Two Barns House is a stunning modern dwelling designed by architecture studio RS+, located in a quiet northern district of Tychy, Poland, near the forest complex. Access to this 2,701 square foot (251 square meters) home is achieved by a cul-de-sac from the main road connecting the plot in its north-west corner. Zoning plans based on the analysis of the urban area imposed roof geometry and the maximum height of the building. The rectangular shape of the plot and its orientation towards the south-west suggested preferred location of the building.
Requirements of investors was that the house have to be open to the south garden, spacious and comfortable. To accomplish this and to split the volume, we divide the body of the building in two materially and functionally different parts. We turned first shape towards south and include in it the whole day zone.
To let residents maneuver their cars easier, we headed second shape toward the entry to the plot. Here we placed the rest of functional areas. In addition, we shifted both solids relative to each other to further enlarge the driveway, which due to the relatively narrow access road must be used to turn back. This procedure also allowed us to create shaded and private part of the terrace which is directly accessible from the bedroom.
What’s more parts of the house shade each other so that the master bedroom does not collect direct sunlight in the afternoon, letting the room to cool down before the night. We connected both shapes with bright, open and glazed mezzanine. The choice of very durable materials, and resignation of the gutters gives the possibility for the house to retain its original appearance without maintenance throughout its entire existence.
To keep the building comfortable, we placed on the ground floor all zones necessary for everyday living, and the rest on the first floor. Interiors designed in two-color and warm minimalist style stands in contrast to the facade with a cool colors.
The quality of the building and its details is the result of high quality materials, good workmanship and constant supervision by designers over the investment.
Photos: Tomasz Zakrzewski
The Norwich Drive Residence features inspiring design and novel use of materials, the personal home of architect Clive Wilkinson, located in West Hollywood, California. The 3,300 square foot house was designed by the architect with the need to address two separate issues. From an urban design perspective, it needed to conform to City of West Hollywood design guidelines and fit into a small scale residential neighborhood, at the same time as transitioning in scale from the adjacent commercial strip of Melrose Avenue. In response to interest from friends, it also needed to provide a kind of prototype for an economical ‘starter urban house’ that would accommodate the new young urbanite lifestyle.
The second goal was complicated by specific site conditions: the lot was a non-standard trapezoidal form, widening towards the rear, as well as having a commercial building to the north that overlooked the site.
In an effort to reduce the house to a set of essential ideas, responses to existing conditions began to set the pattern of the house. The mass to the street was broken down allowing a single story over the garage and roof terrace. It was possible to screen the front yard with greenery, so an olive grove was planted up to the street. On entering the front gate, a visitor can see the full depth of the site – from the olive grove, through the glazed living room, to the rear yard and swimming pool – which enlarges the scale of the house. The living room is compressed in height, but opens to the two-story kitchen/dining room. All links between rooms are articulated on the diagonal with openings in corners, which again enlarges the sense of space.
The house addresses contemporary California living. There is one unified social space – the heart of the house – comprising living, dining and kitchen. Bedrooms are simple spaces re-convertible into studio or office type uses, especially the upstairs front room which is divided with a sliding wall. The master bedroom is located on the ground to emphasize a separation from the outside world (no views over the neighborhood) and a close link to the heart of the house. It has open bath and dressing areas, and a concealed video projection system for watching TV or movies in bed. The bathroom has a freestanding bath that opens to the pool via sliding doors, and the shower has double glass doors that allow wet bathers to shower directly after swimming without wetting the interior. Video projection is also used in the living room.
The building is a smooth stucco box – a vernacular LA type – with the living areas opening up to the exterior via large sliding glass doors. The house’s environmental performance is passive and uses basic sustainability ideas: electrically operated skylights exhaust hot air using a chimney effect in the double height space – and keep warm air inside during winter, insulation is optimized, underfloor heating is provided on ground level and the outside landscape uses a low water xeriscape approach, with a mostly gravel ground cover suitable for the desert location. From another sustainable viewpoint, the house is located in walking distance of the owner’s office, as well as walking distance of about 35 restaurants and bars, reducing car use considerably.
There is a raw expression of structure throughout the house – ceilings are exposed diagonal wood sheathing with a sprayed insulation roof on top. Floors are either smooth concrete, or wide plank quarter sawn oak, or white rubber stud. Walls are white drywall. Clive Wilkinson uses color and creative expression in many of his projects, but the intention here was to avoid expression and achieve a house that was both a simple art studio, which allowed the mind to wander without associations, and an adaptable place to socialize with friends.
