Fold Place is a newly built modern infill property that was envisioned by architecture firm Linebox Studio, situated in Ottawa’s vibrant Glebe neighborhood stretches across the southern downtown edge of Canada’s National Capital. The dwelling is comprised of 2,400 square feet of living space, sited on an irregular and narrow lot of 20 feet by 60 feet.
The clients, professionals committed to the community’s casual urban lifestyle, asked Andrew Reeves for open, flowing spaces in which simplicity would make modest dimensions seem bigger. Reeves, who has recently made significant contributions toward returning Ottawa to its post war modernist heyday, responded with a tight composition of volumes that maximizes the potential of the narrow 20’by 60’ irregular shaped site while still generating a singular street profile.
The street-side component of the two storey core volume steps in to facilitate an eastern side entrance. A cantilevered bay wraps around the corner at the second level, its crisp lines, layering of planes and contrasting materials producing a piece of geometric art. On the opposite elevation, a single storey garage, clad in richly stained pine in contrast to the neutral light-grey stucco of the main volume, is extruded on the angle of the lot. The same pine is used on soffits, in the bay and as a means to break up the major volume, the same kind of unapologetic use of natural materials that marked Alvar Aalto’s Nordic modernism.
Inside, an animated “folding” of space creates horizontal and vertical fluidity and interconnectedness. The largely white walled and simply detailed interior rotates around two totemic elements centered on the west and east elevations of the house. One is a sculpted staircase whose ebony strained treads without risers seem almost to float. The other is a light chimney, a countering void marked by a soaring opaque window spilling light onto an interior garden at its foot. These elements also serve to separate the kitchen/dining area from the living room but without impeding a sense of openness.
A generous and eclectic use of windows and glazed doors draws in from all sides the delightful ozone saturated light that theorist Christian Norberg-Schulz has identified as such an important element in a northern landscape. If large picture windows that provide stunning tableaus of the Aberdeen’s impressive cupola and the backyard facing wall glazed doors are boldly voyeuristic, many narrow vertical slot and horizontal clerestory windows contribute slices of views while protecting privacy.
In sum, Fold Place is an urban dwelling for an informal lifestyle that is committed to engaging its community with openness and sass.
Photos: Courtesy of Linebox Studio
S House is a contemporary concrete and glass single family home that has been designed by Domenack Arquitectos, situated in Lima, Peru. The design brief necessitated three important factors to be incorporated into the design of the 5,382 square foot (500 square meters) home. First it needed to satisfy the functional needs of the family. Second, it had to adapt to a difficult sloping topography without resorting to complicated and expensive structures. Lastly, the home needed to capture the views towards a golf course, even though the plot is not adjacent to it.
The design of the house is planned over an existing natural platform located 3m above street level. This decision allowed locating only the parking and service areas at street level, while the rest of the program is located above the natural platform. The house is developed in 3 levels, following the rocky ascending topography of the plot. The functional and spatial distribution derives from the customs and needs of the clients. The main garden, pool and social areas are located in the first level, while the private areas are located in the second and third levels.
The project´s elevated position allows taking advantage of the views of the golf course, located to the south of the plot, from the social and master bedroom areas. The rest of the house enjoys different views and scenarios of the surrounding natural environment, through patios, gardens and platforms generated by following the ascending topography. The design of the house promotes adequate ventilation, lighting and thermal control in order to reduce energy consumption.
The house´s composition is framed in a double height exposed concrete structure that directs the views to the golf course and contains the inner volumes of the house. Space within this frame flows freely, visually integrating different areas of the project and its natural surroundings. The premise of adapting the house to the plot´s natural topography, based on ecological and economic criteria, determined the rest of the house´s posterior facades.
Photos: Juan Solano
House R is a family home for a couple with three kids which has been designed by Colboc Franzen & Associés, situated in Sèvres, a Parisian suburb in France. The family had acquired a plot of land, which was, at the time, occupied by an orchard and its gardener’s shed. The small construction along with the healthy trees were preserved in memory of the past. The program was discussed and analyzed. The 3,223 square foot (299.5 square meters) house consists of three separate sets: the amenities (lobby, office, laundry room, basement, garage), the common areas (living room, dining room, kitchen and the parental suite), and finally the children’s bedrooms, arranged around a multipurpose space.
The methods and time of occupation are distinct and expectations are different: practicality for the first feature, collective life and reception area for the second and cosiness for the third. Furthermore, this fragmentation comes into resonance with the context: it is not just a house anymore but three volumes that come across the scale of heterogeneous nearby constructions. Due to the small size of the site volumes are superimposed.
