Embracing the challenge of a relatively tight inner suburban location, and restrictive building envelope, the designers worked closely with the client to rationalise their “wish list” into a concise and deliverable brief. The outcome is a dramatic architectural statement, which has already demonstrated the flexibility to adapt to the constantly changing lives of the family it was designed for.
The project is realised through a series of simple intersecting and overlapping rectangular forms. Each “box” represents a distinct portion of the overall program. The forms of the building have been carefully articulated as both screening devices for privacy, and elements that frame and define views. The robust external cladding that changes appearance significantly in different weather and lighting conditions, gives way to a sophisticated, warm and welcoming interior, filled with natural light, tall ceilings, double height voids and sensuous materials. Extensive use and clever placement of high performance double glazing draws light into every room. The definition of interior and exterior is distorted, with banks of operable louvres and huge sliding glass panels presenting the family with the ability to engage directly with the outside environment, or to close the place down completely, dependant on the variable Melbourne climate.
The Good House, Sandringham, Victoria, Australia, by Designer, for Crone Partners, Photography © Derek Swalwell & Peter Clarke
Nestled into a forested slope along the eastern edge of the Case Inlet, this small retreat opens to a western view of the Olympic Mountains and the Puget Sound. Anchored by a weathered cedar clad bedroom wing, a bold concrete cantilever projects the living and dining into the dense forest and toward the view. An ipe deck slips from inside the kitchen into an open meadow to the south, separated only by large sliding glass doors extending the sense of interior directly to the outdoors. A broad flat roof hovers high above the living spaces creating the feeling that one is sitting outdoors amidst the trees. Smaller, thoughtfully placed apertures define the exterior of the bedroom volume, along with a single large opening belonging to the master bath to give the users a ritual of bathing within the forest. A balance of clean lines and natural materials, this modest retreat is a welcome sanctuary for just two or the full family.
Case Inlet Retreat, Case Inlet, Washington, USA, by mw|works architecture+design, Photography by Jeremy Bittermann
The property has direct access to the lake and offers a spectacular view of Lake Constance and the Swiss Alps. The house with its two levels, the garden level and the upper level adapts to the seasons, then a summer and a winter home. In the summer the garden is level with associated pool and guest rooms in the foreground. The upper floor is the master retreat area residents staged and the panoramic view. The upper floor is arranged around the atrium area and also allows for a variable space concept. All the walls are flexible and allow for different room situations. This gives the user the possibility of a classic floor plan up to the single-room.
Haus G12, Überlingen, Germany, by (se)arch, photography by Zooey Braun
Located in the historic district of Pied de La Plagne, in the village of Morzine (French Alps), this ancient farmhouse was singled out by the municipality as a landmark for traditional 19th century local architecture. Preserving the house overall appearance was of one of the project’s key challenges. Revisiting traditional techniques, architecture firm Jérémie Kœmpgen Architecture has converted it into a luxurious and elegant rental villa.
The idea is to move through this house between four “blocks” steady as rocks, located at each corner of the building. Each independent unit forms a suite with sleeping area and amenities. Between these four blocks, the remaining space is occupied by a succession of stacked floors at different levels in the framework. This continuum of generous space welcomes the activities shared by the inhabitants: cooking, dining, watching a film, conversing in the living room, warming up around the fire.
A uniform cladding wraps the whole farm. One of the challenges of the project was to preserve its appearance, while filtering light into the heart of the building. The traditional technique of decorative cut-outs within the wood strips was used to perform specific perforations within the planks. The design of this simple and contemporary pattern is consistent with the equipment and techniques used by the local carpenter for cutting spruce slats. These cut-outs recall the disjointed battens of the traditional barn, used for drying hay.
This new structure at the end of a long garden is a flexible design solution to a complex brief, which called for a quiet space for meditation, work and guest accommodation away from the main house. Operating within the limitations of permitted development for a garden shed, Paul Archer Design divided the building evenly into interior and exterior enclosures. The walls of the pavilion are deliberately ambiguous, separated from the roof plane by large areas of glass, while the side facing the house is cut cleverly into a series of mirrored glass slats illuminated by the sunlight from behind.
