Mitchell Residence is a sensationally designed contemporary mountain home by Poss Architecture + Planning, located in rugged Aspen, Colorado. This distinctive home is nestled into a steep wooded site alongside the Little Nell ski run on Aspen Mountain. A central stair and circulation core connects seven different levels within the house at half intervals, four of which have ski-in access.
With cascading roof forms floating above a solid sandstone foundation, this contemporary home draws on historic references to provide a site specific and dynamic interpretation of traditional mining architecture.
We pride ourselves in designing homes that are products of understanding our clients’ lifestyle, aesthetic desires and their connection with the property they have selected. This approach has produced a body of work with diverse design concepts, each with the individual signature of the client and our underlying focus on quality of space and detail. The residential portfolio contains three sections of projects that demonstrate the different directions of our design capabilities for signature homes. The custom projects represent a timeless tradition; our modern homes show the creativity and attention to detail that can be expressed with clean lines, and the ranch style projects range from mountain rustic to heavy timber ranch vernacular.
Palm Beach House is an incredible single family residence designed by architecture studio Vaughn McQuarrie, located in Palm Beach, Auckland, New Zealand. This 1,184 square foot (110 square meters) house is located on a reasonably steep bush covered site a few hundred meters up a valley from the golden sands of Palm Beach Waiheke Island.
Sitting under a large pohutukawa tree the house negotiates the site with a series of suspended internal and external spaces connected by external bridges and stairs. The owners of this home have to step outside in order to circulate from room to room. Due to difficult access and the wish to minimize waste, the design was based around factory sheet sizes which could be carried by hand and directly fixed in place without the need for cutting. Glue laminated timber was used extensively in the framing, once again carried in by hand and pieced together on site.
A draw bridge allows the house to disengage itself from the ground, giving the occupants a sense of privacy and the feeling of being on a platform up in the trees.
Photos: Simon Devitt
Garden Tree House is an extension project for a young couple, which incorporates trees into the design by Hironaka Ogawa & Associates, located in Kagawa, Japan. The extension on the thirty-five year-old house is for a daughter and her husband, comprised of 547 square feet (50.9 square meters).
Azelkova tree and a Camphor tree stood on the site since the time the main house was build thirty-five years ago. Removing these trees was one of the design requirements because the new additional building could not be built if these trees remained. When I received the offer for the project, I thought of various designs before I visited the site for the first time. However, all my thoughts were blown away as soon as I saw the site in person.
The two trees stood there quite strongly. I listen to the stories in detail; the daughter has memories of climbing these trees when she was little.
These trees looked over the family for thirty-five years. They colored the garden and grew up with the family. Therefore, utilizing these trees and creating a new place for the client became the main theme for the design.
In detail, I cut the two trees with their branches intact. Then I reduced the water content by smoking and drying them for two weeks. Thereafter, I placed the trees where they used to stand and used them as main structural columns in the center of the living room, dining room, and kitchen.
In order to mimic the way the trees used to stand, I sunk the building addition 70 centimeters down in the ground. I kept the height of the addition lower than the main house while still maintaining 4 meter ceiling height.
By the way, the smoking and drying process was done at a kiln within Kagawa prefecture. These two trees returned to the site without ever leaving the prefecture.
The client asked a Shinto priest at the nearby shrine to remove evil when the trees were cut. Nobody would go that far without a love and attachment to these trees.
When this house is demolished and another new building constructed by a descendant of the client hundreds of years from now, surely these two trees will be reused in some kind of form.
Manhattan Beach Residence is the conversion of an existing three story property into a family home by Abramson Teiger Architects, located in Manhattan Beach, California. Located on a walk street, the original 1940’s stucco box was in need of an update. The clients were ready to move back to the beach and wanted to transform this property into their main home.
On the exterior the architects re-built the front facade with large openings creating a connection with the pedestrian friendly walk street . The exterior pallet is a subtle mix of smooth trowel stucco, honed limestone and dark stained mahogany siding. The living room with master bedroom above was articulated in a wood box breaking down the overall massing and gesturing towards Santa Monica Bay and views toward the north.
The public entry sequence pulls you through the front garden leading to the entry in the heart of the house where a custom designed walnut and stainless door opens into a 2 story foyer. Above the door a ledge and new window creates back lighting for an antique water wheel selected by the client.
The middle floor contains the main living spaces increased in length by combining the two units. The central two story kitchen is washed with light from multiple skylights flooding into the adjoining living and dining rooms. Custom millwork embraces a built in couch in the family room. The pantry, storage closet and powder room are all concealed behind walnut stained veneer cabinetry.
On the third floor the master bedroom occupies the view corner while an open passage leads through the master bath and continues across the bridge looking into the living spaces below and accessing the roof deck at the rear of the house.
The large roof deck is a private oasis for the clients to entertain and enjoy morning coffee.
