This unusual family home applies the principles of an M.C.Escher painting in architecture, displaying cubes of concrete covered entirely with a soft synthetic grass that allows the structure to blend in almost completely with the landscape. This extraordinary dwelling is situated in the municipality of Frohnleiten, Austria, a project designed by Weichlbauer Ortis Architects. The study has given rise to a game that generates volumes, slightly rotated and pushed into other, protruding from the main body. Windows and doors have been suspended horizontally in front of the large windows which serve as railings. Fixtures are placed in front in an almost improvised and seemingly out of context. The stairs to the facade is purely aesthetic or structural support. The section of a window is used as a handrail, a door positioned in a point that it would be better not to cross. Nothing in this house seems to be where it should …
Photos: Peter Eder
The Residence in Kifissia is designed by Tense Architecture Network, situated in Kifissia, Greece. The residence’s plot is small and an adjacent building almost blocks the southern sun. The main part of the field should remain free and become the residence itself: an austere prism, centrally supported, hovers above the liberated ground. At first, an area was defined: a cubic shell of plants creates a limit for the house. In order to reside, ones withdraws in. Three metallic columns support a net of inox ropes where plants have already started to climb in order to generate a volume equally important to the house’s prisms.
When the plants are grown the green screen will be penetrated only by the black central column of the concrete shelter. The basalt-watery surface on which it is based reflects the light in the interior. Exposed concrete is dark tinted where a greater depth, a sense of anchoring was necessary. Artificial light is cautiously managed in order to protect the night and the intimacy that dim light offers.
The shell remains intact towards the main facade. The public image of the residence will eventually recede behind the plants and the house will claim the whole field. The vigorously detached prism lets the sun enter and functions as a shelter: living space lies beneath. When the sliding panels retreat, the merging with the garden is complete.
The space that the elevated prism creates is the main compositional gesture. The manner that this gesture is performed is crucial: it is the manner through which the hovering prism is supported by the central column. A calm tension is realized, a simple yet clear correlation of forces. The synergy between structural and architectural design gives a residence where the shell is not more important than its field. Those are juxtaposed: one to one.
Photos: Filippo Poli
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
Nam Dger Apartment is a unique modern home situated in Nam Tower in the heart of Tel Aviv, Israel, designed by Gerstner Architects. The most intriguing feature about this home is its sculptural steel staircase as the focal point of the home. This two-level bachelor pad showcases sleek white interiors and modern furnishings of minimalist design. There is an upstairs mezzanine level that encompasses the private areas of the home, a master bedroom and nursery. A large embankment of windows along the front of the home looks out onto the busy city, extending out to a spacious patio.
Photos: Amit Geron
Wapiti Valley Residence is a private home situated in the Wapiti Valley of Wyoming near the east border of Yellowstone National Park. The residence was designed by STUDIO.BNA Architects in collaboration with studioryker, completed in 2007.
From the architects, “The wapiti valley landscape is vast, the weather is dramatic, and the changing light and seasons provide for an endless transformation of phenomena. The prominent stone figure of the China Wall resides over the land breaking up an otherwise near constant pitch downward to the river below.
The landscape in which the Wapiti Residence is situated is exposed and revealing. The series of structures that comprise house, gym and guest house were developed to blend into the landscape, but not disappear. Slipped between the seasonal drainages, native grass, and sage brush, the building forms are strong on the land like the China Wall, itself.
Without apology, the simplified architectonic forms expressed through walls of rammed earth, steel, and teak screen, sheltered by a butterfly canopy, are at times the drama of the valley, and at others a shadowy figure in the land.”
Photos: Matthew Millman
This striking, one-of-a-kind architectural masterpiece is one of the most unique villas in Los Angeles, California. Designed by David Lawrence Gray Architects, Sunset Plaza Mansion sits on a privately gated half-acre plus promontory overlooking the Hollywood Hills. Part contemporary palace, part concrete fortress, this 10,369 square foot fantasy villa is unlike anything else in the neighborhood. The home belongs to DJ and producer Val Kolton, and has been coined the “King of the Hill” and has also been referred to as “The Fortress”. Inside the elements of steel, glass and concrete have been masterfully incorporated throughout the mansion.
The home boasts floor-to-ceiling walls of glass that captures 270-degree jet liner city views from downtown to the Pacific Ocean. A glass staircase escorts you over the voluminous, 60′ grand entry and into the lavish master bedroom suite, richly appointed with burl wood details and an opulent dual master bathroom. Additional features include a professional stainless steel kitchen designed by the Porsche Design Group, five bedrooms in the main villa, and two more in the detached gate house (which also has its own living room), a large screening room with a full-sized bar, billiards table, motor court, gym, Koi pond, motor court and a private outdoor swimming pool with a 12-person spa. Stunning any time of the day or night, The Fortress is truly an unparalleled architectural trophy.
