The family, who occupy a typical 1940s bungalow, asked Andrew Burges to reorganise and extend the property in Sydney’s North Shore to improve both the daylight inside and the connection with the garden. “The conceptual framework of the house has been developed around improving the quality and character of natural light in both the existing interior and as a defining element in the new addition,” said the architects. The pitched roof of the single-storey extension rises from behind the roof of the original house, resulting in a V-shaped gap between the two. This incorporates skylights, ensuring that daylight reaches spaces at the centre of the home. The living, dining and kitchen area located within the extension is illuminated by large windows facing the garden and by two skylights built into the roof that channel light onto the walls.
Materials were chosen to enhance the unusual section of the new structure. The sloping ceiling is painted white, while the walls that extend up towards the skylights are constructed from bricks reclaimed from the demolished rear wall and former bathroom. “The section creates a play between an abstract, white, sculptured ceiling line and bulkhead datum, which washes light on the more robust natural finishes used below the ceiling and bulkhead datum,” explained the architects. Natural materials, including American oak used for the fitted cabinetry, and a concrete floor create tactile surfaces below the ceiling line. A central core containing a bathroom and laundry was inserted between the old and new parts of the house.
Skylights, Sydney, Australia by Andrew Burges Architects
Photography by Peter Bennetts
A compact double posting desk, Le Suisse does use the central column to stiffen the structure with its mass, in addition to providing ample space for the stocking of “desk tools” and an electric system that allows for the connection of up to seven plugs. “The composition of the stocking system is composed by five drawers of different measure on the frontal part; a ‘case tool’ thought for pencils, pens, rubber, ruler… removable with underlying space; and an open greater space in the back part of the central column.” says designer Giulio Parini. “Four electric plugs are placed under the working surface, allowing the connection of fixes electric devices, while the other three plugs are positioned on the top part of the working surface for temporary electric devices.”
Le Suisse Desk, by Giulio Parini
Photography by Julia de Cooker
Positioned on a sloped, wooded site in a rural area of Luxembourg, a private house stands as a glass prism featuring distinct spatial zones. The L-shaped residence offers both privacy and seclusion, as well as panoramic views of the surrounding landscape. Opaque cladding envelops the dwelling on the south and east sides, protecting the property from the passing street and neighbouring buildings, and anchoring the structure to the plot. An interstitial space containing a series of terraces bridges internal and external space, subsequently creating a dialogue between the primary elevation and the glazed structure. The principal circulation route connects the stair hall and divides the house into two parts: a solid zone marked by a rhythm of structural piers, and a voided zone to the north, accentuated by a lighter steel structural system. Housing technical amenities and parking facilities, the lower level of the property opens to a sloped yard with a sauna, fitness area, and direct access to the garden above. The primary public spaces are located at the ground level, with an open kitchen, guest suite, and children’s playrooms located along the south side, and the living and dining volumes to the north. The bedrooms and master suite are placed along the south side of the upper floor, shielded from excessive sunlight by a system of glass louvers. Opposite these rooms a study, library, and lounge overlook the double-height living room below.
Luxembourg House, Luxembourg, by Richard Meier & Partners
Photography by Rolande Halbe
The project includes a main house, guest retreat, pool house, and tennis pavilion that sit on 10 acres of rolling hills. While the location makes way for a typical ranch-style house, this project features a combination of modern and vintage furnishings, clean lines, and a truly stellar contemporary art collection. Considering its surroundings, the house was built with massive blocks of Texas Lueders limestone that they mixed with steel and glass walls. Floor-to-ceiling windows frame the green landscape and fill the house with something natural – sunlight.
Besides the “great room”, the main house has an eat-in kitchen, six bedrooms, and a master suite. The main living area has double-height ceilings making the open living and dining room feel quite grand. Each bedroom has a completely different vibe making it really hard to choose a favourite. The master suite is located right off the great room and has perforated suede wall panels giving the room a lush feel. In the guesthouse, there’s two bedrooms, an indoor/outdoor living room, and a wine cellar.
A Modern Family Ranch, Texas, United States, by Lake|Flato Architects
For this interior they were inspired by a beautiful photo series of the misty Death Valley by Jordan Sullivan, capturing the subtle variation and soft color changes of daylight that turns the harsh landscape into a poetic, inspiring place. The Finefood restaurant and coffee shop serves well cooked everyday food and pastries for the inhabitants of Hammarby Sjöstad in the south of Stockholm. One of the challenges designing the place is the fact it being a mix of a café, lunch restaurant and bistro. It must work just as well serving breakfast at 7am in the morning as serving beer 7pm in the evening.
