Y Duplex penthouse apartment received a complete overhaul to its interiors in 2014 by Pitsou Kedem Architects, located in Tel Aviv, Israel. The project was a small yet complex renovation that was an especially challenging project for the architects. The living space was comprised of 1,722 square feet (160 square meters), including 50 square meters of balcony space.
From the architects: How would it be possible to install meaning and architectural values to a roof top apartment in a “standard” uninspired design multi-story building located amongst a row of similar structures in one of Tel Aviv’s bourgeois neighborhoods
The apartment was designed to integrate with the architectural language and characteristics of other projects by the architectural firm and thus, using modern architectural values, it combines modern elements by using materials in their raw form: exposed concrete wall, iron stairs and furniture, a terrazzo floor, poured on-site and unpainted wood.
The space created by the new stairwell, divides the movement and the axis of the existing space in a way that creates a dramatic architectural cross section through the apartment, links the different levels and allows natural light to penetrate the building through glass skylights inserted into the roof of the upper floor. The new cross section creates a double space with transparent glass and a system of moveable wooden slats that makes it possible to create a view between the spaces or to allow privacy and natural light control.
The restraint and scale of the apartment design avoiding the use of gimmicks make it into a “timeless architecture”.
The raw materials and the attempt to create an architecture that was both unfashionable and timeless is complemented by the books and pieces of art hung throughout the apartment including works by the artist Guy Yanai.
Despite the fact that the apartments has a small area, the spaces feel large and spacious. The wide and open views out to the scenery and in between the neighberhood buildings create the feeling of a light and airy space. The border between the interior spaces and the balconies is almost totally blurred by a thin glass panel system. The use of the same flooring, purred terrazzo, both inside and outside also contributes to this feeling of continuity.
Photos: Amit Geron
The arrival at House B+B – the access to the social area – is through an architectural trajectory, via an open ramp, located on the eastern side of the construction. This space is protected by hollowed-out concrete elements to the side, which create surprising effects of light and end up functioning as protection from bad weather conditions.
It is an interstitial space between the protected inside of the construction and the open garden. The ramp, long and smooth, extends the transition from interior to exterior creating the constant sensation of environment changing. This solution was vastly used by Brazilian modernism, which consecrated the radical use of ramps as a way of vertical circulation while reaffirming the Corbusian precepts of architectural promenade. There is an intentional uncertainty about the character of this space: internal or external?
The reference to modernism lies also in the wall of hollowed-out elements, renowned from the 30’s in Brazil, as a solution to be reproduced on large scale, very appropriate for the tropical climate since it allows for shading without blocking of the fresh breeze.
The social area of the house creates a sensation of coziness and comfort, in an open space, without any structural interference for the organization of the furniture layout. A 3.5 meters sliding door allows the kitchen to be completely integrated to the dining room. The counter used for food preparation is behind the window overlooking the ramp and receiving the ‘constructed’ light, filtered by the hollowed-out elements. Thus, the kitchen becomes a lit-up space and a pleasant ambient.
Different than the usual solution, the rooms are on the first floor – in direct relation to the garden – and can be also accessed internally via a staircase connected to the living room on the top floor. The wooden elements on this floor’s facade allow for the internal control of the sunlight and thus provides for a great thermal performance.
The use of ‘raw’ materials such as exposed concrete and wood give a lively aspect to residence, constantly changing over time. The architecture of B+B House sought to create a cozy, welcoming space, an intimate home as much for the daily lives of the residents as well as for the reception of friends in social gatherings.
Photos: Fernando Guerra
Warner House is a renovated apartment offering an open, loft-like living space by Inside Out Architecture, located in the Clerkenwell section of central London. The renovation was carried out on behalf of a couple, which entailed removing interior walls of the 2,583 square foot apartment.
From the architect: Following the success of a number of London refurbishment projects, Inside Out Architecture was appointed to redesign the interior layout of a unique apartment space in Clerkenwell, Central London, in early 2012.
The existing building has an intriguingly tactile industrial structure, with exposed concrete beams and columns throughout its interior. These original structural elements proved far more captivating than the apartment’s existing interior, and IOA’s subsequent intervention sought to enhance their prominence.
Work began by stripping the old apartment back to its basic shell and exposing the dramatic geometry of the concrete beams. A number of spaces – including a TV room, two bedrooms, separate family and guest bathrooms, a utility room and an adaptable guest bedroom – were then “inserted” into this hollow shell.
These inserts came in the form of numerous bespoke joinery pieces, designed with a light touch and simple smooth finishes to contrast with, and hence emphasise, the strength of the textured concrete structure. By stopping these joinery inserts short of the overhead beams, the architects expressed them as something secondary to the structure. It was then possible to step these partitions back at high level to align with concrete beam junctions. This enabled the creation of a suitable layout in plan while ensuring that full acoustic separation was achieved in a way that respected the complex soffit geometry. Despite their simple expression, the joinery pieces house a wealth of concealed functions including fold out beds, integrated radiators, storage units, kitchen appliances, glazed screens, curtain recesses, sliding partitions and the entire family bathroom.
