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
Valcucine presents the New Logica System as part of a world tour, Kitchen, Soul, Design L’Italia che Vive, a twelve-month journey throughout all of 2013. Five stops: Milan, London, New York, Moscow, and Shanghai. It’s an international tour that will show the industry’s leading international professionals the ingenuity, creativity, and overall excellence of Italian kitchen manufacturers.
After having revolutionised ergonomics by presenting the Logica System in 1996 with its 80cm depth and equipped back section, removable jumbo drawers and wall units with Ala and Aerius lift-up doors, Valcucine is now presenting the new equipped back section. The back section is capable of containing and concealing, when necessary, all the kitchen equipment: the dish-drainer, weighing scales, small appliances, removable cooking receptacles, bottle-racks, power sockets, a monitor, a kitchen roll holder, the tap, hooks for utensils and even a cooker hood. Everything on hand, everything tidy in an instant.
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
Dutch designer Richard Hutten has been invited to guest curate the interior of the Sonneveld House by altering the original layout with his own product designs.
The Sonneveld House Museum stands adjacent to the NAI on the corner of Jongkindstraat and Rochussenstraat in Rotterdam. Built in the early nineteen thirties, it is one of the best-preserved houses in the Nieuwe Bouwen style, the Dutch branch of the International School of Modernism. It was designed by the architecture firm of Brinkman & Van der Vlugt, also known for the Van Nelle Factory and Feyenoord Stadium. The Sonneveld House opened to the public as a house museum of the NAI in March 2001, following a period of intensive restoration and refurbishment. As a visitor, you can see for yourself what it was like to live in a hypermodern home in 1933.
The project is the design of a 1,280 sq.ft. condo, located on the ground floor of a triplex in Montreal. The mandate was to divide each living area in order to maximize while maintaining the architectural integrity of the existing location, each room with natural light. The concept was to highlight the raw materials, discovered during the demolition (brick wall, wall hemlock and steel structure), in order to communicate their material, their relief and color environment.
Upon entering the hall is semi-closed hall, so that it has an overview of the condo. The open kitchen is the focal point of the space; it unfolds on the dining room and living room, where the master bedroom fits. It is bounded by a glass wall which preserves the view of the bare brick; an archaeological reminder wanting to highlight the existing raw materials as an exhibitor showcase. A green velvet sofa, two vintage chairs and a bookshelf that leans against the bedroom wall bound the living room.
On the ground, a radiant hot water heating system was installed under a concrete slab which was covered by a light gray epoxy and polyurethane matt finish to replicate the natural color of concrete. The primary and secondary bedrooms, as well as the bathroom, are glossy white epoxy to distinguish the private area of the common space. The steel beam, flameproof, delimits the passage area. In the corridor leading to the bathroom, a light-emitting diode was installed in the recessed ceiling for a more intimate setting, which features the original hemlock wall.
Tone on tone, glossy black kitchen cabinets and electrical appliances are blended. The cooktop with integrated sub-hood, allows maximum exposure of brick wall, the backsplash, lit by a light-emitting diode recessed in counter. The dining table becomes the visual continuity of the kitchen island. In the bathroom, custom-made stainless steel countertop and bath rectilinear shapes are stacked on each other, forming a sculptural composition. On the floor, a white epoxy and in the shower a dark grey epoxy were applied. The contrast between these two colors form a psychological boundary of two areas: one is clear and bright, the other, darker, creating a private area for the shower and toilet. The window allows natural light in the room while preserving the intimacy of the space, with a frosted film.
Espace St-Denis, Montreal, Canada, by Anne Sophie Goneau
Casa Pinheiro, São Paulo, Brazil, by Studio MK27 – Marcio Kogan, Photography © FG+SG – Fernando Guerra
For the month of contemporary art, Gallery S. Bensimon invites the Mexican sculptor Sebastian to present an exhibition of his work, convertible for children sculptures and bronze series “Quantum”. The sculptor place in his creations mathematical laws or generally fundamental laws, including balance and strength. The exhibition will be an opportunity to discover parts which have been investigated both in formal terms, as color or material.
Sculpture, by Sebastian, October 24 – December 10 at Gallery S. Bensimon, 111 rue de Turenne 75003 Paris
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
Night photographs of the Brazilian capital created by architectural photographer Andrew Prokos are among this year’s winners at the International Photography Awards competition. Entitled “Niemeyer’s Brasilia” the series of photographs capture the surreal architecture of Oscar Niemeyer, who shaped the Brazilian capital for over 50 years.
“I became fascinated by Oscar Niemeyer’s buildings as works of art in themselves, and the fact that Niemeyer had unprecedented influence over the architecture of the capital during his long lifetime” says photographer Andrew Prokos. Niemeyer, who passed away in 2012 at the age of 104, was Brazil’s best known architect and the designer of the United Nations buildings in New York.
Niemeyer’s Brasilia, Photography © Andrew Prokos