The focus on “Vertical Net Structures” for the DRX 2013 was a continuation of last year’s investigation into innovative structures for the design of high-rise buildings. Driven by the increasing demand for supertall buildings, we developed integral structures that define interesting interior spaces through controlled articulation without compromising the integrity of the system. Questions of structure, circulation and program distribution had to be addressed in a prototypical building of approximately 450m height.
The aim was to understand forces as vectors in order to develop 3-dimensional spatial nets. These systems were developed and based on profound research in various areas such as high-rise structural systems, natural systems as well as form-finding techniques. Throughout the DRX, these systems were further informed and transformed into highly constrained, feasible proposals for tall buildings.
Vertical Net Structures DRX 2013, at HENN
Designed for a young active family of four, the principal living spaces of the home are organized around a two storey exterior void within the main volume of the building. Planted with bamboo and glazed on either side, this cutout serves to create separation between spaces without fully disengaging them from one another. On the main floor, the bamboo garden subtly divides the kitchen/dining space from the living area- a dynamic that serves the family well with their busy and differing schedules. On the upper floor, the tall bamboo from below screens the master bedroom sleeping and change area from its adjoining bathroom. These two spaces are connected with a glazed bridge. Light and shadow animate the white walls by the passing sun as it enters through the large skylight above the central staircase. Windows and doors are calibrated to capture the natural light and views to the garden and mountains beyond. On the building’s west elevation, large sliding glass doors activate the adjacent patios allowing space to flow from inside to out, and all at once the space becomes pavilion-like with its ample porosity. In contrast, the street elevation on the north reads more formally with its cedar and concrete walls stretching out horizontally across the site and into the landscape. Due to site constraints, there is no usable back yard, so the front serves as a playing field for the client’s two boys. A simple interior palette consisting of concrete floors, white lacquered and oak cabinets and white walls serve to strengthen the clarity and purity of the spaces and allows the vibrancy of the the natural environment and landscape features to pervade.
Findlay Residence, North Vancouver, Canada, by Splyce Design
Ramat Hasharon House 13, Isreal, by Pitsou Kedem Architect
The house takes up its position, back facing the other houses, and simply embraces the entire horizon. The architect has limited terrain to work on. The trick however is to release all the emotions of the place: opening or splitting, reflecting infinity. Space and time are two infinite things that pass us by. Architecture, however, enables us to model space and set time, like a sundial. It can also embody a third infinite thing: beauty. The white walls are blank pages for nature’s expression. The Sabine is a slow-growing pine, recounting the story of an ancient world.
Infinity, Baleares, Spain, by Atelier d’Architecture Bruno Erpicum & Partners
Photography © Jean-Luc Laloux
It is said that 6 degrees of association separates every human on earth from another. The Gordons Bay House asks how 6 degrees of separation might negotiate a web of complex associations in order to produce an architecture that works for a wide group of people. Set on the hillside overlooking Gordons Bay, the design consists of three levels, each level alternatively offset from the boundary by six degrees. These devices allow the project to avoid stepping on neighbour’s toes, without compromising the quality of the dwelling. The alternating levels all pivot around a dramatic double height gallery stairwell that accommodates the client’s extensive collection of artwork and draws light and air through the centre of the dwelling.
The architecture is embraced and enhanced by landscaping designed by Terragram. A generous lawn is surrounded by edible plants, trees, vegetables and herbs, and the public lane to the south has been enhanced with endemic flowering plants. Built to last, the house uses off-form concrete slabs and edge beams allowing the structure to cantilever gracefully. This palette of materials, as well as the use of aluminium louvers, new and salvaged timbers, and sandstone all elegantly speaks of its seaside setting.
Gordon’s Bay House, Sydney, Australia, by Luigi Rosselli Architects
Situated in Melbourne’s inner-city suburb of Kensington, ‘The Mullet’ performs contorted gymnastics in order to facilitate an ambitious brief on a small, yet opportunistic site. The clients, Scott Smith and Phoebe Moore, wanted to commission not only a new and comfortable home, but also sought a challenging design. Running a family business in construction, Scott and Phoebe’s own home would become an opportunity for them to showcase their own capabilities. A Heritage overlay shaped the design for the front of the dwelling, requiring that the cottage façade and first few rooms flanking Hardiman Street be retained and renovated, (red roof and all.) This is where the formality is, the face to the heritage land of Eastwood Street blends seamlessly with its cottage neighbours. Three bedrooms and two bathrooms are resolved into the pre-determined Edwardian shell, freeing up the new extension for the living areas.