Photos: Benny Chan, Fotoworks
Blue Ridge Residence is a striking steel and glass home designed by New York City-based studio Voorsanger Architects, located on a 200-acre farm in Charlottesville, Albermarle County, Virginia. read more
Chelsea townhouse is a three story contemporary renovation with a garden extension completed in 2011 by architecture studio Archi-Tectonics, located in Chelsea, New York. The existing 3,400 square foot brownstone townhouse is a New York landmark. The existing structure was gut-renovated and a 550 square foot garden extension was added to two floors and a roof terrace. The client, a fashion designer, was interested in a ‘textured’ and layered approach.
The new rear extension is conceived as a light airy space which creates a filter to the garden space beyond, adding more light and better views. The new garden facade is a 3d folded steel and glass structure with reclaimed tropical palisander infill. It extends the library on the garden level, the living room on the parlor floor and creates a terrace for the master bedroom area above.
The interior of the townhouse is gut-renovated; the top floor is raised, the garden floor is lowered and a completely new wood and glass staircase with a skylight is inserted, lighting the stair space all the way down. Large sets of sliding doors at the living/ entry and bedroom/bathroom areas are creating flexible use of space; these doors are 3d CNC milled with wood and glass patterns.
Photos: Richard Powers
Moore Park Residence is an infill house designed by Drew Mandel Architects, situated in the neighborhood of Moore Park, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. This sensational 2,880 square foot home was one of 15 recipients of the 2014 Design Excellence Awards from the Ontario Association of Architects.
It represents the first tear-down replacement on an established street that is characterized by a common model: 1920s-era single-family homes with mutual drives. The concept of the project is to integrate a re-imagined single-family residence into a typical Toronto streetscape.
The design embraces the iconic, house-like forms of the existing streetscape and reinforces the setbacks, materials, and relationship with grade. However, it puts forward a contemporary example of home. The third floor is set back at the front and rear and match existing massing on the street, while providing opportunities for green roof terraces and privacy at the east and west side.
The house forms a complex figure-ground relationship. It is animated by light and shadow, and it is structured by a board-formed concrete wall, transparent partitions, interconnecting void spaces, and a large light well that slices through three storeys. The concrete wall satisfies building code restrictions on unprotected openings to the south while allowing light to reach deeply into the basement.
The lowest storey slides underneath the rear ground plane where one can access a narrow exterior space that is open to light from above. The floors and spaces are visually interconnected yet defined for the varied activities of modern family living. It is the half-open house; a nuanced glass envelope enclosure.
The house is designed to accommodate a family’s changing needs and interests in different occasions and through its lifetime. The rear ‘mud room’, kitchen, dining and front entry spaces all bleed into their adjacent space for adaptive accommodation. The spaces have a range of uses: The ground floor millwork detailing allows an extended table for large family gatherings; four desk areas found throughout the house allow for a variety of home-office options; the basement is treated as a prime, and not a secondary space in order to maximize the use of available space.
The landscaping extends the experience of the house into the site. It includes a gas fire pit, curved foot path for a mailman, and three separate areas of living green roofs. The third floor terraces offer delightful views of the mature tree canopy surrounding the neighborhood. The shaped ceiling of the third floor master suite is uninterrupted in order to maintain both the views and access to natural light.
Photos: Ben Rahn / A-Frame
Cascading Creek House is a contemporary single family residence that has been designed by Bercy Chen Studio, located in Austin, Texas. The property was conceived less as a house and more as an extension and outgrowth of the limestone and aquifers of Central Texas. Just recently completed, this 11,796 square foot home incorporates plenty of sustainable features including photovoltaics, rainwater collection and hydronic heating and cooling. The beautiful contemporary design details carried out throughout the home was the meticulous work of Alan Cano Interiors.
The primary formal gesture of the project inserts two long native limestone walls to the sloping site, serving as spines for the public wing and private wing of the house. The walls and the wings they delineate shelter a domesticated landscape that serves as an extended living space oriented towards the creek below and protected from the torrents of water draining from the street above during sudden downpours characteristic of the area.
The sitting of the boundary walls and building elements was informed by the presence and preservation of three mature native oaks. The roof structure is configured so as to create a natural basin for the collection of rainwater, not unlike the vernal pools found in the outcroppings of the Texas Hill Country. These basins harness additional natural flows through the use of photovoltaic and solar hot-water panels.
The water, electricity and heat which are harvested on the roof tie into an extensive climate conditioning system which utilizes water source heat pumps and radiant loops to supply both the heating and cooling for the residence. The climate system is connected to geothermal ground loops as well as pools and water features thereby establishing a system of heat exchange, which minimizes reliance on electricity or gas.
