Apple Bay House is a holiday retreat for extended family designed by Parsonson Architects Ltd, nestled on a west facing bush clad hillside of Apple Bay, Marlborough Sounds, New Zealand. The property is located in the Marlborough Sounds, which is at the north end of the South Island of New Zealand. It is accessible by 4 wheel drive vehicle and boat from the nearest township Picton.
We intended to create a delicate platform amongst trees for life to unfold. The house is in two parts, each with a fine roof that follows the slope of the land. The upstairs living areas are configured as a large elongated space with decks at each end to enjoy both the morning and afternoon sun and with retreat and service spaces serving these. Downstairs bedrooms float amongst the trees with windows opening across the tree tops. The gap and junction between the two building parts is a continuation of the path up from the boat house.
Parsonson Architects was established in 1987 and is based in Wellington, New Zealand. The practice has focused primarily on individual houses and aims to produce work with a high level of sensitivity and discipline, engaging the spirit of each owner and site. More recently projects have included apartment buildings, retail fit outs in North America and Europe and competition entries across a variety of building types and project scales.
Photos: Paul Mcredie
Black is back in the latest house to be completed by Luigi Rosselli Architects. This new house, built for a young family on a battle axe block overlooking Bronte, acts as a big balcony built to browse the beach.
The cooperative effort of project architect Corrado Palleschi, interior designer Alexandra Donohoe and the client has seen a graphic palette of black and white tones carried to great effect throughout the house.
Nowhere is the result of this bold application seen more clearly than in the main stairwell where the dark timber treads and handrail seem to float in light.
Australian based, this practice has a humanist approach to architecture and design, not eager to win awards, but always to instil good design and humane architecture that develops affinities, creating sympathetic buildings that flow and appeal. Working from the top floor of a converted Sydney warehouse, they are a team of architects and interior designers under the guidance of Luigi Rosselli and his three decades of international experience in Milano, Switzerland, New York and Sydney. Renowned for their houses, residential architecture, adaptive re-use and heritage designs, the studio has worked on a very wide range of projects: from offices to factories, from libraries to wineries, from childcare to chapels.
Photos: Justin Alexander
The contemporary transformation of North Bondi House was carried out by Australian studio MCK Architects, located in Bondi, an eastern suburb of Sydney, in the state of New South Wales, Australia. This project comprises a first floor addition and a ground floor reinvention to a space + light deprived semi-detached house.
Floorspace has been sacrificed on the first floor to create a double height open core to the center of the house, filtering natural light into the depths of the interior. Dead space has been otherwise eliminated where possible through open planning and recycling circulation functionality.
MCK is a young team of multi-award winning architects based in Sydney, Australia. We specialize in residential and commercial projects of high-quality finish and detail that are sensitive to context and brief. Our distinctive aesthetic is known for its classic proportion and geometric form. We enjoy using unexpected materials that challenge and sometimes even surprise. We also believe that good architecture and respect for the environment go hand in hand. Working with your ideas, we can nurture your project from conception to completion. Our innovative and inter-disciplinary skill-set, and extensive network of suppliers, means we can take a project from the first sketch right through to construction. Our team can help you make the right decisions and guide you through the process by bringing our creativity and can-do expertise to the table. Our work-style is collaborative, open and driven by our love of good design.
Photos: Douglas Frost
Gubbins House is a contemporary property designed by Antonio Zaninovic Architecture Studio in collaboration with Rees Roberts & Partners, located at the base of Table Mountain in Cape Town, South Africa. The project won a 2010 Honor Award from the American Society and Landscape Architects for its many sustainable features and its incredible local flora garden.
Surrounded by protected natural parklands on three sides, the house was built on an exceptional plot at the base of Table Mountain with sweeping views down to the city and harbor below. The site lies alongside a ravine, where amid the dense vegetation a stream flows in an uninterrupted path from the mountain parks above all the way to the city dams below.
Tucked in against the mountain, the structure was designed to integrate as much as possible with its surrounding landscape. An excavated courtyard gives access to the house, ensuring total privacy from the street and an adjacent neighbor and also protecting its inhabitants from the strong southern winds. This tranquil space complete with a pond and sculptural indigenous trees leads to the six-meter-high foyer tower which articulates the different elements of the house that continue out from that central focal point.
From there, the sleeping quarters branch off to the west and hover over the ravine and trees. The more public entertaining spaces extend towards the north, and by cantilevering these spaces over the garden and swimming pool below, views afforded to the forest, city, and ocean below were maximized. Towards the south, the kitchen and service rooms enjoy the protection of the mountainside from the fierce natural elements.
