Green Lantern Residence is an innovative and sustainable single family home designed by John Grable Architects, sited in one of San Antonio, Texas’s oldest neighborhoods, Alamo Heights. The 4,000 square foot home was built upon the architect and client’s mutual respect for the environment. With the foundation of sustainability as a responsible and moral obligation, the challenge was to balance innovative technologies with time honored techniques while also integrating with the historic context of the neighborhood.
While the project achieves 67% offset with photovoltaic panels, and incorporates a green roof, LED lighting, grey-water and rain-water harvesting; there was additional effort to reduce impact through careful planning and consideration of the site. New construction was designed to re-use the existing foundation as well as wood from the previous structure. Passive systems such as arbors and overhangs were implemented to reduce solar gain, while the entire project was sited to protect the number of existing heritage oaks throughout the site.
At the ground floor changes in level, stepping up over the pool along the main entry bridge and back down again from the kitchen to the living area, provide a playful dialogue and transition between public spaces, even as a largely open floor plan and generous windows act to connect these spaces to each other and the outdoors. Additionally, wall-to-wall sliding doors in the living area open up to expand the room out into the pool and landscape that provides additional outdoor space for entertaining and gathering of friends and loved ones. The entry bridge spanning the pool enlivens these outdoor spaces with a grotto waterfall niche that compliments the cool shade of the heritage trees that reside throughout the yard. This rhythm is mirrored at the second floor as a series of folding doors in the ‘party room’ open to a large out-door terrace in the tree canopies, which again steps down to its own ‘landscape’ green roof garden with hot tub that takes in distance vistas of downtown.
These forms not only provide elegant spaces, but also a stage for promotion of the core sustainability principles that produced it. Meeting and exceeding sustainability standards (Energy Star – Gold, NAHB Green Building – Emerald, and Build SA Green – Level 3) acts as a catalyst to encourage sustainability and responsible design in future projects with-in San Antonio and beyond.
Westlake Homestead is a contemporary remodel and addition to an existing treetop home that has been designed by Michael Hsu Office Of Architecture in west Austin, Texas. The existing Fred-Day treetop home was modified to create a gourmet kitchen, an enlarged master closet, a laundry room, powder room, and a bridge to the addition. Other updates to the original house included an upgraded geothermal air-conditioning system, updates to make the envelope more energy efficient and expanding the front deck to accommodate dining. The addition, an elegant ‘shotgun’ style form, contains bedrooms, an exercise room, family room, garage and an herb garden. Using materials of glass, metal and concrete, the addition was placed at the back of the sloping lot so that it would not impede upon the unobstructed views to downtown and hill country beyond.
Photos: Ryan Farnau
Lookout Residence is set on a dramatically elevated spur of land overlooking the Los Angeles basin in Beverly Hills, California designed by Bertram Architects. A set of carefully arranged planes and volumes comprise this modernist home for a couple and their small child. Referred to as “the jewel box” owing to its finely articulated detailing, the four bedroom, four-and-a-half bathroom house expresses its quiet luxury through white terrazzo floors, black walnut wall paneling, and imported limestone.
This is LEED certified home of the 21st Century. Solar panels feed the property and honeycombed heating convection flooring atomically senses an increase or decrease in the homes temperature and adjusts accordingly year-round. Built using green technology, utilizing solar power, and the highest efficiency products, appliances and technology available and low water/minimal maintenance landscaping. Lutron lighting and shade system, fully wired for sound in all common areas.
Designed in the International Style and using a palette of smooth coat stucco, steel, terrazzo, cork, walnut and glass, the rooms are visually seamless architectural elements that offer an array of quietly surprising details. Among them, floor to ceiling walnut panels, moving walls of glass, pocket doors and wide-view windows with concealed frames.
The house channels the Neutra spirit with touches including a sculptural staircase with floating terrazzo treads and a floating limestone wall with display niches lined in walnut. A sun drenched master bedroom with minimalist light displays and exploding city views.
Photos: Richard Horn
Offering indoor / outdoor living at its finest, BT House has been designed by São Paulo, Brazil based architect Guilherme Torres, who has developed ideas which fuse the modern and the traditional. Guilherme’s own house, designed by the architect himself, bears a checkered wood design, a kind of brise soleil called muxarabie, which is a classic feature in Eastern architecture. It was later assimilated by the Portuguese, who brought it to Brazil. This element, with its powerful aesthetic appeal, was adapted to this residence in the South of the country, and acts as a wooden ‘curtain’, allowing air flow, dimming light and also serving as a security feature.
“As soon as I saw the gently sloped plot surrounded by other houses, the idea of this large panel came to me, to ensure privacy for both them and their neighbors.” This monumental house stands out as a huge rectangular monolith with two large brickwork blocks in contrast with the upper volume in concrete. A few columns, huge spans and strategic walls create exquisite fine gardens that make up a refuge for this young couple and their two small children.