Photos: Bercy Chen Studio
Wissioming2 Residence is organized into two volumes connected with glass bridges, designed by Robert M. Gurney Architect, located in Glen Echo, Maryland, just outside of Washington, DC. This newly developed home is sited on a sloping, wooded lot with distant views of the Potomac River.
The house is positioned to preserve a majority of mature trees and is oriented toward the river views and south facing slope.
Secondary volumes intersect and overlap the two larger structures rendering the composition more dynamic. Material changes in the various elements intensify the relationships. Expanses of glass open to a terrace organized around a swimming pool with two “infinity” edges reinforcing the connectivity to the wooded landscape.
The house is organized into two volumes connected with glass bridges that span a reflecting pool which separates the volumes.
The interiors are painted with light. Walls constructed with slender, steel window frames composed in “Mondrian” inspired patterns combine with translucent panels, wenge and white oak millwork and Pompeii Scarpaletto stone to define interior spaces. White terrazzo flooring juxtaposes the black window frames and unifies the volumes on the main floor.
This house is designed to provide spaces which are organized to integrate its inherently picturesque site in a way that the architecture becomes subservient to the landscape that surrounds it.
Photographs: Maxwell MacKenzie Architectural Photographer
Ravine Residence was designed to accommodate the integration of life with nature by Hariri Pontarini Architects, located in an area of North Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The 12,000 square foot (1,115 square meters ) contemporary home was completed in 2006, situated within a large ravine system. This private residence not only takes advantage of the surrounding expansive natural vistas, but also creates a close relationship with its immediate environment.
Designed to accommodate the integration of life with nature, the external treatment of this house explores a carefully honed language of natural materials, while the slightly curved front facade is carefully sculpted, presenting a solid entity to the street. The house opens to the back, inviting nature to interact with the everyday living of its residents.
Accented in earthy tones of French limestone, wood detailing, rift-cut oak and teak windows, this private home is juxtaposed with the natural greenery of the adjacent ravine. The property is, in essence, a two-acre room enclosed by a natural wall of fir trees. Settled within the center of the site, the two storey house is designed to enhance the views to the two pyramidal oaks and catalpa tree in the front with a silver maple and Japanese maple at the back.
The sculpted space of this private residence resonates an understanding of human comfort. Carefully carved windows penetrate the facade, allowing arrays of natural light within, while the finishes add a warm touch. Utilizing a consistent palette of limestone and walnut flooring, the interior provides a sophisticated setting for a family residence and flows easily from the front entrance to the third floor family room with views focused towards the heavily forested ravine.
This residence employs two volumes with carefully choreographed openings, each addressing the public street while preserving domestic privacy. The rear of the house takes advantage of the picturesque ravine landscape by maximizing the flow of natural light into the space, and providing stunning landscape views.
Green construction practices on site were encouraged through the use of local materials, by maximizing natural light, and by minimizing damage to the existing ecosystem and habitat. The construction team established a process for the reduction of waste, reuse of materials and control of generated emissions.
Various construction systems were employed in the design of this residence, including a “poured in place” concrete foundation system and structural steel framing. This framing, which uses chimneys as lateral bracing elements, allows for expansive widths while permitting light flow throughout the house, to ensure a lasting comfort and an uplifting experience. The completed design underscores the client’s desire to create an enduring generational home.
Photos: Ben Rahn/A-Frame
Gridiron Ranch showcases posh contemporary interiors, designed by Furman + Keil Architects, located sixty miles from Austin in the Texas Hill Country of Spicewood, Texas. This stunning residence was completed in 2012 and was the result of a three year collaborative effort between Mark Ashby Design, architects Furman + Keil, and builder Classic Constructors.
With its extensive indoor/outdoor spaces, including an open sleeping porch and a separate poolside guest house, this home takes full advantage of its expansive views.
Guest House Interior
The award-winning firm, Furman + Keil Architects, is dedicated to providing a design-focused service meeting the specific needs of our clients through a collaborative team approach. We strive to create timeless, sustainable buildings rooted in local traditions, built to be enjoyed by our clients for generations.
This casual compound has been designed as a vacation retreat by the San Antonio architecture firm Lake|Flato, located high above Lake Austin, Texas. This is the second home for a busy couple who lives near San Francisco and loves the water.
High above Lake Austin, the main house keeps the couple walking on air, thanks to a catwalk that connects it to one of the three out buildings.
Interior designer Fern Santini’s ruggedly casual decor makes for relaxed living, and is punctuated on high with stylishly whimsical pendant lighting. Porches encourage outdoor living, and separate yoga studio and exercise room are for well-being. A lake pavilion and boat house complete the setting.
This incredibly stunning home is is open and airy and has wonderful flow. The beautiful furnishings throughout has a modern yet cottagey feel.
Photos: Nick Johnson