Photos: Douglas Hill
The Butte Residence is a striking modern home and artist studio designed by Carney Logan Burke Architects, located on an extraordinary 38-acre site on a butte in Jackson, Wyoming. The site overlooks the confluence of the Snake and Gros Ventre Rivers and commands panoramic views of the Teton Mountain Range and National Parks.
The design was driven by the desire to capitalize on the potential of this site while weaving the architecture of the buildings into the topography, maintaining a modest profile on the skyline. In addition, the owner, a collector of contemporary art and sculpture, desired architecture with character and materiality that respects western tradition but embraces abstract, clean, light-filled spaces.
By organizing the program in a series of volumes that range across the site, individual spaces open to varied views and access points; from dramatic sweeping vistas to intimate, secluded experiences within the trees.
Gently curving roof forms separately capture public and private functions within the residential program. Springing from and returning to the topography of the site, the roof profile mimics the soft shape of the butte and creates a series of protective canopies that provide shelter in the harsh western landscape.
Photos: Paul Worchol
Maison Glissade is a contemporary reinterpretation of the traditional chalet designed by Atelier Kastelic Buffey, set on a narrow lot in a private ski club development in Collingwood, Ontario, Canada. The residences form retains the convention of a gable roof, yet is reduced to an elegant two storey volume in which the top floor slides forward, engaging an adjacent ski hill on axis with the chalet.
The cantilever of the upper volume embodies a kinetic energy likened to that of a leading ski or a skier propelled in a forward trajectory. The lower level counter balances this movement with a rhythmic pattern of solid and void.
While the project provided many challenges in both design and cost effectiveness, the team at Wilson Project Management rose to the challenge, meeting the demands of the project at every level. We have found them to be a highly efficient, hardworking and hands on group. Their knowledgeable team was able to troubleshoot the demands of the project, all the while maintaining a strong working relationship with both ourselves, the trades involved, and the client.
Photos: Peter A. Sellar
Two Barns House is a stunning modern dwelling designed by architecture studio RS+, located in a quiet northern district of Tychy, Poland, near the forest complex. Access to this 2,701 square foot (251 square meters) home is achieved by a cul-de-sac from the main road connecting the plot in its north-west corner. Zoning plans based on the analysis of the urban area imposed roof geometry and the maximum height of the building. The rectangular shape of the plot and its orientation towards the south-west suggested preferred location of the building.
Requirements of investors was that the house have to be open to the south garden, spacious and comfortable. To accomplish this and to split the volume, we divide the body of the building in two materially and functionally different parts. We turned first shape towards south and include in it the whole day zone.
To let residents maneuver their cars easier, we headed second shape toward the entry to the plot. Here we placed the rest of functional areas. In addition, we shifted both solids relative to each other to further enlarge the driveway, which due to the relatively narrow access road must be used to turn back. This procedure also allowed us to create shaded and private part of the terrace which is directly accessible from the bedroom.
What’s more parts of the house shade each other so that the master bedroom does not collect direct sunlight in the afternoon, letting the room to cool down before the night. We connected both shapes with bright, open and glazed mezzanine. The choice of very durable materials, and resignation of the gutters gives the possibility for the house to retain its original appearance without maintenance throughout its entire existence.
To keep the building comfortable, we placed on the ground floor all zones necessary for everyday living, and the rest on the first floor. Interiors designed in two-color and warm minimalist style stands in contrast to the facade with a cool colors.
The quality of the building and its details is the result of high quality materials, good workmanship and constant supervision by designers over the investment.
Photos: Tomasz Zakrzewski
The Norwich Drive Residence features inspiring design and novel use of materials, the personal home of architect Clive Wilkinson, located in West Hollywood, California. The 3,300 square foot house was designed by the architect with the need to address two separate issues. From an urban design perspective, it needed to conform to City of West Hollywood design guidelines and fit into a small scale residential neighborhood, at the same time as transitioning in scale from the adjacent commercial strip of Melrose Avenue. In response to interest from friends, it also needed to provide a kind of prototype for an economical ‘starter urban house’ that would accommodate the new young urbanite lifestyle.
The second goal was complicated by specific site conditions: the lot was a non-standard trapezoidal form, widening towards the rear, as well as having a commercial building to the north that overlooked the site.
In an effort to reduce the house to a set of essential ideas, responses to existing conditions began to set the pattern of the house. The mass to the street was broken down allowing a single story over the garage and roof terrace. It was possible to screen the front yard with greenery, so an olive grove was planted up to the street. On entering the front gate, a visitor can see the full depth of the site – from the olive grove, through the glazed living room, to the rear yard and swimming pool – which enlarges the scale of the house. The living room is compressed in height, but opens to the two-story kitchen/dining room. All links between rooms are articulated on the diagonal with openings in corners, which again enlarges the sense of space.
