared underground garage on beneath skylights to each of the vertical circulation cores of the houses. The polygonal form of the floor plan enables a differentiated spatial distribution. This means that the living areas are arranged around the orthogonally organised circulation cores. The rooms between these orthogonal structures and the folded progression of the facade form a spatial continuum that extends onwards to the upper storeys. The two houses differ in terms of the contrasting alignments and situations of the volumes. A further underground connection to the two volumes leads through the wellness area.
Villa Ensemble near Zurich, Switzerland, by Andreas Fuhrimann and Gabrielle Hächler
Photography by Valentin Jeck
Concrete Cut, Ramat Gan, Israel, by Pitsou Kedem Architect
Photography by Amit Geron
The project is designed in a single level as it is designed for disabled couples, single people, young or old. The circulation is optimized to benefit experiential spaces. It is a concept of “open space” where the reflecting pool and the garden are the focal point of all spaces.
T02, Jesús María, Aguascalientes, Mexico, by ADI Arquitectura y Diseño Interior
Photography by Oscar Hernández
The idea is mainly focus on how to maximize privacy for every family but still create vast pleasure spaces with nature integrating the sea. To maximize the project’s efficiency, the master-plan is well organized but the way is too narrow with high density. Within this condition, the team’s goal is to make a creative and effective design to not only satisfied maximum privacy but also create extra benefits from natural voids and gardens.
Each villa has multi-dimensional landscape with overflow pools and tropical gardens. For every villa, the design also takes advantage of space using by lifting-twisting the upper block for bedrooms with privacy and open views. The lower block with living-dining-kitchen-bedroom has the direct connection to the pool and landscape. Moreover, we put waterscape into the rooftop of the lower block in order to cool down the whole building and improve the rooftop landscape aesthetically.
Density is now not a big problem, every villa has its own garden filled up with skylights and surrounding green environment. MIA’s design philosophy is how to inside-out the initial using space, outside-in the natural gardens enhancing the luxury-home feeling.
Naman Residences, Non Nuoc Beach, Danang, Vietnam, by MIA Design Studio
Photography by Hiroyuki Oki
Studio Collins Weir worked with client and architect to build a sense of history and place into a ground up custom residential project. To accomplish this, the studio blended custom pieces of furniture with vintage finds and contract pieces alongside the clients’ growing collection of emerging artists. The material palette for the furnishings, floor and window coverings at once reinforces the industrial nature of the architectural materials and contrasts that same palette to create pockets of softness and light for moments of casual repose.
Horse Hill Residence, by Aidlin Darling Design
Photography by Matthew Millman