Designed by Alfredo Häberli Design Development to showcase the exceptional craftsmanship of German company Baufritz’s timber homes, the project features a main building (“the Flagship”) and a separate adjacent structure that sits atop a wide column.
The house is situated in a residential allotment with “bungalow” houses from the early sixties, surrounded by dunes, not far from the Belgian seaside. To bring the house into accordance with the surrounding houses and the environment and to answer to the building regulations, the design of the house was inspired by the bungalow typology. At first glance it looks like a single story house.
Next to the strict building regulations the residents had very specific demands; they wanted to live on the same level as the street, but they did not want passersby to be able to look inside. On the other hand they also wanted the possibility of inviting people, giving them all comfort, without loosing their own privacy.
The concept of the residence starts from a horizontal concrete plateau that cantilevers against a concrete conical wall. Underground, on the other side of the wall, two hidden rooms with patios provide a counterweight to the horizontal plateau. This conceptual approach answers the specific and seemingly contradictory demands. The bungalow is situated on the new concrete plateau hidden behind the concrete wall. It is carried by the platform, and can thus extend beyond that of the neighbors. It has a completely open view over the allotment behind the house and seems to release itself from the latter.
The original site slopes down a full level compared to the rear of the garden.The platform, a table/land, allows the surrounding terrain to remain naturally rough (another building restriction). The main living areas seem to float over the landscape. On the other side, they are embedded in the gardenscape and connected to the street level.
The plateau covers a carport situated on the lower basement level. The ramp with concrete staircase next to the slope leads to the entrance of 2 studios and the carport. For reasons of privacy, the studios with bathroom and kitchen are situated in front of the conical wall. A cutout in the horizontal surface has been made for these rooms that each have a courtyard providing air and light. This way, both studios can have big windows while preserving a sense of privacy and intimacy.
The positioning of the bungalow on the plateau creates large terraces for the residence (in the back as well as in the front) which can be used as an evening streetside terrace. The terrace is shielded by the conical wall, which is provided with a composition of cutouts devised to provide the residence with ample light, optimal view and elegant passage. This wall ensures the privacy of the residents while guaranteeing well-choosen views towards the street and the dunes.
Villa CD, Oostduinkerke, Belgium, by Office O architects
Photography by Tim Van de Velde
For its seventh furniture series, MANIERA invited the American designer Jonathan Muecke to a residency in Belgium. The one-week stay was to take place in specific architectural surroundings with the aiming of being an inspiring source for the designer, as Henry Van de Velde’s Wolfers House was for Richard Venlet’s MANIERA 03. From a number of possibilities that MANIERA offered Muecke, the designer almost immediately chose the Van Wassenhove House by the Belgian architect Juliaan Lampens.
Jonathan Muecke & Juliaan Lampens, Maniera Gallery
Francisco Artigas was a man of order. The many modernist houses he designed in the 1950s and ’60s were as strict and exacting as his wardrobe, as tidy as his soap dish. The majority of these were in Mexico City, at the Gardens of El Pedregal subdivision developed after World War II by Mexico’s most acclaimed architect, Luis Barragán. 3 Artigas reportedly designed and built more than fifty houses there, making him the Pedregal’s most prolific architect by far. 4 (By contrast, Barragán produced no more than a half dozen buildings for the Pedregal, and only one of these, the Prieto López House, remains intact.) The houses Artigas built were occupied by top professionals, business leaders, powerful political families, film stars, and other native and foreign elites. They were featured in popular Mexican movies of the era and reproduced in newspapers and magazines around the country and beyond. 5 These cool, crystalline pavilions represent the glamour, optimism, and excess of their time and place much as the Beaux-Arts mansions of Newport, Rhode Island, or the modernist villas of Palm Springs, California, embody theirs. Their architect, however, though admired by well-informed mid-century modern enthusiasts, remains essentially unknown to a larger public. He is well worth a look.
Working in the context of the renewal of a derelict urban heritage property, the approach to this project began with considerations of typology, density and affordability. Key to this was the appropriate adaptation of a Federation-style cottage into a home for two musicians that allowed for future flexibility, and that made the most of its constraints both of site and budget. The result is the transformation of a derelict property into an open, light-filled home for two musicians.
The starting point was a dilapidated, water-damaged house containing a warren of dark and uninhabitable rooms. The rear portion was demolished to provide a series of open living spaces in its place. Located in an area undergoing rapid renewal, the design takes advantage of the detached cottage typology. The narrow side alley, common to this type but often neglected, offered an opportunity to extend the living area to create a lightwell and wall garden, allowing light to penetrate deep within the centre of the house.
