Designed for a young family in the suburban area of Rondebosch, Cape Town, this house sits on an elongated site with views towards Devil’s Peak and The Back Table, which is the south-eastern edge of the iconic Table Mountain. The client’s brief called for a contemporary, open plan home that provides a relaxed lifestyle and takes advantage of the site and its views. The resultant form is a minimal white box containing the bedroom accommodation on the first floor, hovering over the living spaces on the ground floor below. This box was articulated with strategic openings maximising views and exposure to light, with a central courtyard carved out adjacent to the kitchen and dining room to create a focal point. The mass of the floating box is broken down on the street façade with a dramatic screen wall which creates an open-air terrace for the guest wing of the house. The screen offers privacy from the street while allowing views and light to permeate and is constructed from standard pre-cast concrete breeze blocks reminiscent of a bygone era.
FIRTH 114802, Cape Town, South Africa, by Three14 Architects
Red Hill residence is composed of two intersecting forms – a single storey steel and glass pavilion and a two storey metal clad bedroom wing. Simple, clean spaces are framed by the textural quality of rendered masonry, plywood ceilings, insitu terrazzo flooring and exposed steel columns. Internal spaces flow directly onto expansive, external timber decking and secluded paved courtyards.
Red Hill Residence, Red Hill, Australia, by SJB
Photography by Peter Clarke Photography
Tel Aviv Flat, Rothschild Boulevard, by Pitsou Kedem Architect
The requirements: DASA house required continuous open spaces, a complete physical and visual communication with exterior areas, a full room with independent access from the main home, and an upstairs entertainment area accessible and communicated from every other space in the home. The materials used were to be minimal and simple, thus the use of steel, concrete and glass were predominant. DATRI house, on the other hand, required more spread out spaces and, different from neighboring DASA, that they be partitioned and differentiated from one another. It was important that the spatial experience of this home was such that space would be discovered as one moved from one space to another. In this case, there was an explicit demand for noticeable finishes to the interior that would mostly be covered by the use of simple materials. The challenge: designing two weekend houses for two brothers with different tastes and requirements who shared an objective: common use of exterior areas where DASA house would contribute its terrace and grill, while DATRI house would share its pool and storage place as contributions to the synergy of the complex.
The proposal: the design of a two home complex.
Materially, and with the intention of obeying structural conditions, it was sought for the ground floor of both houses to be visibly is made of concrete. This made it easier for the ground floor to also play a role in strengthening the foundations of both houses and countering the gravitational pull of the cantilever used in the second floor. The volumes of the second floors are made up of various solid and closed form trapezoid bodies made up of exposed brick walls.
DATRI & DASA Homes, Tepeji del Rio, Hidalgo, Mexico, by [mavarq]
Photography by Jaime Navarro Casa
House and Studio YC is divided into five main bodies, each isolated from the other, with its own orientation and its own views to the exterior. The building is situated in the center of the plot, respecting the limits for construction and plot ratio. The house rises as a single body. Its shape is influenced by physical and morphological conditions and by the program. Building geometry is divided into five main bodies or pavilions separated by patios and all connected by a central distributor that serves the different rooms.
House & Studio YC, Barcelona, Spain, by RTA-Office
Photography by Lorenzo Vecchia
Straddling freshwater wetlands and a tidal estuary just six feet above sea level, this house’s site demands extraordinary sensitivity to environmental concerns. Local zoning restricts the structure’s maximum coverage and proximity to wetlands areas, while FEMA requirements set the first floor structure above the base flood elevation. The house’s basic massing is therefore predetermined, limited to a one story, 1,900 square foot design, raised eight feet above the ground. The spaces within this envelope are arranged, articulated, and fenestrated based on an innovative structural system that infuses the house’s inner areas with light and circulating air.
Without occupying any of the limited allowed coverage, these open areas add considerable value by improving the house’s interior environmental quality and diminishing its impact on the local environment. The benefit is threefold: each opening draws light though the interior spaces to the carport below, conducts rainwater from the roof deck to the ground via integral downspouts carved into the piles, and ventilates by siphoning air through the middle of the structure.
At the roof the projecting piles divide the space between a deck directly coinciding with the living areas below and a modular planting system installed above each bedroom to reduce runoff. The projecting piles also serve as supports for photovoltaics that power geothermal pumps, utilizing the abundance of high ground water to heat and cool the house. At the ground level, the space below the house is utilized for parking and storage to minimize the footprint on the site.
Northwest Harbor House, East Hampton, New York, by Bates Masi + Architects
Just off Stevens Road is this Zen-inspired dwelling with strong architectural lines and shapes that are further accentuated by the materials used. Comprising two main volumes, the front block houses the social spots, such as the living and formal dining areas, whilst service functions are relegated to the back, along with the kitchen. Although visually similar, the blocks are distinguished by texture – the social activity block is clad in granite and the service block in fare-faced concrete.
The design brief called for all spaces on the ground floor to form a cohesive whole so that when all doors are open on the ground floor, the individual spaces merge into a one – starting from the lap pool and garden at the entrance, to the living room in the front block and all the way to the kitchen in the rear block. A reflective pool divides the two main blocks and sits at the base of a sheer three-storey-high void that reaches the roof. This void forms the home’s visual and spatial centre and also works as a means of drawing up hot air so that the cooler air can rush in to keep temperatures low.
The master bedroom sits on the second floor of the main social volume, whilst the master bathroom as well as the children’s bedrooms are to the back. In the attic floor above is an additional bedroom and number of multipurpose spaces. Adjoining terraces and open decks lined in artificial grass make the rooftop an interesting space where lines between indoor and outdoor space are blurred.
With its natural textures and abundance of greenery, it is the adherence to minimalist design that forms the essence of this modern family home, thus providing its inhabitants with a relaxing, spacious abode to return to at the end of the day.
66MRN-House, Singapore, by ONG&ONG
Photography by Derek Swalwell
The rationale was to improve the house by simplification and maximise the outdoor experience on a tight site with neighbours in very close proximity. One solution was to replace all upper level external walls to the courtyard with a fully operable facade, when closed this emulates the weather boards of the original cottage. The main bathroom spills out onto the upper balcony, the doors completely retreating within the wall cavity, creating a private outdoor bathroom experience. The stairs were replaced with a new elongated stair spine along the southern boundary connecting the three levels. Joinery wraps under and over the stair filling the cavities with much needed storage space. The stairs are bounded by a smooth concrete stucco wall which disperses shadows and light from the glazed roof overhead.
The original front two bedroom remain in tact, while the reminder of the house has been reorganised to address the courtyard and increase the perception of space. On the upper level windows have been expanded to appreciate the the outlook across the harbour to the iconc Sydney Harbour Bridge. The walls on the ground floor were removed and replaced with a sliding glazed panel system. A small level shift of three stairs demarcates the kitchen from the main living and dining rooms. The relationship from the living room to the courtyard is slightly sunken. A joinery unit edges this transition, doubling as a bench seat on grade with the courtyard. The dining room joinery reinforces this datum through a change in material creating a horizontal split.
Birchgrove House, Sydney, Australia, by Nobbs Radford Architects
A narrow, dense lot called for design solutions that supported the owners’ open, casual lifestyle at the same time it created a dramatic, luxurious and intensely built space. The single family residential structure rises three levels, straight up, to afford city views; yet spaces flow openly between a formal living room, the inviting family area and the all-out glamour of the dramatic central staircase. Walls assert impose sculptural volume in steel, glass, stone and colored concrete, yet create light and delicacy that veil the structure’s intense efficiency and multi-level volume.
Casa ML, Mexico City, by Gantous Arquitectos
Photography by Michael Calderwood