The first volume is built backing on to the neighboring construction and runs parallel to the street. It’s half buried in the slope and therefore levels the ground. Made out of masonry, quenched with a single layer of bitumen and recovered with Corten steel sheets, this first floor contains all the amenities. Walls, ceiling and floor are white and contrast with the exterior. Those elements converge on the staircase and accelerate the perspective so the visitor is quickly projected into the house. The hall leads to the office and the laundry. The cloakroom and the restrooms are hidden in the thickness of the walls. Thanks to the first volume which levels the ground, the second floor is in direct relation with the garden. As far as the cantilever is concerned, it constitutes a canopy for the main entrance of the house. This floor is dedicated to the collective life. It’s a really opened and fluid space.
The second floor is divided by two “pieces of furniture”. The first piece incorporates the stairs, the kitchen, the restrooms and the chimney whereas the second one is composed of the dressing and the bathroom. Those two blocks delineate the living room, the dining room and the parental suite. It’s a very minimalist place.
All the terraces offer various points of view and different aspects depending on the season.
The third and last floor is, once again, leaning on the neighboring building. The volume is wrapped with pine lath so the house can be in the line of the predominant color shades of the district. Since the volume is on the top of the construction and dedicated to the children, the wooden cladding was also a wink to tree houses. On the third floor three bedrooms and their bathrooms are organized around a multipurpose space. This double-oriented space is protected by a screen wall on the street side, and leads to a large terrace (rooftop of the second floor) on the south side. Bedrooms are also double-oriented to optimize views and natural lightening and provide natural and efficient ventilation.
Sustainability was a main objective of the project: exterior isolation, recyclable materials with low environmental impact, high-performance glazing.
Photographs: Cécile Septet
Pine Forest Cabin cantilevers over a hillside offering unobstructed mountain views in Winthrop, Washington, designed by Balance Associates Architects. In order to meet the client’s budget goals, an efficient plan and cost effective selection of building materials reduced construction costs and led to the simple 850 square foot box design. The use of sheet materials both inside and out maximized material efficiency while emphasizing the simplicity of the cabin’s form.
Two concrete walls cradle the box and allow it to cantilever over the hillside, reducing effective site disturbance. Elevating the cabin allowed for unobstructed views down slope and to the mountains beyond, transforming a modest living space from ordinary room to a viewing platform that extends from inside to out.
This project demonstrates Balance Associates Architects’ belief that architecturally interesting solutions can be achieved for budgets of all sizes without sacrificing quality or aesthetics.
Photos: Steve Keating Photography
Russet Residence is a modern project with dramatic cantilevers designed by Splyce Design in West Vancouver, British Columbia on a steep site with mature cedar and douglas fir to the west and an ocean view to the south. The 4,600 square foot, five bedroom, five bathroom house responds to these conditions by nestling itself into the hill while also projecting out over it to maximize views and connectivity to the landscape.
Due to its proximity to the rugged and sloping creekside bank to the west, the house was subject to strict environmental and geotechnical conditions, including a required setback from the top of the bank that pushed the building’s foundation eastwards. The resultant footprint was awkwardly narrow, so to gain back valuable space, a portion of the main and upper floor is cantilevered back out past the foundation, allowing the native creekside vegetation to grow up, under and around as an uninterrupted, wild, forest floor.
Tucked into the hill, the front of the house is deceptively modest in scale, set off by the large mature cedar that anchors the front yard. A discreet overhang is all that distinguishes the garage, which is covered with Swisspearl, a cementitious panel with integrated color that requires no painting. (The same material is repeated on the barbecue pit out back.) The rest of the facade is covered in western red cedar — a nod to the towering evergreen that dominates the front yard.
The dining room cantilevers 15 feet from the foundation. The glass walls extend below the floor plane and above the ceiling plane, minimizing divisions between the interior and exterior.
The topography of the site reveals itself as one descends the exterior stairs adjacent to the forest and follows the exposed concrete wall to the main entry. Continuing through to the interior, the wall rises up seventeen feet to help frame the bright circulation volume, with stairs leading to the upper floor and down to the main living spaces.
A stairway on the east side of the house provides access between the living room deck and the yard and pool below. The adjoining wall screens bathers as they dart between the two.
The floors throughout most of the house are polished concrete. As the slurry set, it was agitated with power trowels to give the surface a mottled patina.
“We wanted the walls to dissolve into the forest,” states the architect. He joined the dining room windows with black silicone in lieu of frames to minimize the structure. Stepping into the space, you can see the woods straight ahead or turn to the left to view the bay.
“We wanted everything to be simple and timeless and to not distract from the outdoors,” states the architect. The custom cabinets are finished in white oak and Formica’s ColorCore laminate, which the designer considers a more durable alternative to lacquer. The perimeter counters and backsplash are black honed granite; the island is topped with Caesarstone.
Parish warmed the room with white oak floors and cabinetry. B&B Italia’s low-profile Charles coffee table is echoed in the Panavision proportions of the gas fireplace, which emits a ribbon of flames.