The decoration follows a jovial and Brazilian style with an alliance of Guilherme Torres’ design, including sofas and tables, and other great names of Brazilian design such as furniture designed by Sérgio Rodrigues and Carlos Motta. The composition of overlapping these Brazilian styles with international design is balanced by pieces from Tom Dixon and Iranian carpets, all sourced by the architect. The garden, designed by Alex Hanazaki has given the house an ethereal atmosphere due to the movement of Texan plume grass.
Photos: Denilson Machado
200 Chambers Penthouse was designed by architecture studio Incorporated as a pied-a-Terre for a European gentleman who makes New York his home only in the fall. A place for both work and the entertaining of friends and family, the residence was developed with a private suite, an entertainment area and two bedrooms for frequent guests. The project is a study in architecturally defined spaces verses architecturally distinct objects. An ambiguity or tension is invoked as one travels through the plan between rooms that are discernible as objects from one perspective only to collapse into complex and surprising spaces from another point of view. With a restrained but rich palette of limestone, sepele mahogany, gold leaf, white marble, bronze and stainless steel, the 4,000 square foot, home was developed as a clean, light filled canvas or back drop for furniture and antiques collected from throughout the world. The completed project had a total construction cost of $2,200,000.
Photos: Courtesy of Incorporated
Blue Hills House has been designed by la SHED architecture, perched on the edge of a mountainous slope in Morin-Heights, Quebec, Canada. The single story 2,152 square foot (200 square meters) residence is nestled on a large forested property, sitting gracefully between the trees and is only hardly visible from the street. As per the occupants’ and architect’s wishes, the house has a dual relationship with its environment; from the outside, it is camouflaged in its setting and is as discreet as possible.
In order to create an inconspicuous house in the landscape, the house was conceived all on the same level. The exterior is completely covered with natural white cedar siding which will become grey over time so that the residence will be even more unnoticeable behind the bark of the surrounding trees. The simple and elongated volume of the house is punctuated with perforations forming white alcoves in which were installed the windows.
The interior is all organized around the kitchen, which is the center of the house. The kitchen is characterized by the presence of two large kitchen islands which are functional as well as creating a convivial ambiance. The living space (living room and dining room) are located on each side of the kitchen. These spaces also extends to an outdoor veranda, integrated in the volume of the house. Large openings on both sides of the house helps giving a feeling of being outside while creating frames on the landscape. Inside, the polished concrete slab floor extends outside, both in the veranda and in the small alcoves.
From the inside, the house is completely open to its surroundings, and its occupants are met with scenery that is in constant evolution. In both cases, the house gives way to the wild grandeur of the Laurentians.
The Blue Hills House, through its refinement and simplicity, allows for a harmonious coexistence between man and nature. By establishing a comfortable, relaxed and light environment, living in this home is akin to perpetual holiday.
Photos: Maxime Brouillet
Wentworth Road House is a contemporary suburban home that was completed in 2012, by Edward Szewczyk Architects in Vaucluse, Sydney, Australia. This house takes full advantage of being on the sunny side of the street. Where sun access and vistas to Sydney Harbour are the same you have to embrace it. Three levels of the building topped with a roof terrace create dramatic composition above the street that is controlled by interplay of horizontal elements. Unusually for houses in the surrounding suburb, part of the outdoor functions are in the street frontage and above the street, rather than being hidden behind high fences. The Ground Floor is partially suspended. Connecting garden stairs and terraces are sandstone slabs lightly supported to emphasize position elevated above the ground levels.
The composition of the rear garden is controlled by the dominant presence of an old gum tree providing protected habitat for birds and with its form displaying beautiful shapes and colors of the trunk. The main Family Area at the ground floor level is positioned to benefit from both: distant northern views towards the harbor and intimate views to the gumtree. With the change of lighting, the distant views dominate during the daytime and intimacy of the gumtree takes over in the evenings.
External sandstone slabs change internally to much finer sandstone for the floor and coarse sandstone of wall cladding relates to the entry point. Timber used internally counterbalances stone finishes, slick metal cladding to Master Bedroom and solid steel plates to roof terrace. The building displays large transparency, while maintaining sufficient mass to provide feeling of sound shelter. Simplicity of spaces is enriched by fine detailing of timber and steel elements.
Photos: Justin Alexander
Soldati House was designed by architect Victor Vasilev as a specific request by the customer to create a functional and contemporary environment in a house built in the 90s in Carrara, Tuscany, Italy. The house three story dwelling had to accommodate the life of a family of four, without sacrificing the convenience offered by the world today. The idea comes from a clear choice: to create a space in which to unite under the leadership of geometry, material, light and functions, taking care of every detail, so that the final result is characterized by a visual unity.