The ‘fun’ begins to emerge when rounding Hardiman Street. “I don’t like it” – says one of the locals half way through construction. “It’s not in keeping with the area…” The new extension is not meant to be sympathetic to an older style but rather been shaped by the clients’ brief, solar access and one of Melbourne’s best views back onto the city. The balancing act that the local resident detested emerged when the brief called for off-street parking. The house would straddle the parking area, and even with the grade of Hardiman Street to advantage, excavation was unavoidable. Since a digger would be coming to site anyway, the opportunity to dig a little deeper and sink a large concrete box (along with the children in it) was far too good to refuse. Buried within the concrete box is the rumpus room, wine cellar, laundry, and an additional bathroom. The box is capped with a concrete lid and garnished with strategically placed, trafficable glass skylights. The monolithic form anchors the new building into the side of the hill and is finished internally by the rough reality of building – and being – underground.
The concrete lid of the concrete box is not only the ceiling for below, but also the floor in both the kitchen and exterior deck. The pivot around which the other spaces are spun, the kitchen serves all parts of the house, while the dining and living areas are tucked up above the garage and closer to the night sky of Melbourne’s city lights. Timber battens clad the extension, wrapping the three spaces together and providing a linear base for the last hovering piece. Soaring above the living spaces is the black zinc roof. On the northern edge the roof is pulled up to increase natural light to the northwest corner, and pushed down to the neighbouring building on Hardiman Street on the northeast, so as not to overshadow it. On the south side, the operation is reversed, and the southwest corner is lifted to create a framed view of the city. This simple twisting operation grabs light and views from two corners and anchors the remaining two with rain heads falling to collection tanks. The action and drama of the twist is expressed and amplified on the ceiling below by a series of hand-plugged timber battens.
The Mullet, Melbourne, Australia, by March Studio, Photography © John Gollings
Casa Pinheiro, São Paulo, Brazil, by Studio MK27 – Marcio Kogan, Photography © FG+SG – Fernando Guerra
Summer in the Greek islands is all about being outside. The aim of the Plane House is to merge internal and external space, maximising the benefits of both and minimising the impact on the surrounding landscape.
To avoid block volumes that split and dominate space, horizontal planes are inserted into the slope, immediately providing levels for sunbathing, sleeping and eating, as well as vast, open area of shade. They cool and shade the space beneath whilst allowing the flow of sunlight and maintaining the stunning 270 degree view over the coastline. Space between the planes is defined by various flexible panels and glazed screens. Designated cooking, eating and relaxation zones are offset from each other to provide cosiness without sacrificing openness.
The pool is strategically placed to enjoy the view but also to create a cooling breeze over the terrace and into the house as the north wind flows uphill and over its surface. Photovoltaic panels power the pool mechanics and grey-water is recycled and used for irrigation, toilet flushing and fire extinguishing. The landscape is respected and continues over the green roof plane, creeps up along the site boundaries and penetrates vertically through the roof as existing trees stand in the space, undisturbed.
The powerful identity of the concrete planes creates a strong narrative on approaching the house from the coastal road that winds below. From a distance the planes are distinctively separated but as you draw nearer and approach the house from the side, the perspective alters closing the gap between them. On arrival and on entering the space they part once more, opening to reveal the breathtaking view and let the fresh air flow through.
Plane House, by K Studio
Concrete envelops the building, like weathered skin tanned by Portugal’s climate. The skin has wrinkles and flaws that trap the light. This denotes its strength of character. Below the day zone exposed to air and light, lies an underground family room. It acts as a rest-stop before reaching the bedrooms. The sofa invites us to sit for a moment and unravel the secrets of the raw material, the only décor. The bedroom includes a bath and shower. Everything is incorporated into a single room to save on space. This is what counts. The central block of the day zone supports the roof, like an umbrella encircled by a crown of luminosity. In the dead of the night, you may well think a star has landed on earth.
Rainha, Portugal, by Atelier d’Architecture Bruno Erpicum & Partners
Photography © Jean-Luc Laloux