The front door opens into a split-level entry dominated by a dramatic staircase. The white oak treads project from the concrete wall at right but are not supported on the other end, defying gravity and adding drama to the ascent.
In a house with so many remarkable design elements, one that provokes a fair share of comments is this guest bathroom off the pool. A single stone bench extends from the shower to the cylindrical sink, with a Duravit toilet discreetly mounted between the two — atop what is, essentially, the vanity. The architect insists he came up with the plan simply to save space, but admits it’s become a conversation piece at parties.
In the master bedroom, a custom bed backs up against a white oak wall that divides the space from the dressing area behind it. Walls of glass overlook the adjacent forest, assuring privacy and an ever-changing panorama of flora and fauna. A portion of the master bathroom is visible at the back.
A mirrored wall behind the vanity reflects the neighboring woods, making the narrow master bath appear much larger. “You can sit in the tub and feel like you’re sitting in the trees,” states the architect.
Photos: Ivan Hunter
Feldman Residence is a single family contemporary home situated next to a roaring river in the mountains of Woody Creek, Colorado, designed by David Johnston Architects. Situated on a steep, wooded bank (the lot slants up to 30 degrees) a mere 10 feet from the Roaring Fork River on Lower River Road in Old Snowmass, the three-level design is virtually suspended above the water among the branches, like a modern interpretation of a treehouse. Throughout the 4,500 square foot home, one can hear the river, which is particularly true of the second level, where the kitchen, living room and dining room are located. Features like floor-to-ceiling window walls, tilted windows and a cantilevered third story loft bring the river into the elevated space.
The 1960′s-era home was discovered by the Feldman’s in 2003, one of the few home sites lower than the highway, so noise was not an issue. They had their sights set on building a new home since the original one was very compact and not to their liking. But there was a catch, in 2006, the county began requiring that new homes be pushed back 50-100 feet from the river—unless they’re built on an existing foundation. So when they hired the architects, the challenge was to design a new home to fit the original foundation. The tight building envelope posed a dilemma, but it also resulted in a category-defying design.
The architects used cantilevered masses throughout the second story to expand the size of the house without violating codes. The result was a kitchen that extends eight feet from the original footprint and a dramatic entryway bridge suspended in the trees.
According to the architects: The design was largely dictated by the constraints we were faced with. Angled cantilevers were put where they are because it was literally the only place we could go beyond the foundation. That’s also why we have a bridge to the entry rather than a retaining wall. The resulting design was unique because it was created from the site rather than on it.
The steep lot also inspired other angles throughout the design, like the custom slanted windows and off-camber rooflines. The wood, glass and stone exterior allowed the space to be modern without clashing with its natural surroundings. That’s carried through the interior with slate floors, Brazilian Palladio granite countertops (a unique cut consisting of large multi-colored stones that mirror the river bottom), and, of course, some fish-themed art.
Interior designer Robyn Scott was commissioned to come up with some of the more detailed touches, such as a railing for the stairway and loft that is the same as the one on the bridge entryway, blurring the lines between indoors and out.
The third floor is used as a media and family room and features yet another double-cantilevered loft that looms over the river without any sense of its surrounding banks and gives the feel of the observation deck of a boat.
The lowest level features the master bedroom and Feldman’s beloved tequila bar and an ample slate terrace furnished with a fire pit and plush outdoor furniture for comfortable river viewing.
Photos: Courtesy of David Johnston Architects
Pond House is an exquisite summer cottage inspired by local fishing shacks and wharf buildings dotting the coast of Mount Desert Island, Maine, designed by Elliott + Elliott Architecture. The re-imagined cottage interweaves large glazed openings with simple taut-skinned New England shingled cottage forms. Three simple cottages linked by a series of decks make up this summer compound which extends over the site of an existing condemned structure. Inspired by local fishing shacks and wharf buildings dotting the coast of Maine, this retreat interweaves large glazed openings with simple taut-skinned New England shingled cottages. This skin is incised to open views to the sea beyond and relies on light steel framing and thin braces to preserve the simple forms eroded toward sweeping views. The main ‘wharf’ cottage extends over the tidal salt pond below with a structural steel frame anchored to the pond’s granite basin and contains communal living spaces: kitchen, dining, and living rooms. Linking interior space to the views beyond is a cantilevered deck which appears to float above the water. The flanking cottages contain private sleeping quarters and frame views to the surrounding moss covered forest.
The imposing set of cubic volumes overlapping each other creates a striking modern dwellings in the Brazilian town of Londrina. This three level house has been designed by Studio Guilherme Torres for a young couple, in which the architect has dispensed traditional partitions and spaces. The 4,413 square foot (410 square meters) project had to adhere to the conditions of the site, located on a plateau high in the highest point of the land. They designed a large perimeter wall with white plaster that surrounds the entire main floor and delimits the set, in addition to providing privacy. The upper volume is an encased large box of concrete, coated in large part with wood of cumaru, which cantilevers over the street leaving an area shaped trapezoidal and flat where the garden and the swimming pool are located.