In the living area a bespoke island kitchen was introduced to provide a focal point for activity within a large open plan space. A suspended aluminium profile provided functional downlighting while simultaneously uplighting the concrete soffit to create a comfortable warm atmosphere, giving the clients the flexibility they require.
In combination, the project’s lighting, tones and textures collude to create a series of tranquil domestic spaces amidst the bustle of central London.
Photos: Jim Stephenson
59BTP-House is an additions and alterations project on an existing home, carried out by architecture studio ONG&ONG, located in Bukit Timah, Singapore. The owner’s father built the original house and the building was in an awkward position on the plot.
From the architect: According to the brief, the client wanted to have two master bedrooms along with four bedrooms – this required additional floor area as the original house area could not comfortably fit in the extra rooms.
However, the architects resolved to make use of the existing structure and maintain its orientation by simply adding an additional volume to accommodate the extra bedrooms and ensuite bathrooms.
The finished work is a successful amalgamation of the old house – with its 1950s look – and the new wing that closely follows the original structure whilst suitably updating it according to modern architectural trends.
For example, a stonewall in the original house was replaced with a concrete wall to give it a more modern finish whilst still staying true to the spirit of the earlier design.
Wherever possible, the original material was retained, such as the plaster that forms the upper levels. Also, the designers tried to maintain a similar look, so the new structure replicates the design of the old house by keeping the top volume bigger than the first floor, which is recessed.
Visually, the house appears to be a new building, yet there are scattered elements that make the older house recognizable even within this newer build, and that was essentially what the client desired for his childhood home.
Photos: Derek Swalwell
Scape House is a modern family residence that has just recently been completed in 2014 by FORM | Kouichi Kimura Architects, located in Shiga, Japan. The house is nestled on a hillside in a tiered-developed residential area. The development of the home was dictated based on the beautiful scenery of the lake that could be viewed from the site. The client also requested that the 1,474 square foot (137 square meters) house be very open while at the same time be designed to prevent prying eyes from viewing into the home.
From the architects: In this project, versatile spaces that incorporate light and scenery were intended by the windows in order to bring out the best in this house.
The dynamic configuration involving the box-shape volume with rhythmical layout of the windows produces beautiful life scenes where light and scenery are taken in while the eyes of neighborhood are blocked.
Scenery viewed through a window is greatly affected by the size or position of the window.
It is therefore essential to consider what should be viewed or not in the scenery framed by the window, instead of being stereotyped to take in the large area of the scenery by providing the largely-opening window.
The windows as framings produce comfortable spaces where you can enjoy light and scenery without being annoyed by eyes of neighborhood. The spaces incorporate a table, bench, book shelf, niche, and other furniture items so that you can utilize there to view outside, read books, eat meals, etc., which brings out characteristics of each space and provides its versatility.
The space is composed of mortar with a feel of texture, highlighting its presence. At the same time, it provides openness created by the clear and continuous sightline.
In addition, the space also serves as an indispensable element that reflects visual changes of light and scenery developed while moving around the room.
Photos: Yoshihiro Asada
LP House is a contemporary property comprised of two concrete, wood and glass volumes designed by Metro Arquitetos Associados, located in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Comprised of 2,045 square feet (190 square meters) of living space this modern residence is surrounded by a wooded landscape and flooded with natural light.
From the architect: The architectural project for this house consists of two main volumes; ground floor and superior floor. The ground floor embraces the architectonical program of the house and is organized by a longilineal volume that incorporates all of the wet areas; two bathrooms, kitchen and laundry room. This main volume stretches along the whole extension of the house, parallel to the lateral border and demarcating the end and initial point of the terrain.
The main areas of the house, living room and bedrooms, open up towards the garden in a transverse direction to the wet areas. The elevated flooring, 45cm above the ground level, allows the front of the house to be used as a comfortable seating area facing the garden.
The whole structure of the house is made of reinforced concrete with a solid concrete slab and inverted beam. All enclosures are of concrete, glass and wooden panels. The superior floor, where the office is located, consists of a lighter construction, made out of steel panelling and metal structure.
The cantilever on both extremities and the narrow slit between the floor beam and the roof slab accentuate the idea of two independent volumes. The stairway is the element that unites both of these volumes, even if positioned on the outside of the house. This makes it possible to go up and down without the need for going inside the house.
A house made up of volumes that organize space and define its structure creates the desired design and a beautiful sinuous garden.
Photos: Leonardo Finotti
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