House on the house or Forum Limbach is an old farm house in Limbach im Burgenland, Austria designed by Looping Architecture. The farmyard was expanded by an architecturally exciting chapter; the annex serves as a discussion forum and venue. On top sits the upper storey as “house on the house” with the principal’s private rooms. The new building, fitted into the historically grown farmyard structure, closes the rural square edifice and at the same time opens up the previously enclosed inner yard. This apparently contradictory double function is made possible by the building’s clever horizontal bisection. The “house on the house”, entirely clad in a red polyurethane skin, faces east-west, the necessary rotation out of the original property’s axes emphasizes that it is a newcomer in the conglomerate. It is accessed via a self-supporting stairway quoting the ladders which belong to the farmyard image. In the farmyard’s biography, the annex project marks a visionary new beginning without overwriting the property’s naturalness.
Casa del Acantilado is a bright white house nestled on a cliff in Calpe, Alicante, Spain by architecture studio Fran Silvestre Arquitectos and features an 18 meters long balcony that stretches out towards the Balearic Sea. The home is comprised of 2,604 square feet (242 square meters) with the living rooms and bedrooms contained within the protruding upper level, offering panoramic views through a completely glazed facade. The entire structure is composed of concrete, but the walls are coated in stucco to create the clean white aesthetic.
From the architects, “We like the virtue of architecture which makes possible constructing a house on air, walking on water…An abrupt plot of land overlooking the sea, where what is best is to do nothing. It invites to stay. A piece that respects the land’s natural contour is set in it. Above, a shadow, the house itself, looking calmly at the Mediterranean. Under the sun, the swimming-pool brings us closer to the sea, it becomes a quiet cove. In the inflection point, the stairway proposes an evocative path, a garden in the basement…
Due to the steepness of the plot and the desire to contain the house in just one level, a three-dimensional structure of reinforced concrete slabs and screens adapting to the plot’s topography was chosen, thus minimizing the earthwork. This monolithic, stone-anchored structure generates a horizontal platform from the accessing level, where the house itself is located. The swimming-pool is placed on a lower level, on an already flat area of the site. The concrete structure is insulated from the outside and then covered by a flexible and smooth white lime stucco. The rest of materials, walls, pavements, and the gravel on the roof… all maintain the same color, respecting the traditional architecture of the area, emphasizing it and simultaneously underlining the unity of the house.”
Photos: Diego Opazo
The Lavender Bay Boatshed has been designed by Stephen Collier Architects, consisting of two three storey boatsheds that abut one another at the north-western edge of the bay in Sydney, Australia. Built in the 19th century, they are the last remaining timber structures from the era in this part of Sydney Harbour. Painstakingly restored since 2008, they have been converted into a mix of commercial and residential units in the northern building and a three storey residential apartment in the southern building. The main 3,390 square foot (315 square meters) apartment extends from the lower ground floor (where the harbour extends into the main bedroom under a glazed floor) to a height of three storeys. It is entered mid-level on the landward side via a steep and winding path. From here the large timber lined living room (evoking memories of being a small child under an upturned boat) opens out towards the city skyline. The existing timber structure, pulled and stretched out of shape over time, has been left visible. Large skylights have been inserted in the roof that frame views of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and draw in sunlight. Conceived as a series of exquisite glazed insertions in the body of the building, they open up views of the different angles and forms of the original boat shed.
Photos: Peter Bennetts
This 1925 Jackson Street Penthouse boasts a complete contemporary remodel in a stately Pacific Heights building in San Francisco, California, designed by De Meza + Architecture and built by Matarozzi Pelsinger Builders. Having only been remodeled a few times the space suffered from an outdated, wall heavy floor plan. Updating the flow was critical to the success of this project. The remodel included the construction of a new elevated roof deck comprised of 1,000 square feet of outdoor living space with a custom spiral staircase which provides a source of natural light as well as a fabulous focal point and a 2,600 square foot “penthouse” that connects the unit to the outdoor space.
The unit has two bedrooms, a den, two baths, a powder room, an updated living and dining area and a new open kitchen that has become the hub for gathering and entertaining. The design highlights the dramatic views to the San Francisco Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge to the north, the views west to the Pacific Ocean and the City to the south. Finishes include custom stained wood paneling and doors throughout, engineered mahogany flooring with matching mahogany spiral stair treads. The roof deck is finished with a lava stone and ipe deck and paneling, frameless glass guardrails, a gas fire pit, irrigated planters, an artificial turf dog park and a solar heated cedar hot tub.
Photos: Mariko Reed
This curvaceous brick house was designed by architect Clare Cousins as a personal home for her family in Melbourne, Australia. The home takes advantage of the long linear plot and rear laneway access, a garage with studio above was designed first, conceived as a windowless sculptural form perched on a garage clock to provide a studio or guest bedroom. The house extension curves to maximize its northern orientation and to visually incorporate the native landscaping into the house. This project plays with raw building materials, in concrete and timber, and with pattern, in brick bonds and linear spacing. The sculptural first floor contains a studio and bathroom inspired by Alvar Alto glassware with a ribbed timber cladding that continues across the west-facing windows to provide solar protection.