In terms of energy and functional programming, the foyer is the central location for various processes that keep the house running efficiently. A reflective pond filled with borehole water flows from the interiors to the outside; in turn, breezes travel over the water back inside through low windows, helping to cool the house in the summer. Once outside, the pond continues into a waterfall, which becomes a filter for the natural swimming pool below as well as a seamless water wall for the sauna room behind. The foyer’s roof also houses the solar components that provide under-floor water heating during the winter months, in addition to hot water year round.
While the house was designed to employ cross-ventilation, temperature control is also achieved through the inclusion of semi-excavated rooms in the built house, which allow the stable temperatures of the earth to act as a climactic moderator. Heat-repelling glass and appropriate cantilevers to the north combined with highly insulated glass to the south keep heat in or out, depending on the season. Notably, the house was built with locally produced materials to maximize constructive potential by utilizing the craftsmanship and techniques native to the region.
The landscape draws on the context of the site by continuing the Fynbos, a natural heathland vegetation native to a small belt of the Western Cape, down from Table Mountain and through the garden landscape, effectively marrying it with the surrounding mountains. Garden pathways and steps meander through the varied planting areas, creating a seamless connection between interior and garden rooms. An outdoor seating area is nestled in the plantings away from the mountain winds, yet has dynamic views of the Cape Town Harbor below. In addition to the waterfall, the natural swimming pool also uses plantings to filter the water, giving the experience of swimming in a crystal clear lake. Ultimately, the landscape is designed to fully integrate the built house with its natural surrounding environment.
The design strategy for the interiors also takes cues from the surrounding site. Rich carpets and fabrics are juxtaposed against hard concrete floors and other simple surfaces. Modern furniture with clean lines is employed along with more sculptural pieces and artwork that add character and vitality to the interior mood. The simple color palette of the house gives a bright and airy feeling that defers to the views outside. The outdoors is also actively engaged, as in the case of the Master Bedroom and its free form plan that extends toward an open air screening space. Despite its carefully planned and richly treated interiors, the house retains a comfortable and relaxed style that draws upon recognizably native elements such as local wood paneled walls and pieces by local artists.
Hillside House is a contemporary single family property designed by GASS Architecture Studios, situated on the slopes of the Helderberg Mountains in Stellenbosch, South Africa. The residence is simultaneously arresting and juxtaposed as it fits flawlessly into its surroundings, nestled between rolling vineyards, a koppie (small granite hill) and a river below
You approach the house up a steep driveway meandering through the vineyards. The driveway and the forecourt are a modern interpretation of a traditional farmhouse. This is characterized overall by the planning of the house’s location but also more specifically by the gravel driveway, expansive forecourt, drive-in open garaging reminiscent of a barn and water feature evocative of an animal’s drinking trough. This modern drinking trough is then fed by a modernist architectural waterspout from the roof of the house.
These farmhouse characteristics are not just visual either. Other senses are also stimulated: your scent is stimulated by the smells of the farmlands and rural surrounding as is your auditory sense when you hear the gravel beneath the car’s tires.
There is a genuine sense of arrival every time you visit Hillside. Access to the front door is gained from a double-sided staircase from left or right of the gravel arrivals courtyard. This short stairway is a nod to the Colonial influence of traditional Cape vernacular typical to architecture seen in the Cape (many buildings in and around Cape Town like The Castle of Good Hope, the City Hall and Tokai Manor House, for example, boast this kind of double-sided arrival staircase).
As visitor – and homeowner – you are fully aware of the amazing setting but on arriving within the farm yard style forecourt the scale of the house changes from a 3-story to a double volume dwelling – so you don’t really get a sense of all the floors and levels. Beyond this point it is by no means farmhouse, well not in the traditional sense of the word anyway.
Before walking up the steps to the solid timber double front doors you also have the choice of going downstairs to the guest suites (that are currently being used by the home owner’s older children when they’re not at university).
A repetitive architectural feature of the house is the many stacked granite stone walls. Most of the stones for these have been harvested from the site. The front door is also situated within one of these granite feature walls. Before entering the house one has no idea what to expect on the other side – it’s a kind of tardis with unexpected treasures beyond! As you walk through the threshold you are immediately greeted by a giant picture window showcasing the inner courtyard around which the home is designed and the koppie (small granite hill) to the rear of the house. The koppie (small granite hill), as with the rest of the garden, boasts local fynbos and indigenous flora and a kitchen garden to the side.
