Los Chillos House has been designed by Quito based architectural firm Diez + Muller Arquitectos in Valle de los Chillos, Cuenca Canton, Ecuador. The home was completed in 2012, comprised of 5,920 square feet of living space with a contemporary exterior facade composed of stone and glass which contracts ascetically with its traditional rustic interior design.
The design of this 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. 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.
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.
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
Nestled on a site in Richfield, Wisconsin that consists of both a small farm field and heavily wooded topography of two glacial kettles, Fieldstone House has been designed by Bruns Architecture. It was the two glacial kettles, their existence the reason the land to the east was never logged or farmed, that drew the owners to this site. Approaching the house’s entry, one’s view is framed by steel trellises and a notch in the stone wall focusing attention on the woodland topography beyond. Once inside, the view is again aligned through the house and towards the forest.
The house’s primary living spaces are collected in a tall volume on the woodland side, with support spaces in the smaller, flat-roofed structure on the field side. The geometries of these forms respond to the varied site conditions as they address the hierarchical program within. The roof of the primary volume gently slopes to a central valley, subtly reminiscent of the adjacent glacial topography.
Beginning south of the entry, continuing through the interior spaces and extending back out to the north, a fieldstone wall organizes circulation and provides an inherent connection and orientation to the site. The fieldstone used for the wall was collected from a nearby site after being brought to the region in a glacier originating in Canada. The veneer itself was polished smooth by glacial activity. And the striations on the surface are the result of debris within the ice that was dragged across the settling stone.
Zinc panels hang like drapes on the facade from the clerestory down to the lower level, blurring the floor line that threads between the spaces. The warm grey metal is balanced with smooth cedar siding that wraps the flat volumes. The taught application highlights a larger geometric composition of the components and blends warmly with the surrounding vegetation.
Centered in the main volume, a board-formed concrete chimney engages and anchors both levels. Wood burning fireplaces are enjoyed from both sides of this element, offering flickering views through its mass while providing visual screening from one space to the next. Within the entry, a cedar wall extends down past a timber and steel stair providing visual connection between the two levels.
The house has low-e, argon filled triple pane glazing throughout. Opaque walls are thermally optimized with air-tight foam insulation. Radiant heat is utilized within polished concrete floor slabs on both levels. The mass of the concrete retains the heat energy and distributes it evenly throughout the day. The south facing eave is precisely extended to allow sunlight to fully penetrate the space on winter days, while passively providing shade in the summer.
Photos: Tricia Shay Photography
Limantos Residence is a contemporary glass and steel dwelling designed by architect Fernanda Marques in the upscale neighborhood of Cidade Jardim (Garden City) in the West Zone of São Paulo, Brazil. The single family residence consists of 8,826 square feet (820 square meters) of living space, spread out over three levels on a steep 8,395 square foot (780 square meters) plot. The house is comprised of 13 rooms: living, dining, kitchen, mezzanine, kids’ playroom, three bedroom suites, powder room, two staff suites, plus laundry and garage. The family engaged Fernanda Marques to create a home – both the architecture and interior are by Marques – that functions well as an everyday residence for the active family, but also lends itself to frequent entertaining. Marques achieved a beautiful balance between maximum transparency and privacy, and managed to insert the building into a challenging plot while preserving the existing trees. Using glass, steel, and concrete, Marques created a timeless house in the spirit of Mies van der Rohe who was the architect’s inspiration for this project.
Photos: Fernando Guerra
This unique home was once an old commercial property, a toy store, then went on to become an ultra-modern house with an amazing layout in Barcelona, Spain. Architecture studio Egue y Seta was commissioned for the reform of the project as well as the interior design. They left the essential walls, renovated facilities and combined warm materials such as iroko and oak woods , with other loft aesthetics, such as concrete, brick and galvanized sheet metal.
Glass is the key material in the reform, which directly influences the organization of space. It is mostly used in the facade, so that natural light takes the leading role. Behind the facade of glass, two fronts of vertical oak slats provide privacy on both sides of the entrance door, flanked by two walls that give life to the house. These shrubs, alongside a real indoor garden, featuring local species and bed of pine bark, forming a green triangle that provides a natural setting environment, something made possible by the special layout of the house.
