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
Querosene House is a modern three story home showcasing an incredible library design that contains 7,500 books, designed by architects grupoSP in São Paulo, Brazil. A large portion of land where the house has been built lies three meters below street level, so the design of this urban home of 10X40 meters enabled a large open space that is straightforward and transparent. This space is defined in one side by the north face structure, a parallel free wall which houses a library containing 7,500 volumes and on the other side by a parallel block, an all closed space – a block with three stories that contains all the services, equipment and dormitories.
To access this block concrete stairs positioned parallel to the south limit of the bath, to access the wall of books metal platforms connected to the service block placed in an interleaved manner.
The design takes advantage from the difference between the street level and the lower level of the plot, by positioning the living room in this lower level which ensures the required privacy and maintains the view of the distant landscape through the void. This simple home adopts simple constructive solutions, reducing the actions required for its achievement.
The structure of the volume is resumed to masonry walls and reinforced concrete. Installations are apparent and performed without interference. After that the finishes are simple: monolithic concrete flooring and white Portuguese Stone. The walls without finishes are ready as it built. A single exception: the wall with books, finished with time and history.
Photos: Nelson Kon
Casa Varatojo has been designed by Atelier Data, for a family who desired to be close to the city whilst enjoying views of the surrounding landscape of Varatojo, just east of the city of Torres Vedras, Portugal. Set in a polygonal configuration plot and given its sun exposure (predominantly North/South) and also its main Northern wind direction, the design strategy began by considering the following issues:
Promoting relationship between building and landscape, taking advantage of the place’s overlooking position over the city, castle and surroundings;
Encouraging a strong complementarity between the house and the garden in order to create an intense visual relation between the inside and the outside, between construction and natural elements;
Creating transversal relations between the North Side – (view) and the South side – (inner garden) mainly through the pool on the lower floor and modeling land of the garden;
Recycling of materials such as the walls of wooden pilings (former railway sleepers), introducing a certain experimentalism and innovation from the way the material is usually used for and thought to be;
Encouraging the use of native vegetation in the garden.
The 4,090 square foot (380 square meters) house is shaped by a spiral gesture intending to take advantage of the plot outline.
We opted for the construction of a limit, a kind of line that gradually takes shape and thickness to accommodate the housing program.
This gesture starts with the ramped access to the lot and ends on the opposite side of the house, achieving at this point two-stories high, thereby the contour of the house also reinforced this “gesture in spiral”.
The adopted design strategy allowed us to create a living space on the site’s south side, protected from the strong Northern winds, which forced the existence of the main construction on the north side.
From a functional standpoint, the program is distributed in three floors.
The groundfloor centralizes most of the program.
There is located the common areas – kitchen, living room and dining room – constrained to a single and continuous open space, enhanced by the ceiling plan. On the other hand, the rooms’ wing (with a much more restricted access) contains guest and children’s rooms, separated by a playing/studying room.
On the 1st floor is located the master bedroom with a deep balcony facing North, and on the South, there is a bathroom with a big window facing a small garden as its background.
Still on this floor there is a library, a mezzanine space over the living space.
On the lower floor the pool is the central space through where it is possible to connect with both north sights and south private garden, and also to enjoy the reflected landscape on the water.
On one hand we opted for the use of traditional materials and coatings, as exemplified by the cementitious materials, plaster, timber and cork, and, on the other hand, we considered the reuse of railway sleepers within a distinct logic of its conventional use introducing some innovation and experimentation in the search for new possibilities of materials’ use.
Thus we suggest new interpretations from the current and traditional construction, through design but also through material options.
Vegetation: Elasticity and Plasticity
Define a grove of Quercus faginea subssp. broteroi (Portuguese oak), seeded the phytogeographic association where the plot is located. The dominant choice of native vegetation for the garden (trees, shrubs and herbaceous) takes advantage of site soil and climate characteristics, creating an ecological system integrated into the Landscape of the Region (Genius loci).
On the North hillside, a Kermes oak shrubland, appear in a limestone substrate. Exposed to the wind, the Kermes oak shrubland have as main actors the Quercus coccifera and mastic (Pistacia lentiscus) that associates with various species such as: the Mediterranean buckthorn (Rhamnus alaternus); the Flax-leaved Daphne (Daphne gnidium); the Sage-leaved Rock Rose (Cistus salvifolius); the Lusitanian gorse (Ulex densus); the Rough bindweed (Smilax aspera) and the Etruscan honeysuckle (Lonicera etrusca). On the sheltered South side, arises the Portuguese oak with arborescent shrubs like Laurustinus (Viburnum tinus); the single-seed Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna); the Laurel (Laurus nobilis) and herbaceous like Bear`s breeches (Acanthus mollis) and yellow irises (Iris pseudacorus).
Photos: Richard John Seymour