The house addresses contemporary California living. There is one unified social space – the heart of the house – comprising living, dining and kitchen. Bedrooms are simple spaces re-convertible into studio or office type uses, especially the upstairs front room which is divided with a sliding wall. The master bedroom is located on the ground to emphasize a separation from the outside world (no views over the neighborhood) and a close link to the heart of the house. It has open bath and dressing areas, and a concealed video projection system for watching TV or movies in bed. The bathroom has a freestanding bath that opens to the pool via sliding doors, and the shower has double glass doors that allow wet bathers to shower directly after swimming without wetting the interior. Video projection is also used in the living room.
The building is a smooth stucco box – a vernacular LA type – with the living areas opening up to the exterior via large sliding glass doors. The house’s environmental performance is passive and uses basic sustainability ideas: electrically operated skylights exhaust hot air using a chimney effect in the double height space – and keep warm air inside during winter, insulation is optimized, underfloor heating is provided on ground level and the outside landscape uses a low water xeriscape approach, with a mostly gravel ground cover suitable for the desert location. From another sustainable viewpoint, the house is located in walking distance of the owner’s office, as well as walking distance of about 35 restaurants and bars, reducing car use considerably.
There is a raw expression of structure throughout the house – ceilings are exposed diagonal wood sheathing with a sprayed insulation roof on top. Floors are either smooth concrete, or wide plank quarter sawn oak, or white rubber stud. Walls are white drywall. Clive Wilkinson uses color and creative expression in many of his projects, but the intention here was to avoid expression and achieve a house that was both a simple art studio, which allowed the mind to wander without associations, and an adaptable place to socialize with friends.
Photos: Benny Chan, Fotoworks
The Syncline house was designed as a place of solitude for a professional couple by architecture studio Arch11, located near Boulder, Colorado. Situated at the fold between the Rocky Mountain foothills and the Great Plains, the house mediates horizons and peaks, city and alpine meadows. Conceived as a frame for viewing the landscape, Arch11 meticulously modeled the residence within the site to ensure that planes of glass capture ridgetop views while respecting the city’s height restrictions.
A Pre-Paleozoic fold creates a distinction between the Great Plains and the Rocky Mountain Foothills. Geologically referred to as a syncline, a crease caused by uplift of an ancient sea bed, the fold distinguishes the inhabited plains from mountain park space. The upward plane of the fold presents a landscape described and observed moving sectionally through the house.
The wedge shaped site was bound by numerous restrictive land use limitations: a wetland buffer, height restrictions, a solar access restriction, and multiple setback and easement boundary requirements. A three-dimensional computer model was developed describing the limits of the buildable envelope.
The project was conceived as a threshold between the city and the mountain park. The client, an entrepreneurial and professional rock climbing couple, requested the house to be “a place where town life can be left behind.” The house is a threshold between both the cultural and geologic creases: one between the domestic and the feral, the other between horizontal and vertical. Through a domestic grove of flowering trees, a solid wood wall, broken only by a perpendicular stone wall, opens to the house interior. Once inside, the stone wall becomes a thickened poche of mechanical and service elements leading through to the west wall of the house, a glazed wall framing the mountain parks.
The western wall phenomenally erodes, revealing the landscape with varying degrees of openness. At the entry, framed apertures provide controlled vignettes of the landscape from foreground meadow to high ground cliffs. As the entry opens to the living spaces the apertures transform in scale to reveal the expansive landscape in its entirety. At the southwest corner thirty feet of glass retracts into the walls, dissolving the boundary between the domestic and the wild; the living spaces are then bounded only by the uplifted cliffs beyond. Reciprocally, the native meadow to the west folds onto the garage roof providing easy outdoor access for visiting guests in the house’s guest suite.
A simple stair cantilevers from the stone wall. Climbing the stairs, the foreground, mid range, and ridge views are sequentially revealed. Experientially scissoring into the landscape and back into the house the stairs connect the mountain park with the house. The west wall of glazing extends the western room boundaries to the wall of rock and meadows beyond. The east wall remains closed, allowing only privileged, controlled views and light from the clerestory above.
Working within some of the strictest energy performance codes in the country, the house is designed to be self sustained utilizing a ground loop heat exchange system that taps into the very bedrock seen at the distant ridge. A ten kilovolt photo-voltaic electrical system powers pumps, compressors and the domestic electrical needs.
To support an envelope comprised of 50% glazing, a structural steel frame is used in place of traditional stick framing throughout the home. The western facade was challenged by height and wind exposure. The thickened wall is a steel brace frame that incorporates vertical vierendeel trusses to resist the 120 mile per hour winds coming down out of the mountains. Additionally, it accommodates the primary vertical mechanical chases.
Built with innovative renewable energy systems and materials crafted to last centuries, the house is a model of cutting-edge sustainable design and attains a LEED gold certification. Roof gardens allow the land to literally envelop the house, and expansive, retracting glass walls provide full views of the Flatirons to the west while connecting interiors with outdoor rooms. Executed with uncompromising detail, surfaces meet with quiet precision, creating a serene background for the landscape and mountains beyond.
Photos: Courtesy of Arch11