Here is a description of the project from the architects: The house was built in the 1990ies, without design ambitions. The owners wanted the interior to look ‘Milanese’, i.e. ‘ultramodern’. I decided on a complete overhaul, appreciating the space potential – 4,704 square feet (530 square meters) on three floors. This is not a weekend retreat but a family house and the aim was to create a contemporary domestic environment functional in every aspect.
Travertine marble and Indonesian teak were chosen for the material palette. The design is based on the composition of simple square volumes. The custom-made furniture is integrated in the architecture of the house. A few ‘classical’ design pieces enrich the interior.
The final result is achieved by the interplay of space, materials, custom-made furniture and indirect lighting. It gives out the warm, white glow, which softens the interior.
The living area is focused on the ground floor. The rooms of the living, dining and kitchen flow into one another seamlessly.
The master bedroom, the children’s bedrooms and a guest bedroom are on the first floor. The low bench in the master bedroom serves as a visual link with the bathroom, thus avoiding distinctly divided spaces. The black washbasin is designed to hide the mixer taps.
The family wanted a spa area, so the basement is devoted to relaxation. Here you will find the area audio & video and wellness space. A sauna, a big bathtub for four and a massage area were constructed in the basement. A home cinema room with a folding screen was added.
Clients often live in fear of being ‘ forced ‘ to give up their way of life to be able to get into the ‘ temple of domestic architecture ‘. I believe that the success of the project lies in the fact that we have found functional and aesthetic solutions to all the needs that may last over time.
Photos: Adriano Pecchio Photography
Ramat Hasharon House 13 has been designed by Pitsou Kedem Architects as a modern private residence built between two central courtyards in Ramat Hasharon, Israel. A frontal courtyard excavated to a depth of three meters and the second courtyard at the level of the building’s ground floor. This topographical interface creates a unique cross section to the building’s mass with each part of the building, even the section constructed as a basement, being open to its own courtyard.
The house’s central space rises to a height of six meters and is 17 meters long. There are no pillars in the space and the entire front is transparent with glass windows that slide apart with the aid of an electric motor. Thus, the entire interior of the home opens into the courtyard and the border between inside and outside is cancelled. The swimming pool seems as if it extends into the structure and, when looking into the house from the courtyard, the house in reflected in the pool which strengthens our impression of the building’s mass.
The central space of the kitchen, the dining room and the living room is open in two directions – to the west and to the east. This provides a feeling that the space is constantly enveloped by natural light and the greenery of the trees in the courtyard. The structure’s central space, set in the center of the plot, is accessed via a long bridge that crosses the sunken courtyard and leads to the front door. From the bridge, we can see the children’s living rooms which open into the basement.
The structures two supporting side walls have been emphasized, one was poured from exposed, architectural concrete and on the other a large library reaches to its full height.
The master bedroom is set on the second floor and opens onto the double space and the courtyard allowing for a view of the entire plot.
Photos: Amit Geron
Pearl Valley 334 has been designed by SAOTA Architects for a young family looking to re-locate from city living to a more relaxed country lifestyle in Cape Town, South Africa. The couple wanted to raise their young family in the exclusive Pearl Valley Golf estate, located near Paarl, just 30 minutes away from Cape Town. The owners approached ANTONI ASSOCIATES to create an interior that was modern but with an emphasis on ‘barefoot luxury’ and the use of natural materials.
The house has been designed around a central landscaped courtyard with a reflective pond. On entering the house, one crosses a foyer bridge which is flanked by wet-walls cascading down ribbon-stone clad feature walls. The formal lounge is a large double-volume cathedral-like space with a trussed ceiling which is overlooked by the mezzanine study situated above the formal dining room. The dining area features a horizontal strip-fireplace which has been placed level with the dining table. A feature hooped-glass chandelier cascades over the waney-edge French oak table.
Linking the formal areas to the entertainment rooms, the kitchen looks out onto the central courtyard. Custom designed soft leather and steel barstools from OKHA Interiors provide seating around the central island. A floating stair leads up to the four en-suite bedrooms.
The family entertainment level flows out onto the front terrace and infinity pool, incorporating a number of entertainment areas such as a TV lounge, an indoor grill and a bar adjacent to the courtyard. Floating steps over the reflective pond lead to the bar area, which has a decked spa overlooking the pool. The bar area is also linked to an outdoor “boma”, which is a casual enclosure with seating area around a fire-pit.
Subtle lighting has been incorporated in all recesses and feature bulkheads to give a warm glow to peripheral edges. Concealed lighting has also been used to highlight and accentuate the organic natural finishes. The interior furniture and decor is modern and adds to the experience of the home. Tactile finishes including timber, textured leathers and raw linens add a sophisticated sense of understated luxury.
Photos: Adam Letch