From the home owners:
We wanted a home that merged the inside and the outside and that gave us beautiful changing visual cameos wherever you looked. Our architect managed to masterfully capture our need for simplicity, nature and a very serene ambiance that is then offset by our somewhat mad and effusive large family.
Photos: Kate Del Fante Scott
Sunset Strip showcases bright open spaces, contemporary design and ample natural light, the vision of McClean Design located in Los Angeles, California. The house is approached by means of a gated driveway and guard house. Passing through the gate a landscaped hedge leads to the drive court which is centrally located between the house, garage, and guest house. The garage sits in a spot that enjoys spectacular views of the surrounding canyons so we designed it to be glazed on both sides. All three buildings are connected by a water feature that leads the eye to a swimming pool and spa at both ends.
The main house is approached along the water feature by means of a short stair which leads to the front hallway, glazed and open on three sides with room for a significant art piece on the focal wall. The entry leads to a stairwell where a beautiful chrome and stone stair ascends to the upper level bedrooms. Directly ahead is the living room, doors open to the right where the dining room is located overlooking the water feature. To the rear, tall suede door lead to the library/ informal media room where pocketing doors access a private landscaped garden. An interesting feature of this room is that the same film is projected on both sides of the drop down screen allowing people to circle around and watch from both inside and out.
The main living room is two stories tall and enjoys spectacular views of the Los Angeles Basin and the ocean beyond. The room incorporates a bar and glazed wine cellar as well as an elongated see through fire place that is visible from the family room on the other side.
The combined kitchen and family room has a more intimate feeling than the living room and appears to float over the water feature. From here it is possible to look back along the water past the garage all the way to the guest house and beyond. This room also enjoys wonderful views of the city below and leads directly to the back yard, covered dining area and expansive elevated terrace below the infinity pool. This terrace is designed for entertaining large groups and incorporates an extended fire feature and comfortable seating. This level of the house is completed by services spaces and an office for the owner.
Below the main level are two large bedroom suites each with their own outdoor area. Across the lower courtyard is the gym and wellness center. Located directly below the garage it incorporates sliding walls of glass to make the most of the mild climate. The upper level of the house contains the master as well as two additional bedrooms. At the top of the stairs there is a gallery space that looks into the living room below and out to the water feature. The master bedroom itself has his and her bathrooms complete with large closet areas. The sliding panels of glass surrounding the bed and sitting area open automatically to the deck which reveals the best view of the house enjoyed by this room. The other two bedrooms are expansive and have their own walk in closets and separate baths.
Across the drive court from the main house a separate and independent guest house contains two bedrooms, living, dining and kitchen and its own services spaces. The palette of materials is designed to be warm and contemporary. We have made extensive use of polished stone and added wood elements for warmth. All kitchens and bathrooms in corporate Italian furniture and fixtures, windows and doors are bronzed aluminum. The house is located in one of Los Angeles most famed neighborhoods, only minutes from Sunset Strip yet still enjoying a piece and serenity made possible by the surrounding nature.
Photos: Courtesy of McClean Design
Martis Camp 506 is nestled on a steep slope with phenomenal views of the Carson mountain range in Truckee, Nevada County, California, designed by Blaze Makoid Architecture. Martis Camp is a 2,200 acre multigenerational ski and golf club located between historic Truckee, California, and Lake Tahoe. Over 600 one to five acre single family lots are planned with small groups of lots being released at a time. This 6,000 square foot development project is sited on an acre of steeply sloping, wooded terrain, with phenomenal views of the Carson mountain range to the north and west. The placement and footprint of the house preserves the natural site features through minimal grading and tree removal.
Accessed from the lower part of the site, the house is a simple ‘L’, with the two wings linked by the double height glazed entry and stair hall, located at the intersection of the two geometries. A stone plinth mediates the steep pitch of the site creating both a cloistered parking court as well as a base on which the two story house rests. High stone retaining walls along the high point of the site combine with a dramatically cantilevered roof to provide extensive, sheltered outdoor patio space that includes outdoor cooking, dining and living areas.
These program elements surround the open plan great room that contains living, dining and kitchen. The den to the northwest projects out beyond the stone base, creating a secluded, glazed refuge and serves as a balance to the roof projection on the opposite side of the house.
Black stained cedar siding will allow for the house to blend with the landscape during the summer and fall and pose as a dramatic counterpoint to the snow cover through the winter months.
This speculative project is being produced in partnership with the developer and is planned for completion spring 2014.
Photos: Vance Fox Photography