São Paulo based architect Guilherme Torres has developed ideas which fuse the modern and the traditional. Guilherme’s own house, designed by the architect himself, bears a chequered wood design, a kind of brise soleil called muxarabie, which is a classic feature in Eastern architecture. It was later assimilated by the Portuguese, who brought it to Brazil. This element, with its powerful aesthetic appeal, was adapted to this residence in the South of the country, and acts as a wooden ‘curtain’, allowing air flow, dimming light and also serving as a security feature.
“As soon as I saw the gently sloped plot surrounded by other houses, the idea of this large panel came to me, to ensure privacy for both them and their neighbors.” This monumental house stands out as a huge rectangular monolith with two large brickwork blocks in contrast with the upper volume in concrete. A few columns, huge spans and strategic walls create exquisite fine gardens that make up a refuge for this young couple and their two small children.
The decoration follows a jovial and Brazilian style with an alliance of Guilherme Torres’ design, including sofas and tables, and other great names of Brazilian design such as furniture designed by Sérgio Rodrigues and Carlos Motta. The composition of overlapping these Brazilian styles with international design is balanced by pieces from Tom Dixon and Iranian carpets, all sourced by the architect. The garden, designed by Alex Hanazaki has given the house an ethereal atmosphere due to the movement of Texan plume grass.
Located in a remote corner of southern Utah, this custom residence is a prefabricated structure comprised of 15 steel-framed modules that were designed and fabricated by Marmol Radziner Prefab, an offshoot of the design-build firm of Marmol Radziner, at their production facility in Los Angeles. The building form consists of three main branches that cantilever out over a landscape of sandstone ledge. Deep covered decks provide shading, frame views, and link to a guesthouse and exercise space. A geothermal ground loop system coupled with a large solar PV array take advantage of the site’s renewable energy resources.
Hidden Valley Residence, Moab, Utah, by Marmol Radziner Architecture
Concept and prototype of an architectural unit for German company Richard Lampert. Prefabricated, sustainable sandwich construction. Insulated panels from certified wood with biological paint finish.
Landed, by Eric Degenhardt, for Richard Lampert
The project is located at the urban complex “La Font” in Pollença at the base of an impressive limestone mountain. The project was commissioned by the Bauzà family, thanks to whom I have been able to explore further possibilities on my work field, looking for naked and simple lines, seeking wider perspectives. The house is located at the back of the plot, facing south, maintaining the existing forest of pine and oak trees, framing the mountain’s profile. The exterior of the housing, made of sandstone, uniformly covers facades, sloping roofs and roadways so that it can be observed as a single piece. The distribution is developed mainly on one level, except the first floor. One sole space integrates kitchen, dining room and living area. Specific furniture and a central wooden staircase being the connection, define the use of these areas. Along this line we find the porch, where the sliding blinds work as filters for the light and also maintains intimacy. The wooden staircase leads to the master bedroom and also to the two-floor open studio. When entering the bedrooms from the living areas, the floors change from stone to wood. The location of the pool as well as the rest of the exterior spaces offers direct links to the natural environment of the surroundings.
Casa Bauzà, Pollença, Spain, by Miquel Àngel Lacomba, Photography © Mauricio Fuertes
This 12,000sf weekend residence is set within the Madison Club, a private golf resort located in a small community neighboring Palm Springs, California. The one acre site is oriented along and East – West axis, set on a ridge above the golf course, directly facing the dramatic San Jacinto mountains.
The Madison house is located on a West facing knoll overlooking a dramatic mountain range at the eastern end of the Coachella Valley. The area is known for its extreme summer heat and severe winds. During the winter months however the area is paradise – clear, sunny and temperate days, with cooler nights perfect for the indoor outdoor modern lifestyle made famous in photographs by Julius Shulman.
Madison Club Residence, by Palm Springs, California, USA, for XTEN Architecture
This “target tower” by Zurich-based architects Andreas Fuhrimann and Gabrielle Hächler is actually made solely for the viewing of the annual rowing regattas on Lake Rotsee, and is therefore completely empty and closed for all but three weeks of the year. When in use, the interior features ample room and seating for spectators, jury, and timekeepers, featuring views that can be guided by the shifting panels on the facade.