The main door leads guests to skirt the pool to enter directly – through giant windows pivoting – a generous central open double height space from which communicates throughout the house. This environment is monopolized by the living area, working as a liaison between the inside and outside, and serves as a connection with the kitchen and dining room. Cleverly located stairs lead to the upper floor, where the bedroom is separated from the central area through glass walls and only the bathroom is protected.
A single room divider rises in the ample space and has been decorated with a fun PAC-man game vinyl.
The kitchen and dining room are integrated into the same space. The back wall has been designed as a niche with racks stuffed into the wall to act as storage. The same color is repeated, just like the furniture, in order to achieve the desired camouflage effect.
The bathroom is located next to the entrance to the top floor, as a continuation of the staircase. Against the warmth of the cumaru wood floor is the basin designed in Carrara marble. Opposite, the spaces that host the shower and toilets have been closed with translucent glass doors.
Photos: Nuevo Estilo
The Eyebrow House is the brilliant renovation of a 1941 Cape residence situated in Portland, Oregon that uses a contemporary aesthetic with affordable, off-the-shelf components. New York-based Edgar Papazian Architecture, took the existing structure and reshaped it into a modern home, resembling the arches of an eyebrow. This house has been featured in the IFC television show “Portlandia” as the site of a Durian fruit home invasion, as well as Portland Monthly Magazine and ReadyMade Magazine.
From the architects, “Plans for a small home renovation in Portland’s southeast quadrant open up the rear of the house to the backyard and create vaulted interior bedrooms on the second level by using prefabricated galvanized elliptical arches (commonly used for simple storage structures) in a novel way. By opening up the rear of the house and cantilevering off it, we wished to integrate the existing site terracing into the house and allow views of the backyard from most points inside. Emphasis is placed on the kitchen/dining area at the expense of the traditional living room.”
Photos: Lincoln Barbour
The Locomotive Ranch Trailer has been designed by Andrew Hinman Architecture situated along the Nueces River in Uvalde, Texas. The home consists of an all steel open deck that supports a 360 square foot, one bedroom vintage 1950s 40-foot trailer and a 200 square foot sleeping loft and concrete tower as well as two full bathrooms. The steel structure has a deck that cantilevers about 30 feet out over a river with a structural depth of only 16 inches, on concrete piers anchored 25 feet into the ground.. The concrete tower houses a restroom at the lower level and a viewing deck at the upper level.
From the architects, “One of the client’s cherished possessions is a vintage streamlined aluminum house (not travel) trailer, and he wanted to relocate the trailer to the family’s favorite spot on their South Texas ranch overlooking the Nueces River. Given the fragile geology and the flash-flood prone nature of the riverside location, the trailer’s foundation and protection required special considerations. The resulting solution is a steel-framed, metal-roofed cradle, right at home amongst the existing rain barns and ranch equipment sheds. The cradle lifts the trailer above the flood plain and provides accessory components, sweeping river views, and safe access to the fishing/swimming hole. The cradle is anchored by a concrete blockhouse containing utilities, storage, and bathroom and topped by a screened sleeping loft. Rainwater harvesting is SOP in South Texas. The trailer interior is refurbished with bamboo panels. Interior lighting is provided by LED cove & mini-spots. The Ipe and Douglas Fir decking is FSC certified.”
The structure itself — built by Boothe General Contracting — is almost completely composed of steel tubes that were all welded together onsite. Hinman calls the structure surrounding the trailer a “Swiss Army knife. The whole project is an accessory to the trailer.” The redwood hot tub was salvaged by the homeowner.
Many people think the porch is encased by glass, but the material is actually fine fabric mesh screens from Phifer.
The trailer isn’t enclosed in the screened porch, but rather attached by a gasket connection method.
A sliding barn door leads to a fully air-conditioned bathroom wrapped in oiled ipe wood. The homeowner had a mesquite wardrobe that he re-purposed as the vanity.
The mirror can slide over the porthole window for privacy. The lights are recycled shop lamps.
The metal roof reflects sunshine, while the Douglas fir ceiling helps insulate the home from radiating heat, as well as acts as a sound buffer during rainstorms.
The trailer was also renovated by gutting its moldy pine interior and adding bamboo walls, ceilings and floors, and expanding the bedroom. LED can lights replaced original 1954 glass-reflector lights. The original refrigerator was too old and too loud to be recycled. Sub-Zero freezer drawers were installed in its place. Formica countertops and retro diner chairs nod to the 1950s era of the trailer.
Hinman removed the trailer’s shower to expand the bedroom, which holds a queen-size bed.
The homeowner’s teenage boys love using the tree-house-recalling sleeping loft at the top of the tower.
Photos: Courtesy of Andrew Hinman Architecture