The route through the house was conceived as a journey of changing light, colour and materiality. Original Federation interiors have been restored in crisp white, whilst new elements are introduced in a restrained palette of dark timber, steel and porcelain. A contrast of light and dark materiality is used to knit together old and new. This duality continues in various material combinations. In the kitchen, natural materials are contrasted with the manufactured; such as French-polished timber veneers in combination with crisp, large-format porcelain sheets.
In the living room, bespoke joinery exploits the depth of recycled brick walls, creating pockets of storage along the edges of the tightly constrained site. Flush finishes form continuous planes from inside to out, creating one large living space that expands to fill the outdoor side alley. These new living spaces are open to the outdoors, yet tempered from the strong northern sun by the depth of a black steel awning, detailed so that it appears to float over the rear timber deck. In a minimal and modern interpretation of a traditional verandah, its glossy surface reflects the garden into the house. The dialogue between old and new continues by contrasting the roughness of aged, dry pressed recycled bricks, with glossy black steel. It is a project united by contrast – rustic and slick, thin yet massive, dark and bright.
Llewellyn House, Marrickville, NSW, Australia, by studioplusthree
Lakeside House, Yamanashi, Japan, by Shinichi Ogawa & Associates
“East meets West” is a term often used to describe instances where design and culture from the opposite corners of the compass meet and mingle with astute poise. And in the case of this apartment on the 22nd floor of a new, high-rise residential building in Dongguan in southeast China, this exact term couldn’t have found a more apt implementation.
Realized through the stellar collaborative efforts between Minas Kosmidis [Architecture in Concept], an architecture studio based in Thessaloniki, Greece (the “West” part of the term) and YuQiang and Partners Interior Design, a design studio based in Shenzhen, China (the “East” part of the term), this private home is the ideal link between Western design directives and Eastern lifestyle requirements.
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The project takes place in a long, narrow and stately apartment whose façade connects to the access street via an elegant bow-window and to a large but not very attractive interior courtyard through a gallery. In between, 140 square meters to resolve more or less conventional housing requirements.
Two key strategies drive the design as a whole. The first is that there are no hallways between rooms; they connect directly via an enfilade of sorts. This gives rise to a series of intermediary spaces that lack a defined code or function, which transforms them into potential play, reading, storage rooms, etc. These spaces which serve as a backbone to the dwelling don’t even feature doors, and their partitions fall short of the ceiling, making them, as it were, rooms within an original container space.
The second decision is structuring all rooms on three sections, based on three levels. A top level – the original wooden beam and ceramic vault ceiling – runs throughout the house and is painted grey. Nothing breaks up this level, since partitions do not reach up to the ceiling. Running from 60 cm to 230 cm and painted white, an intermediary level encompasses and structures the rooms, closing in the space even though there are no doors and the partitions don’t reach the ceiling. The lower level, running from the floor to a height of 60 cm, features flooring rising up the partitions in distinctive contrast for each space, while maintaining symmetry with the entrance – tile for wet rooms, wood for living rooms and bedrooms, and a new type of tile for outdoor-facing rooms, the street-side bow-window and the gallery connecting to the courtyards. The thresholds linking the rooms feature a new material, white micro-cement, which likewise covers the partitions in the entrance, which was re-arranged to clearly establish the public spaces facing the street and the private spaces facing the inner courtyard.
The entire interior space is thus organised as a series of rooms which are set off but connected and which always connect to the two exits to the outside, through which light penetrates into more interior spaces, creating a beautiful light gradation. Spaces which require more privacy follow a similar pattern but with greater privacy.
The gallery leading to the courtyards was completely demolished and was re-built (both structurally and in terms of building materials) using enormous wood doors featuring different cuts and glasses of various transparency that manage to illuminate the interior despite its unfavourable orientation while blurring the unappealing view.
Tamarit Apartment, by RAS Arquitectura
Photography by Jose Hevia
This is an emotional design! Our client asked us to reform an old dovecote in the backyard of his home. We decided to propose a play house for the children and a balneary to serve the pool on the ground floor. The whole family loved the idea. We wanted a play room inspired by magic, fantasy and also by the childhood dreams and memories…
We decided to transform the old dovecote in a minimal concrete «tree house» that represent these memories and fantasies of pure and peaceful way. We look for a way that seemed the main volume is levitating as a tree house but simultaneously it had to be balanced and pure. The idea was that the interior was absent of superfluous elements and were gradually decorated by the works and toys of these children as a reflection of consumer society we are experiencing. Some elements remained of the original building as the triangular window through which entered doves.
The Dovecote, Soutelo, Portugal, by AZO. Sequeira Arquitectos Associados
Photography © Nelson Garrido