Lake Rotsee Refuge, Lucerne, Switzerland, by AFGH Architekten
Merricks House, Merricks North, Australia, by Robson Rak Architects
Allied Works was commissioned to design a residence, guesthouse and private gallery on 350 acres in Dutchess County, New York. Located on the eastern slopes of the Hudson River Valley, the site consists of rolling hills, open meadow and dense hardwood forest. Each of the three buildings responds to a particular landscape. Collectively, the estate and its three primary structures create a range of sensory experiences and sites for artistic interpretation.
The main house lies at the head of a large meadow, providing sweeping views of the valley and mountains beyond. The residence takes the form of an orthogonal helix sited at the intersection of three landscaped courts. These are bounded by a series of stone walls that extend into the landscape. Above, the helix is enclosed by a skin of glass panels – transparent, translucent and opaque – that mediates light and views. The surface of the helix becomes the canvass for a site specific video installation by Doug Aitken. Entitled “Light House”, the 360º projection creates stunning contrasts with its surroundings, or alternately allows the house to merge back into the pastoral landscape.
Dutchess County Residence Main House,Dutchess County, NY, by Allied Works Architecture
Buy the book:
Allied Works Architecture: Brad Cloepfil: Occupation, Published by Hatje Cantz, English, 2011. 440 pp., 481 color ills., 12 foldouts, 25 x 31.4cm, hardcover, ISBN: 9783775728386, Buy it here: Amazon
Contemporary glass and steel haven on 6 acres overlooking the Peconic Bay.
Clearhouse, Shelter Island, New York, by Stuart Parr Design
Located between the Atlantic Ocean and a freshwater pond, this residence is for an adventurous couple and their four sons. They wanted a house for their large family and numerous guests with a lawn, swimming pool, pool house, garage, and sports courts on a site with a limited building envelope due to coastal and wetland zoning. The large program, relatively small footprint, and daunting regulations dictated a building envelope densely packed with program that stood as a barrier between the ocean and the pond. Thus the design process was one of subtraction rather than addition: carving away at the solid mass of the house to reconnect site features and views and to distill the experience of the place.
Spaces run the full width of the house with floor to ceiling sliding doors on both sides. The spaces create apertures through which views, light, and air completely penetrate the house, dissolving its mass. Passersby see directly through the house to the sky and landscape beyond. With the sliding doors open and recessed into the adjacent walls, interior spaces are transformed from formal rooms to open pavilions, merging seamlessly with the site.
To accommodate the extensive program spaces are nested within one another. Operable partitions pull out from the walls of the living room, carving out a media room within the living room when privacy is desired. Conversely, with the partitions open, the media room merges with the living room for large gatherings. The thickness of the wall separating the dining room and kitchen is also cut away, utilizing its depth to accommodate a wine rack that also functions as a light fixture.
The process of carving is applied at the material and detail level as well. The 5/8” corten steel plate that clads the base of the house is waterjet cut into a delicate pattern that defies its mass. Inside, corian is employed for the ease with which it can be milled. Corian countertops are cut to form towel bars, bunk bed frames are carved to create ladders, cabinet doors are recessed to form handles, and wainscoting is subtly etched with meaningful words chosen by the clients.
Materials were chosen not only for their workability, but also for their durability in the coastal environment. Corten steel siding is zero maintenance despite being relentlessly sandblasted by the wind. Cedar siding and screens are finished using a Victorian technique in which the iron sulfate in a blend of white vinegar and iron filings reacts with the tannins in wood, creating an ebony finish that penetrates through the material and will not require refinishing. The lack of harsh stains or finishes reduces the ecological footprint of the house. Geothermal heating and cooling as well as vegetated roofs further reduce the environmental impact. Using the design approach of sculpting away rather than building up, the house is pared down until the experience of the extraordinary site is dominant.
Sagaponack House, Sagaponack, NY, by Bates Masi + Architects
Photography © Michael Moran