This incredible mansion can be rented with prices starting at $3,500/per night, from here.
This haven, nestled in the lush greenery of Bukit Timah Road, Singapore captures the ingenious display of mankind’s modern existence with the natural environment in perfect harmony. Designed by architecture firm ONG&ONG Pte Ltd., this home provides the ideal balance between the needs for family bonding as well as for personal space.
The house’s design takes full advantage of the native tropical environment, and the building’s shape as well as its placement were carefully planned so as not to dwarf the site’s rich, natural space. Basic elemental forms were used – namely, a cube and rectangle block comprise the stacked volumes of this house – and with no shortage of sunlight in the Singapore climate, the structure’s open layout is ideal for natural lighting and cross-ventilation.
Sunlight enters from all sides of the house, providing illumination during the day whilst also keeping the interiors warm during cooler weather. To battle the heat, one can have a dip in the edgeless pool encircling the home, while natural wind also circulates within the building to bring down the temperature. The second level is also cantilevered, providing shade to areas on the ground floor.
Within the house, communal areas are spacious, with a double-volume void over the living area seamlessly unifying the two levels as a collective whole. This facilitates interaction between the close-knit family as communication across the house can be direct and intimate.
The selection of materials used in various sections of the house was cost-effective, with an emphasis on high-grade quality without being excessively extravagant. A Classic Modernist style was adopted through the use of fare-faced concrete and timber planks for the walls as well as teak for some of the flooring and underside of the roof. The designers also attempted to revive the terrazzo tradition, once popular in the region, by applying the composite of white cement on polished marble chips to areas such as the living room, giving its floor a seamlessly sophisticated finish.
In the bathrooms, Ardex was employed in creating a raw-looking finish for the walls, which provide an interesting and striking contrast against a single feature wall that is encased in dark marble.
Even though space is abundant in this house, it is still able to accommodate numerous bedrooms for the many family members, with four on the second floor as well as a guestroom and maid’s quarters on the ground floor. Lourves lining the sides of the upper floor provide the choice of either opening up the floor to take in the surrounding views, or keeping the bedrooms hidden for privacy.
Photos: Derek Swalwell
With each new project contemporary architecture is forced to optimize spaces and use the maximum of each square meter of the site. V4 House, designed by Studio MK27 is a rare anti-example. Its occupation of the land is very far from the maximum coefficient. Laws allow for much larger constructions. The solution adopted, however, dialogues with the dimension of the site, formulating an adequate relation between the scale of the construction and the site. Contrary to the surrounding houses, a garden neighborhood of São Paulo, Brazil, V4 House is a ground floor and almost disappears when seen from the street.
The living room, positioned at the front of the house, is under a delicate beam of exposed concrete. Two rows of door frames, on both sides of the living room, can be completely retracted, constituting total integration between the front garden, the living room and the back patio. The living room, in this case, shelters from rain and sun, like a large veranda. And, under the beam, in one of the extremities, there is an open kitchen. On the ceiling of this volume, a large deck is an empty space that functions as a solarium. This terrace makes almost the entire project like a garden.
The concrete beam appearing from the wooden box, houses the two rooms that face the patio. In the wooden box from where the concrete beam appears, are the two rooms that face the patio.
The wooded shaded area enables to control the inner temperature and, simultaneously, offers privacy to the environments.
The bathroom of the master bathroom faces a small garden, removed from the rest of the house.
The program for the client’s needs and the dimensions of the site made it possible to do an unusual project: an urban ground-floor house. The house ends up, therefore, being very delicately inserted with the surroundings.
Photos: Courtesy of Studio MK27
Mapledene Road house is situated in a conservation area in Hackney, London. The property had been stripped of virtually all its period features and had become run down and used as a “crack den” leaving it ripe for modernization. Refurbishment was conceived of as a landscape of interventions and new components by London-based Platform 5 Architects. The cellular ground floor was opened up and extended to the rear to allow the spaces to flow into each other and to the garden whilst the existing layout to the first floor was largely retained. Each room maintains an individual character giving a varied experience as you move through the house.
The kitchen and patio areas are unified by a power-floated concrete floor and London stock brick garden wall giving the internal space an external character. The existing flank wall has been removed and the kitchen is applied as a lining to the rough brickwork. A modern structural glass oriel window lined with cherry wood projects into the garden and juxtaposes with the Victorian bay that projects into the street. The expansive glass roof over the kitchen opens up the view to the sky; you can watch the planes fly over and the swifts catching flies.
Daylight is brought in from above to illuminate previously dark spaces, the walls, floors, roof, glazing and appliances have been upgraded to modern standards for insulation and efficiency. Overheating and glare in the kitchen is managed by shading from the surrounding buildings and trees, high thermal mass and the use of solar-control glass and blinds.
Photos: Courtesy of Platform 5 Architects