Top to bottom: endless sky, commanding trees, house and wild vines. The home humbly nestles into this order… The entire length of the house opens up to the expanse of vineyard before your eyes. Yet a lintel overhanging the plate glass window marks the border between homely serenity and the melee of vines… Breakwater: at the foot of the dining room, large rocks turn back the momentous tide of nature… Space is not distance, it’s infinity… The desks in the children’s rooms overlook the vineyard, their heritage.
Rian House in France, by Atelier d’Architecture Bruno Erpicum & Partners
Photography by Jean-Luc LALOUX
For this residence, light, transparency and continued spacial flow was vital. Privacy was also a concern since the residence is located in a tight urban location. The solution was to create open, fluid interior spaces, both horizontally and vertically and then to wrap it all in white masonry. This white veil is scored with window bands that allow abundant natural light, yet because of strategic locating, provide privacy and eliminate the need for window treatments. The light filled white interior is strengthened by the use of reflective white surfaces and the use of glass railings. The main central stairs is clad in glass, both clear and opaque to again maintain privacy but allow natural light.
Bucktown Three Residence, Chicago, IL, United States, by Studio Dwell Architects
Photography by Marty Peters
This one-bedroom house is located on an agricultural property in Sonoma owned by two scientists. We were asked for a structure that would take advantage of hillside views and integrate more sustainable utilities over the 25-acre site. Energy is now supplied by a new solar array, sized to power the entire property and all buildings and equipment.
At a mere 850-square foot, the house is situated at the top of an olive orchard where breezes and shade are maximized. We also made sure to exploit the open area so that no hardwood trees were removed. The goal was to emphasize outdoor living areas that would be intimate for two people but accommodate larger groups for entertaining.
Anchored into the steep hillside with a series of concrete retaining walls and cascading exterior decks, the structure has a much grander presence than one would assume from its size. A site strategy of cascading spaces embracing the slope and relating the inside and outside at every level is an ambitious concept, yet one least intrusive to the natural topography. The circulation always directs one to the open views, while the fenestration protects from the hot southern sun in favor of soft northern light. The fun of living there is in the plentitude of special openings, details, and secret nooks that allow many options for places to be at different times of day.
House in an Olive Grove, Sonoma, California, by Cooper Joseph Studio
Photography by Elliott Kaufman Photography & Cooper Joseph Studio
On the boundary of abstraction, this lamp, thought as a picture consists of a succession of plans, staging materials and their plastic quality. The light appears in a slit like in an open door, putting together the poetry of the forms and the preciosity of the materials. This sculptural lamp is the formal vision of a dreamed freedom.
Nightfall on Livingstone, by Numéro 111
The Tub chair was definitely a unique fusion where Wegner emerged the new moulding plywood technique with upholstery and traditional wood work in solid wood even adding an angle adjustment mechanism for the back. There is no doubt that the complexity of this design is a brilliant example of the bold and pioneering experiments that Wegner conducted throughout his life, this from 1954 being one of the earliest and the Circle Chair from 1986 being the latest of that kind.
“These chairs are important because they are outstanding and unique examples of Wegner’s work with easy chairs, but also because they are unique examples of good design in general. They offer inspiration with pioneering concepts, and they do it as extremely good quality products that are comfortable and will last for a lifetime. The origin of the name ‘Tub Chair’ certainly refers to the shape of the back shell. It was never given a number. We will give it the model number 530.” explains Master of Craftsmen Kasper Holst Pedersen, PP Møbler.
Tub Chair, by Hans Wegner, for PP Møbler
Photography by Anders Hybel Brauner
The dramatic site within an isolated, disused quarry on the edge of the Brecon National Park demanded an architectural intervention of elegant simplicity. With a modest budget and to counter the construction complexities associated with touching the quarry walls, we developed an object building suspended within the basin – collecting light and focusing on distant views like a camera Obscura. We chose to ‘touch the ground lightly’ to heighten the spatial drama and tension between an isolated pure form and the static noise of the exposed rock face. The new home will be constructed of in-situ concrete for the first floor cantilever slab. A combined heat recovery unit will be used in conjunction with high performance insulated structural panels (SIP) – for the walls and 2nd floor, all helping to achieve a high level of thermal efficiency and air tightness. The passive strategies employed emphasise the importance of maximising long-lasting energy performance improvements to the fabric of a dwelling, before adding the optimum renewable solution.
House for a Photographer, Pontypridd, Wales, by Hyde+Hyde Architects
Doshi Levien (Nipa Doshi and Jonathan Levien) has conceived a set of storage cabinets that resemble the improvised dwellings fundamentally found in developing countries across the globe. London studio’s ‘Shanty’ storage units for BD barcelona feature monochromatic or colorful corrugated patchworks on their façades, disguising rationally and carefully considered volumes within for hiding belongings.
Shanty Storage Cabinet, by Doshi Levien, for BD Barcelona
An apartment built on the mezzanine level of a building overlooking the square that symbolises the city of Turin, Piazza San Carlo erected by the Dukes of Savoy and in particular Maria Cristina di Francia, who reigned as “Madama Reale” during the first half of the 17th century, turns into a modern-day theatre representing a certain idea of the bourgeois home, the home of the Turin professional middle classes, through its spaces and the furniture inside it, all embodying reassuring engineering precision and subtle concerns.
The building plan, characterised by a tunnel-shaped progression from the rear to the drawing room facing the square, the windows opening onto the square itself with their given shape and size of the “oculus” on the building facades marking the perimeter, and the need to set out the relational spaces in the living quarters as zones and premises that (to a greater or lesser degree) can be seen from outside, provide the initial input for the construction of a vaguely metaphysical home environment.
Apartment at Turin, Italy, by Andrea Marcante & Adelaide Testa
Photography by Carola Ripamonti
Richard Pare’s fascination with modernist architecture shines through his vast collection of images taken over several decades. Living Laboratory will illustrate how he photographs buildings, taking care to reveal both their many subtleties and magnificent monumentality. Pare’s perceptive point of view brings into play dramatic use of light, (always achieved with no supplemental lighting) as well as varied weather conditions and seasons.
To achieve his images he deploys a wide range of technical approaches, combining conventional film and a view camera with the latest advances in digital image making. These state-of-the-art aspects of his work serve to highlight the majesty of his subjects without in any way overwhelming the purposes of the undertaking. He is also attentive to the effects of the passage of time and changing social conditions on the works he chooses to portray. The absence of human beings, coupled with signs of wear and decay, including creeping vegetation and the lingering evidence of past eras, emphasise the impermanence of seemingly solid structures and their struggle for survival.
While Pare’s work covers many subjects, Living Laboratory reveals his admiration for Le Corbusier and Konstantin Melnikov, two of the finest and earliest proponents of modernist principles in architecture.
Living Laboratory: Richard Pare on Le Corbusier and Konstantin Melnikov, March 21 – May 11, 2014, PM Gallery & House, London, United Kingdom
Photography by Richard Pare