The Balint House is a two-storey dwelling with a sinous elliptical shape. The volume is placed leaving as much free surface as possible towards the southern edge of the plot for it to be used as a garden, while the lateral limits are blurred with vegetation. The other elements that compose the urbanization resemble the curved nature of the place’s topography. Accordingly, a crescent-shaped swimming pool shadows the structure itself, while the surrounding garden echoes the shape as well.
Balint House, Valencia, Spain, by Fran Silvestre Arquitectos
Photography by Diego Opazo
The arrival at House B+B – the access to the social area – is through an architectural trajectory, via an open ramp, located on the eastern side of the construction. This space is protected by hollowed-out concrete elements to the side, which create surprising effects of light and end up functioning as protection from bad weather conditions. It is an interstitial space between the protected inside of the construction and the open garden. The ramp, long and smooth, extends the transition from interior to exterior creating the constant sensation of environment changing. This solution was vastly used by Brazilian modernism, which consecrated the radical use of ramps as a way of vertical circulation while reaffirming the Corbusian precepts of architectural promenade.
Limited views and access to the garden resulted in the rooms beings dark, and thus the clients main request was to transform this house into a light-filled open plan contemporary home. A framework of steel columns and beams surround the entrance while louvered planes conceal the four garages and floating roofs. It’s as if each plane whether wall, roof or floor has been intentionally treated differently either in material, texture or colour creating a unique entrance design.
By incorporating large glass sliding doors Werner van der Meulen ensured that just about every room has direct access onto the garden while the double volume living spaces and high level windows add a dimension of spaciousness to this predominantly single storey house. The inclusion of a new study located on the first floor allowed for the staircase to become an architectural feature in the home, built as a mezzanine overlooking the garden and family room. Framed by grey tinted glass, the steel staircase fluidly yet privately connects the study to the living room below.
Indoor /outdoor and open plan living is a trademark that Nico van der Meulen Architects for many years, and this is most often achieved with extensive use of glass and steel throughout their designs. As is the case with House Sar, making use of expanses of glass ensures maximized views of the garden all the while allowing natural light and ventilation to flood the rooms. The lanai overlooks both swimming pool and water feature creating a contemporary landscape to compliment this modern home.
House Sar, Johannesburg, South Africa, by Nico van der Meulen Architects
Finnish practice K2S architects has designed the floating headquarters of arctia shipping, an icebreaking company who are based in eastern helsinki’s katajanokka neighborhood. Referencing the scheme’s close proximity to water, the building’s horizontal massing and customized black steel façades relate to the hulls of the adjacent ships. These elevations feature an abstracted motif which refers to ice crystals and textile patterns commonly attributed to sailors. Internally, the scheme is constructed from lacquered wood, which directly relates to the country’s ship building traditions. An integrated water ballast system ensures that the buoyant office remains at the same level as the dock.
Tetris House, Finland, Helsinki, by K2S architects
Photography by Mika Huisman, Marko Huttunen
A wooden volume in line with the eastern façade – with a little more 2.85m high and 19m long – rests within a ceiling height of 5.15m and 11.75 in the front. Configuring a permeable space between the entrance and the back of the lot, the living room is the emptiness that results from this organization of the plan on this lot. The space is delimited – together with the eastern façade – by a wooden shelf that contains the library and a fireplace.
The wooden Box on the lot shelters on the inside, the washroom, the stairs and the dining room, which opens entirely to the ample garden in the back, like an esplanade (terrace), looking from the inside in. (de dentro para dentro) The ceiling of this living room, a slatted wooden lining – creates a cozy, intimate sensation, contrasting with the spatial sensation of larger monumentality of the lot. The four bedrooms, including a master suite looking out to the garden in the back, are on the floor upstairs.The seals – such as the wooden slats that function as a filter applied to movable panels – were designed to create greater comfort for the inner spaces. The sun’s heat, when the panels are closed, is retained by this type of brise soleil, while the wind continuesto chill the inside.
Tetris House, Sao Paulo, Brazil, by Studio MK27
Photography by Fernando Guerra
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.
The custom stainless steel clips that attach the wide cedar board siding to the walls were designed to prolong the life of the siding. Traditional wood siding eventually fails because the natural expansion and contraction of the wood is constricted by the screws or nails that rigidly fasten it in place, slowly pulling out the fasteners or splitting the wood. The spring-like clips, however, hold the boards in tension against the house while allowing freedom for the natural movement of the wood.
Elisabeth II, Amagansett, New York, by Bates Masi + Architects
The client wanted a cabin for the whole family, but at the same time it needed to be divisible in some way. The solution was a cluster of three structures, which can be used individually. Each of the buildings is defined as a clarified geometric volume, organized around the outdoor area that binds them together as one unit. Toward the northeast, a hill borders and defines the site, together with the view in the opposite direction. The spatial interaction between landscape and the structure creates a beneficial microclimate. This is reflected by the structures’ southwest orientation, where the gable end is glazed. In the other directions the buildings appear more closed.
Micro Cluster Cabins, Norway, by Reiulf Ramstad
Photography by Gessato
The Loftcube based on the new urban concept to establish rooftop living on high rised buildings around the world has now been installed on top of the Hotel Daniel in Graz. The interior of the 1950s hotel building has been designed by studio aisslinger in 2005 and won in 2006 the expo real “hotel of the year” award. Now finally the unique 44 square meters loftcube featuring all-round panoramic views like to the Graz clock tower or Schloss Eggenberg has found its way to the rooftop. A unique nomadic architecture on an iconic building will be a new Graz attraction. The special Hotel Daniel – loftcube also tops everything in terms of its furnishings and appointments, including a specially made bed measuring 2,20 x 2,20m, a jungle feeling in the huge raindance shower, a comfy sofa unit and a superb home cinema experience.
Located on the Alentejo Coast, the Monte Novo da Cruz is a rural property strongly characterized by a gently undulating land with slopes sometimes relevant. The presence of a curtain of high trees along the south-eastern perimeter of the site and a dense vegetation near a south-western stream stand out in the landscape. In the centre of the property, in a high position, there is an old rural construction in an advanced state of degradation.
The proposal for the Monte Novo da Cruz seeks to establish a contrast dialogue between the existing and the new building which sometimes merge with each other, creating a smooth transition between the past and the present. This relationship is materialized through two types of intervention, placed at different levels on the ground: In the upper level, the intervention consists on recovering and expanding the existing building for owners’ house. The planimetric composition is made up by a succession of spaces, which ends with a double height common lounge with a central fireplace. On the north-west side are located the main entrance and supporting spaces intercalated with small garden courtyards for natural lighting and ventilation. On the south-east side, to the contrary, are located the main spaces overlooking the garden and pool.
In the lower level, the intervention results in a new independent building that adapts to the topography of the site and uses the slope of the ground to differentiate the owners’ house of the guest areas. This long volume, half-buried and perpendicular to the line of trees, preserves the scale of the house and reinforces the verticality of vegetation. Its unique façade is characterized both by a wide opening framing vistas of the landscape as well as by a stand-alone pergola reducing the amount of direct sunlight coming inside the rooms and providing privacy for guests. At the level of arrival the building is almost imperceptible to the eye, only a long terrace with seating areas for contemplation of the surrounding nature is visible.
Pe No Monte Rural Tourism, Odemira, Portugal, by [i]da Arquitectos
Photography by Joao Morgado