Inside, views are restricted to the boundaries of the sanctuary, editing-out the suburban landscape beyond, while double sliding doors allow the space to flow seamlessly out into the courtyard when desired. A timber storage wall incorporates numerous functions, including a fold-down desk and bed, transforming the use of the pavilion according to which component of furniture is deployed.
Located in Venice, Caliiornia, a beachside community characterized by small lots (30′ wide x 120′ wide), an eclectic mix of architecture and a unique blend of personality. While the tight square footage of the lot and an existing tree constrained the organizational possiblities of the home, the connection to community, the need for privacy and security, and interest in natural lighting offered endless possibilities
The 2,700 square foot singe family residence draws upon the site and context for inspiration by referencing a specimen pine on site and reinterpreting two other trees removed as part of the construction process.The trunk diameter of the pine is nearly five feet and the canopy over sixty feet across, so it clearly serves as the most dominant feature of the site (and nearly the entire block). Since removal was not an option for the clients, the parti of the house was organized around the tree’s location on site; near the back and virtually in the middle. This organization maximized the livable square footage of the house while minimizing the risk of damage to the tree. In reality. the plan of the house is quite simple and if left untreated could resemble any number of stuoco homes in the area. Exploring options through the exterior skin offered a dynamic expression of the client’s taste and character as well as the sculptural qualities of architecture.
Walnut Residence, Venice, Caliiornia, by Modal Design
A simple brief and programming requirements, teamed with a dramatic site characterised by a steep slope and a single tea tree, enabled the design to become an exploration into enclosing the basic rituals of domestic life within restrained building forms…the form of the building becomes driven by the clients desire to separate the public and private zones of the residence.
In stark contrast to the surrounding houses, which attempt to cancel out the sloping topography by creating a podium level at which the outdoor areas sit exposed high above ground level, our design for this house adopts a gentler strategy, with the building form spilling down the slope to terminate in a series of terraced decks.
These low lying decks aim to provide privacy from the golf course below, whilst the surrounding native landscape will shelter the outdoor areas from the harsh prevailing winds.
Varying levels of interaction and connection with the landscape, both real and perceived, drive all aspects of the design, from the channelled views of the horizon upon entry, through to the double height picture window that captures the full proportion of the tea tree, and the direct and intimate connection provided by the low level decks.
Ridge Road Residence, Mornington Peninsula Australia, by StudioFour
Designed for a client who spent years looking for the ideal location for a residence, the house sits on a steep slope off the side of a wooded road. The north-facing side of the residence boasts extensive glass walls allowing natural light to filter through and offering gorgeous views of Mount Asama in the distance. Wood panelling on the outside gives the residence an elemental look and helps it to blend in with its surrounding natural environment
House in Asamayama, Japan, by Kidosaki Architects Studio
Setting amidst the nature reserve that bounds the Upper Seletar reservoir, the bungalow at Mandai area is bestowed with the serenity and repose rarely found in the island of buzzling Singapore. In the island where every inch of land is dear, the owner’s brief for a single-storey bungalow house is unusual, and reflects a nonchalant attitude towards the mainstream practice of maximising the allowable buildable area granted by the authority. The house is designed in an orthogonal ‘doughnut’ shape, with the interior spaces surrounding a central open courtyard. The ‘doughnut’ configuration allows the owner to enjoy a secured outdoor space inside the building during the evenings after work, while the roof laid with timber deck above the living/dining space is an ‘outdoor living/dining space’ during parties and gathering. The living/dining space make up the front of the house that opens up to the road along the front boundary. A wall-to-wall timber deck strip aligns each side of the living/dining space where one could sit to enjoy the front garden and the courtyard, not unlike the ‘engawa’ concept of the traditional Japanese house, which is a transitory space between the ‘inside’ and the ‘outside’. Full-height glass sliding panels open the interior and the central courtyard to the public unapprehensively to blend the exterior into the interior. Natural light abounds the interior and constant breeze of fresh air is a given for the abode. An overhanging canopy floats in front of the entrance door to create a weightless statement in contrast to the grounded house form. The white colour with black colour such as ‘gargoyles’ and window frames as accentuation is a tribute towards the black and white colonial bungalows which are significant in Singapore.