To the right of the entrance are the common areas, an open plan living room, dining room and kitchen. A sunken living room was a solution for achieving spaciousness, as the difference in level creates the illusion of distance with the dining room when, in fact, they are close.
The walls are enhanced by contrasting brick wall and gray paint. The original wrought ceiling with beams was left exposed and galvanized steel ducts for air conditioning and heating was added.
The bedroom, is separated from two totally glazed volumes: the bathroom and indoor garden located in front of the entrance. Privacy is redefined as well in this house inhabited by a childless couple. In return, the owner’s can enjoy the central garden, as without a wall between the sleeping area and the bathroom, the bedroom is designed as a suite.
Photos: Mi Casa
The Dwell On Despard is the ultimate in luxury lifestyle, this ultra-sleek home is situated in exclusive Rockland, an historic neighborhood of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. Designed by Urban Core Ventures, this astounding new contemporary home offers soaring ocean and Olympic mountain views. The home boasts several stunning architectural details, including floating staircase, great room with roll-away doors that open to deluxe infinity pool and hot tub, heated concrete floors, full home automation, hidden theater room, large roof-top deck complete with wet bar. Over 5,000 square feet of luxurious living space and 2,000+ square feet of patio/deck areas 5 bedrooms, 6 bathrooms, in-law/nanny areas on a 9,000 square foot south facing lot. The home is bright, airy and has cutting-edge design offering innovative modern resort style living.
Photos: Joshua Lawrence Studios INC
CH House is the demolition of an old home to make way for a new residential project designed by GLR Arquitectos, located on a privileded site in Garza Garcia, Mexico. The demolition allowed for the adjustment of the topography to coordinate with the new scheme, allowing the home to take advantage of the wonderful city views. The rear garden almost disappears, leaving only a narrow contemplative garden, which acquires a very special character due to a beautiful original existing rock.
The kitchen, breakfast room, family room and master bedroom enjoy this visual effect. Towards the front of the property, a large semi-covered terrace is built around an infinity pool, which makes us forget for a moment the urban condition of the project, thanks to the large green areas of a park just in front of the property, which visually joins the huge greenery of the Country Club golf course.
Inside the house, a large double height living room with a set of exposed concrete skylights becomes the heart of the project, due to the interesting effect of the controlled natural light that floods the whole area. Around such space, the bedrooms, decks, home theater, and home office complete the program.
In the last level , such home office enjoys the splendid views of the city, in addition to being visually connected through a large window towards the double height living room, acquiring a condition of great transparency and giving the sensation of being a floating bridge over the terrace.
The materials, mainly the gray exposed concrete , the gray oak wood and the black granite facades, as well as the indoor and outdoor white stucco , contribute to the project a both refined and contemporary character.
Photos: Jorge Taboada
The House at Jardin del Sol project, designed by Corona + P. Amaral Architects is a monolithic concrete and glass house over a timber platform located at the edge of a cliff in Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain. The unique site and shape of the 4,186 square foot (388.97 square meters) house was developed in order to enjoy the amazing views of the 300 meters cliff, a 100 meters long black sand beach, mount Teide and all the north coast of Tenerife island.
Bedroom and service areas are located in a one-storey rectangular volume which enters into a double high volume containing the living-room, studio and kitchen. Both volumes organize an L-shape around the black paddle located at the edge of the platform so water surface gets mixed with the one of the sea, so all the areas of the house enjoy the views underlined by wood and water.
The interior and exterior finishing of the closed volume consists in treated concrete while complete walls are used in the facades facing the views. Protection is solved with timber shuts in the bedroom area and outside canvas stores in the living room.
A gym is located in the basement with direct access from the terrace and views to the inside through a glass wall.
A steel and wood freestanding canopy provides shadow to the central part of the terrace. Gardening, based in the use of local cliff species, is located in the slope between the street and the built volume so the house seems to be inserted into the natural cliff .