As a Swedish design studio leaning on our minimalistic heritage, they created a clean, soft space with a calm, inviting color palette. The base of the interior is a custom made herringbone tile floor representing the rich gray scales of rocks and mountains. The color palette – ranging from the deep green marble to various nuances of pale green and turquoise with contrasting salmon red and peach – are a direct translation of the colorful variations of the natural light in the mountains.
The materials are typical Scandinavian such as light ash wood, brass and natural leather except for the Green Guatemala marble used some part of the design. Tables, sofas and shelves are specially designed for this project giving it its own unique identity.
With hotel conversions in historic sites often ending up being rather soulless, the balance struck between modern-day tastes and needs, as well as history, is just right at the Fontevraud Abbey’s new hotel. The soothing and sleek design leaves room for the historically charged interiors of one of the vastest monastic sites from the Middle Ages, to continue be the focal point of every space. The four-star Hôtel Fontevraud replaces the previous three star hotel (which closed in 2012) situated inside the Abbaye de Fontevraud (founded in 1101 AD). Located in Anjou, France, the UNESCO World Heritage Site was once the burial site of the English King Richard I or ‘Lion Heart’ as he came more famously to be known, which visitors can see today through his recumbent statue, as well as those of other Plantagenet family members, situated in the heart of the abbey.
The private elevator landing opens into a tall vestibule, tapering upward to a seamless rectangular oculus which provides a view of the sculpted summit of the adjacent skyscraper. From the elevator vestibule, the floor slopes gently upward, passing under the twisting shaft of the stairwell to arrive at the main level of the penthouse. The stairwell shaft ascends through the full height of the penthouse, visually linking the entry hall with the structural glass floor of the attic four stories above. The stair itself wraps around the stairwell. The facetted surfaces of the stairwell converge on apertures, trimmed in mirror polished stainless steel, which provide views into and through the stairwell from the surrounding spaces. At the third level a structural glass bridge traverses the stairwell shaft passing through stainless-trimmed openings at either end. The original riveted steel structure – clad in intumescent paint- threads through the faceted stairwell slipping through apertures into adjacent rooms.
Skyhouse Entry & Stairwell, New York, United States, by David Hotson
The new addition is a gentle intervention that emerges quietly from the canopy of a beautiful, mature lemon-scented gum tree. “With sensitivity to the site’s inherent strengths, the design embraces the preservation and integration of the established tree allowing it to remain the dominate feature on the property.” says B.E Architecture. Covered outdoor spaces are literally built around the gum tree, encapsulating and framing the trunk. Timber-clad columns recede into the background and a fine line of glazing opens to the densely planted side yard for continuous access to the natural environment from within the interior spaces.
An upper level sits in the branches of the tree floating above the bottom structure to provide a unique treetop setting overlooking views to the Sydney Harbour. “The roof is treated in a considered stone so that it is more like landscaping adorned with the scattering of fallen leaves.” Preservation of the tree required the structure be physically light. Built on a steeply sloping site, the expansive addition made from thin concrete includes an underground parking garage and a large suspended pool, without damaging the tree’s root system. The suspended platform also provides a generous planted area creating obscured views of the house.
Hopetoun Avenue Residence, Vaucluse, Sydney, Australia, by B.E Architecture
Two volumes of light – one warm and one cool – one projected to the expansive horizon and one toward the canopy of the desert sky. The 2200sf Dialogue House is a gestalt instrument for touching the full range and specificity of this light, this “place” – day and night, season to season and year to year. At the base of Echo Mountain the main living volume is elevated above work, guest, and the car, furthest from the street on a lateral pinwheel brace of charcoal masonry walls that extend cardinally capturing the site.
The exterior surfaces of the pinwheel walls as well as the main volume absorb and reflect light akin to the “desert varnish” that coats the volcanic geology of the Phoenix Mountains turning silver, red, purple-brown-black during the day only to collapse into silhouettes at night. Thus, “life after work” is simultaneously supported by the apparent thickness and thinness of light. The interior of the street volume is plastered cool white, half terrace – half cool water as a retreat from the city within the city where one can only can see sky. Wind and water activated light is refracted onto the interior surfaces by day and most dramatically at night which provides an animated foreground to the skyline and distant horizon beyond.
Dialogue House, Phoenix, Arizona, USA, by Wendell Burnette Architects