MODECO residence is a modern single family property designed by Modern House Architects, located in Los Altos, a city in the San Francisco Bay Area, California. This spacious newly built family home features open plan living, comprised of materials of wood, concrete and glass.
We were fortunate to have been commissioned by an owner/developer who wished to create a new home that was both site specific and sensitive to the remaining mid-century character of existing homes left in this neighborhood. We drew upon archetypes of the 40‘s and 50‘s, such as limited front facade fenestration and appropriately located roof overhangs, while using materials more common to current modernist homes.
The floors in the kitchen are plain sawn white oak, no stain.
The structure incorporates passive house standard technology that approaches the current European model of passive home. MODECO utilizes natural ventilation and light, solar photovoltaic (PV), and a mechanical/fresh air system with heat recovery. Concrete walls have a thermally broken core, and all other exterior walls and roof have 1.75 inch ridged outsulation wrap.
Photos: Assassi Productions
King Residence is a modern resort-like home designed with concrete, glass and stone by MC2 Architects, located on a busy stretch of Memorial Drive in Houston, Texas. The 5,680 square foot home generously unites the clients’ wishes for a resort-like space with the amenities and comforts of a single family dwelling. The plan of the house follows the curve of the street with a bow and arrow formation.
One volume houses the private sleeping quarters; the other contains the living, dining and entertaining areas. The living area is bounded by water with a lily pond to the north and a koi pond on the west where a glass bridge takes visitors into the outdoor living space with a summer kitchen and lap pool.
The master bedroom/bathroom suite is bounded by gardens on both sides.
Photos: Courtesy of MC2 Architects
TB House is a single story private residence designed by Aguirre Arquitetura, located on a spacious site within the gated community of Condominio Fechado Vila do Sol, in Uberlandia, Brazil. The layout of this one-story 9,472 square foot (880 square meters) plan has resulted in a functional design with a harmonious distribution of the living areas, with the emphasis on privacy.
The private quarters, which consist of three suites and an office, face east, meaning that they receive the morning sun and are protected from the afternoon sun. The living/reception spaces – which include a cinema room, living room, dining room and terrace – face south so that they avoid direct exposure to the sun and are thus cooler. The service area faces north and west.
In the front facade the garage’s suspended concrete slab (49 feet) provides shelter for five cars. The entrance portico is in concrete, which also covers the entrance hallway leading to the main body of the residence. The hallway is separated from the garden on one side by a glass wall, allowing light to enter the entrance hall and the corridor leading to the sleeping quarters.
A ribbed cumaru wood panel conceals the floor-to-ceiling front door. To take advantage of the natural slope of the land, a fruit tree grove was created at the lower level. This means that the bedroom volume facing the grove is suspended above it.
As the clients like water features, a pond was designed at the lower level featuring concrete walkways supported by central pillars that look as if they are floating.
The pool is 69 feet long and clad in travertine marble. As the marble is a light color the color of the water is not affected. The pool is 60 centimeters above the ground and features an infinity edge on all sides.
Taking advantage of the living room facing south, a generous ceiling height was given of 5 meters, with sliding glass doors along the whole window span opening up the room to the exterior. A winter garden was also added and the idea of the sliding doors was repeated here. The living room is thus opened up on two sides, providing cross ventilation and a greater sense of freedom. The living room volume was covered externally in stone, contrasting with the other white blocks.
The 55-foot wide terrace is a continuation of the living room, stretching the length of the room and allowing for total integration of the ambiances. It serves as a transition area to the garden and swimming pool. The client loves to cook, so the terrace also features a gourmet kitchen block with worktop, cooker, oven, barbecue grill, and fridge-freezer that is ideal for get-togethers with family and friends.
All detailing, both in the interior and exterior, was designed to give continuity to the architectural proposal, i.e. clean, uniform lines with the emphasis on lightness and extreme elegance in the definition of the materials. This is evidence both in the choice of the materials (travertine in all living/reception areas and the exterior and wood in the private quarters) and in their application.
The interior decoration work in general follows the architectural proposal, combining furniture pieces with extremely clean lines with the works of art and other cherished objects in the possession of the clients. The aim was to integrate these elements and achieve the desired aesthetic effect without affecting the clients’ comfort.
Photos: Courtesy of Aguirre Arquitetura
Los Chillos House is a contemporary residence designed in 2012 by Diez + Muller Arquitectos, located in Valle de los Chillos, Cuenca Canton, Ecuador. The design of this 5,920 square foot (550 square meters) house arises from previous research and understanding of the regional architecture of the Ecuadorian highlands, and how it engages with a modern system through understanding the place, tectonics and space of each, creating a tension between the two systems.
In an area of approximately 2 hectares with a steep slope, the house is implanted in the highest part of the site, with a privileged view. In plan, the house is designed linearly, taking advantage of the views from every room. The design in section becomes important, access is from the upper level of the site to the social area, kitchen and terrace. The most private areas and bedrooms are on the lower floor.
First are the traditional architectural and spatial elements, such as the courtyard, the wall, porch and slope. At the same time, the open plan and the continuous space are modernist concepts contrasted with the elements previously mentioned. The material palette includes local stone, wood and tile as local or endemic materials, and exposed concrete, steel and glass as modern materials. This mix not only expresses a formal idea, but also a structural and constructive idea that reinforces the argument.