Photos: Roland Halbe, José Ramón Oller
The Bunker House has been built by Botteri-Connell Architects in a suburban neighborhood of La Plata, Buenos Aires, Argentina. The concept of the home was for someone who will live there permanently and whose children, friends and couple will visit them from time to time. From meetings with the client, many concepts arise that seek architectonical answers: “a house which can integrate social life in direct relation with the outside, having a space in it which hosts and protects intimacy. A space where one can stay while the rest of the house remains asleep. An introspection space; a temporal oasis.” In response to these concepts, at first sight the house is built along two different elements: the Bunker that is solid, hermetic, almost impenetrable; and the open, permeable Action area that dissolves the limits in constant movement .
The Bunker is a singular poetic image, a primitive shelter, a home for lonely dreams and an intimate space. Practically void of the outside, it “opens up” a larger universe, holding the Dweller in their complete reality. The Bunker presents itself to the outside as stony, still, immemorial as a carved rock. However, there are lines that cross it through, that mold it and engrave it…GRAVITY, LIGHT, WATER and AIR outline TIME and SPACE. Its inside layout- “heartbeats of the one who lives in it”- defines a warm, soft and expandable heart… Geometry is surpassed.
The spiral staircase stops being a mere connection element between distant points to become an entrance to a cosmic and mysterious universe, an escape from ordinary life from time to time and a feeling of “ascension” drawn by the development of the axial focus… The Infinite.
The Action Plan – made up of transparent membranes, white walls and large tiling surfaces-defines areas embedded in a larger one which in fact are the actual limits of the plot of land. The neutral Green and its different degrees of seizure. The Water, with its leading role in everyday life, is sometimes a mirror and sometimes entertainment but always a connection between the World and ME. The Light passes gently through the concrete walls. The Gravity permanently facing challenge.
And there come Lines Again: Family Lines, Friendship Lines and Work Lines making space constantly flow. It is a place for social life. Among them, overlooking the scene, concrete walls rise.
Photos: Gustavo Sosa Pinilla
House in Kitakamakura is a unique modern house comprised of glass, steel and concrete, designed by Suppose Design Office, situated in Kamakura, Kanagawa, Japan. The residence was built on an uneven site in the outskirts of Kita Kamakura. The architects devised a plan to create an appealing living space by building directly over the uneven land. From an architectural standpoint, with an upper and lower level, the influence of the footing and other aspects caused too many uncertainties in the support of the retaining wall. So the architects proposed to set concrete shafts slightly away from the wall and create a steel frame between the shafts in order to insure the safety of the living space and the site at the same time.
This also helps to keep the excavation which accompanies construction work on uneven sites to a minimum. In addition, the space between the two levels which is created by the shafts and the retaining wall can be used as a garden. Many kinds of natural spaces can be created, such as a Japanese Garden, Bath Terrace, or Green Garden. The concrete will create a quiet, enclosed space, while an open space is created by the steel framework. Through these — two structural forms you can feel connected to the surrounding nature in this wonderful living space.
With just a few techniques we can overturn the stereotypes associated with this type of site. What was once viewed- as a site with poor building conditions can be changed into land with great possibilities. Rather than looking at the negative side, we would like to continue searching for these possibilities by accepting all — that these sites have to offer.
Photos: Toshiyuki Yano from Nacasa&Partners Inc.
This super stunning concrete mountain retreat has been designed by Kaegebein Fine Homebuilding, situated on Capitol Creek Road, Snowmass, Colorado. The two-storey home features polished concrete flooring with two coats of sealer, concrete walls and a neutral color palette. Although the furnishings are modern, the soft textures and materials create a warm and welcoming environment. Large expanses of glass blurs the lines between indoors and out. The lift and slide door in the open plan living area helps to open the space up to the outdoors. The exterior facade is not a traditional wooden log home, like you would typically see in the area, which makes it unique to the area and seems to blend with its snowy landscape. The home is hidden from the street, surrounded by a heavily forested terrain a creek below the house.
The inviting living area with an incredible fireplace is the perfect spot for entertaining guests during the holiday season. All the appliances are state of the art, hinting at the inhabitants’ need for modern creature comforts.
The material used for this incredible fireplace is steel with an acid wash and lacquer.
A stairway with wooden steps leads the way to the private areas located on the second level.
Photos: Derek Skalko