Photos: Shannon McGrath
The brief for this striking beach house designed by Clare Cousins Architects was to provide additional accommodation to an existing 1970’s Merchant Builder’s home in Mornington, Victoria, Australia. Located on a sloping block, the existing single storey house is sited well back on the block with limited access to ocean views. Rather than demolish or renovate the existing building the architects approach was to keep the building intact and design a new pavilion to sit adjacent to the original at the front of the site. The new pavilion includes a new master bedroom wing with living room and deck for outdoor dining that captures broad views of Port Philip Bay. Planning regulations permit only first floor structures that are located over car parking or storage areas which informed the elevated ‘stilt’ design. Timber construction is used holistically both internally and externally while an enclosed circulation stair clad in translucent polycarbonate connects the original to the new structure.
Photos: Shannon McGrath
This elegant expression of a modern western style home combines a rustic regional exterior with a refined contemporary interior in Cherry Hills Village a suburb of Denver, Colorado. The Cherry Hills residence has been designed by Ekman Design Studio in collaboration with interior design firm Comstock Design. The client’s private art collection is embraced by a combination of modern steel trusses, stonework and traditional timber beams. Generous expanses of glass allow for view corridors of the mountains to the west, open space wetlands towards the south and the adjacent horse pasture on the east.
Photos: Ron Ruscio Photography
The contemporary Residence in Kifisia has been designed for a family of four by N. Koukourakis & Associates in the suburb of Kifisia, in Athens, Greece. The home is comprised of 3,767 square feet (350 square meters) of living space, constructed on a small, almost level square plot. The concept of the designed was focused on establishing additional open air spaces to create a pleasant habitat on the small plot. The small stone mass in the entryway separates the public spaces from the private spaces to ensure privacy.
The open ground floor plan encompasses the foyer, sitting room, rest room, dining room and kitchen, which through large interior and exterior openings utilize all natural light to the largest extent, while at the same time they appear to complement the outdoor / open spaces since they are directly connected. The double height opening in the living room visually connects the ‘public’ and ‘private’ spaces of the residence. On the first floor, the living room, office and children’s bedrooms all have balconies without railings and transparent glass for maximization of the view. On the second floor the master bedroom has infinite views and a vast veranda. The basement comprises of additional secondary ‘functional rooms’ as well as the guest room.
The materials used for the exterior facade constitute the components used in the internal spaces. Coffee-grey coating and wood in a monochromatic dialogue define the overall structure of this building. The use of wood in the external spaces, the ground floor and the balconies doubles and visually connects the spaces of the residence.
The furniture follows the simple and minimal theme of the building’s spaces, enhancing the clean design lines and light colors of the structure as well as the primary function of light and the comfort of the spaces.
The shell of the house is constructed using a facade insulation system; the aluminum casings have thermal-break system and high spec double energy glass panels. Heating is provided through the floor while there is also a central air conditioning system. It is constructed in accordance with the specifications of a smart home where all operations including lighting, the movement of shutters, the alarm system, video surveillance cameras, multi-room sound system and air conditioning are all controlled by a centralized system.
This stunning contemporary detached house has been designed by Taller Héctor Barroso in 2009 in Mexico City, Mexico. Spread out over two levels, this single family home is comprised of 6,404 square feet (595 square meters) of living space. The landscaping and the beautiful exterior facade have been meticulously blended with some clever details. The home is a refreshing project with more to the interior than just furnishings and decorations such as great use of textures and materials, lighting, usage of space and attention to detail.
Photos: Courtesy of Taller Héctor Barroso
Sitting up high above Clifton, in Cape Town, South Africa, Nettleton 198 house connects a hillside garden on the East through the generous living space to the expansive Atlantic Ocean to the West. Designed by SAOTA Architects, the clients, a British couple living in Cape Town, requested a six-bedroom, seven-level home that makes the most of the site, the views and the mountain. The lower levels of the existing structure were totally remodeled while the upper level was demolished to allow for two new levels.
“Inspiration was drawn from the mountain and dark colors were used on the facade, allowing the building to visually recede into the mountain instead of being an obtrusive construction,” says Greg Truen, Project Partner. The site enjoys spectacular views, both of the sea and Lions Head and these views and the impact of the sun were key informants contributing to the overall design.
The sun being both a defining and also harsh influence on the property inspired the choice of screens, shutters and louvres that give the lower levels its distinctive gravitas. The living room can open up onto the west and the east completely, giving it the feeling of an open pavilion.
The finishes and detailing have been very carefully considered to achieve an integrated and visually effortless whole. The exterior of the building is clad in powder-coated aluminum which resulted in a very robust and precise surface finish. Internally, a much warmer look was achieved by using walnut timber. Black marble & glass were integrated into the design as accents.
The home is peppered with unusual design ‘delights’. The circular entrance area, clad in walnut timber, is one of the main features of the house. The space is amplified by a fascinating lighting installation of backlit slumped glass, that renders an “other-worldly” effect. An elegant floating timber staircase employs hanging stainless steel rods for a refreshing take on a balustrade. Others include the walnut-clad kitchen box, the granite-clad rim-flow pool and the sculptural cantilevered carbon fibre bar.
The clients wished to keep the interior as lean and focused as possible and the selection of furniture and lighting is both graphic and strong.
Photos: Courtesy of SAOTA Architects