The house is stratified into two zones: the stone base and glass box on top. The base is a stone bearing wall, where private areas are distributed. This base, true to its characteristics, is the support of the house on the ground, and contains the excavated soil for its settlement. It comes into view in full from certain viewpoints, while from others it is half-buried and seems to arise. At the back and at the entrance of the house, a large cut in the ground generates a submerged courtyard which serves mainly to illuminate and ventilate the bedroom areas on the ground floor. At the same time, it becomes one of the most important areas of reference of the house. It is contained by an exposed concrete wall, contrasting with the stone wall, thus creating tensions between the two systems.
The arrival to the house is through a steel and glass bridge that intersects with the stone wall, and opens the space to a large steel and glass nave that contains the social areas of the house on the upper floor. On this nave rests a traditional mud tile roof.
Finally, the finishes of the house are simple materials like concrete and wood on floors, concrete walls, wood deck, etc.. The lightness of the glass top volume is even more evident at night when artificial light exposes its permeability and the great nave of the roof, which is juxtaposed with the monolithic volume of the base on which it rests.
Photos: Sebastían Crespo Camacho
The Cluny House is a cozy and luxurious yet sustainable family home that has been designed by Guz Architects, situated in Singapore. The residence demonstrates how technology, planning and design can be applied sensitively to generate a comfortable, luxurious, yet sustainable family home.
Photovoltaic cells and solar water heaters are employed together with design for passive cooling and cross ventilation to reduce energy usage. Irrigation tanks and roof gardens collect and recycle rainwater; and the use of materials such as recycled teak and artificial timber adds warmth without compromising the finite resources of our environment.
The house is laid out around a central water court that forms the focal point of the project. Lushly planted roof gardens surround this and add to the effect that nature is evident in every part of the house.
Although the house is high tech – using state of the art EIB systems, photovoltaic cells, security systems – these are integrated discreetly and work with the natural environment of the house rather than against it.
This integration of technology and nature deserves special mention in a compelling design that could realistically become the model for sustainable living.
Photos: Patrick Bingham Hall
Taquari House is a modern property built for empty nesters, the creative vision of architecture studio Ney Lima, located in the tropical environment of Brasilia, Brazil. When building the 4,090 square foot (380 square meters) home, the clients wanted to preserve a typical tree savanna that existed on the grounds in the neighborhood of Taquari. Having this first fruits as a starting point, the architect and the residents agreed to build a two-story house in a U shape.
The ends were designed one bistro cuisine and a living involving the tree that stands out because of the white background and sides with rustic ceramic coating , which resembles the traditional adobe houses employed in the interior of Goiás.
The rooms of the house are integrated into nature through glass windows. The transparent and circular elements are featured for the walls and bring a perspective of communication between the environments having as passing the tree and leisure area.
Concrete frames around the vertical windows bring volume and balance between the stiffness of the concrete and a warmth of red. The green stone in the pool is of Asian origin called Hijau, which integrates nature and brings freshness which is necessary for the hot dry climate.
The house entrance is marked by a box of exposed concrete where a door was installed corten steel which contrasts with the cement and harmonizes with the external coating.
Photos: Edgard Cesar
Fairfield Hacienda is a stunning contemporary dwelling that was the vision of MRTN Architects, located on the fringe of Melbourne, Australia’s inner suburbs. The new family home sits in an established residential street of Victorian villas and Californian bungalows. From the street, the angled roof home seems to fit into the landscape of single-level homes, effortlessly picking up the street’s original pattern of hipped and gabled roof forms. A closer look however, reveals that this new house sits unusually behind a sunny, walled courtyard. This room without a roof, except for a sheltering courtyard tree, is an extension of the living and dining spaces that open onto it.
The enclosed courtyard is located to the north of the house and creates a buffer between the street and the house allowing the living spaces to open up to and access northern light and warmth.
The front wall of the courtyard matches the front setback of the adjacent neighbors. In holding the typical front setback of houses along the street, and setting the house to the south, a sun filled outdoor area is created that can be used as a living, dining or play area. The courtyard space also becomes a semi-public space allowing interaction between the owners and local passerby’s; responding to the owner’s desire that the house engage with the established residents in the area.
The concrete block walls of the courtyard continue without interruption through the house’s main living areas. These walls remain unchanged except for the patina. Outside they are rough and weathered, but become polished and honed once inside. The design is not precious of the courtyard walls; eventually vines and creepers will take over the exterior concrete block and create a walled garden that will change by season.
The living spaces are covered with an undulating canopy of cedar, a warm blanket of timber. From the exterior the roof form relates to the neighboring roof geometries along the street but from inside the roof dips and rises to define the dining, kitchen and living spaces below. The timber ceiling is kept clear of down lights and services; all lighting is provided by concealed perimeter uplighting, at night the roof appears to float over the masonry walls below.
Beyond the living spaces the private zones of the house are arranged as two wings, a parents wing and a children’s wing, that wrap around a small courtyard. This central planted courtyard provides light and ventilation to the center of the house. Currently parents and young children can see each other through this void but over time planting will create greater privacy for older children.
The owners’ brief was to create a long-term family home, somewhere they could become a part of the street and its ongoing history. The Fairfield Hacienda sits comfortably within its local context while creating a contemporary light filled home that is orientated to the north and provides a variety of spaces to live in, both inside and out.
Photos: Peter Bennetts