House at Neil Road celebrates the traditional charm of Peranakan shophouses with the addition of new spaces sensitive to the building’s rich heritage, by ONG&ONG, in the conservation district of Singapore. Akin to traditional shophouses, the spaces are interspersed with courtyards that serve as visual focal points. The original courtyard forms the heart of the common areas while a newer courtyard marks the transition from the old structure into its new extension.
The shophouse walls tell a similar story of progression from old to new, with paintwork along the forecourt’s boundary walls stripped and left unfinished, revealing layers of paintwork and the shophouse’s history. Exposed brick walls reveal old bricks manufactured with local clay that are no longer in production. This creates a stark contrast when juxtaposed with the original courtyard wall – its original blue paintwork and folklore-inspired fresco restored to celebrate the shophouse’s Peranakan heritage.
Other preservation efforts include the restoration of the facade; the original red cement flooring of the five-foot way, living and dining spaces; the original timber flooring and exposed floor joists of the upper levels; and the terrazzo finish for the bathrooms, which highlights an age-old craft that is becoming a dying trade in Singapore. Details such as bathroom vanities accented with glazed Peranakan tiles, the old iron main gate and the “pintu pagar” (Malay for “door gate”) demarcating the master bedroom’s entrance further enrich the authentic tonalities of the shophouse.
With its blending of old and new elements, this house not only preserves a unique cultural heritage, but also acts as a storytelling device that narrates the histories of its past and present occupants.
Photos: Courtesy of ONG&ONG
Casa do Patio is a stunning modern residence that blurs the lines of indoor / outdoor living, designed by Brazilian architect Leo Romano, located in Goiania, Brazil. The design of this residence dates back to modern Brazilian architecture, in which straight lines and simple demarcate the construction party.
From the outside, the play of volumes is necessary. Few plans define the facade that delicately conceals the daily lives of residents. Inside, the house reveals no mysteries, making clear the distribution of sectors and their environments. It all comes back to the courtyard. Thus, visual permeability and usability is complete, providing day to day family living with a heavy, reinforced by the architecture.
Knowledge, creativity, respect, commitment and dedication describe the firm of architect Leo Romano. With a broad palette of customers, stand out designs includes colleges, banks, decoration shops, bars, restaurants, nightclubs among others. Highlights also include residential projects in Goiânia and various squares. The firm continuously has their work published in newspapers, magazines and national and international books and has been featured on covers frequently. His last major publication is the book Roman Leo, in which the architect shows nineteen projects in 130 pages of the exclusive and deluxe edition.
Photos: Edgard César
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
The Willow House is an incredible open and airy home taking advantage of it’s surrounding natural environment, designed by Guz Architects in Singapore. Completed in late 2012 for a young family, the home features an open floor plan that integrates koi ponds, swimming pools, shallow reflecting pools and a central courtyard with an oculus that allows a tree to grow from the ground floor through to the green roof.
The architects tried to take advantage of the hilltop position by opening up the building plan to make the most of the prevailing breezes and of what little wind there is in Singapore. Orientation and massing of the house was instrumental in encouraging those breezes.
We always wanted this to be a home with soul, so designing spaces where a family could live together and interact was always part of the brief, and hopefully the design reflects this. We have tried to draw nature in as much as we can in the relatively dense urban environment of Singapore.
Photos: Patrick Bingham Hall
Casa 2V is a sensational modern property that has been completed in 2010 by Ecuadorian architecture studio Diez + Muller Arquitectos, located in Tumbaco, Ecuador. The house is located on a rectangular area with a slight slope in an east west direction. The land does not have much to offer but the house faces mountain views on the south side and the valley on the west side of Tumbaco. The house has been organized on three main ideas:
Program Independence: The house is broken into three main volumes containing three aspects of the program (social, private and views) respectively. These three are connected by two articulations or glazed bridges that are joined by more than three components, generating slides along the house.
Central Courtyard: The three volumes of the house are composed of a central courtyard surrounded by an internal gallery that serves the various program components.
Orientation and Views: The circulation inside the courtyard allow all environments to project their views to either the mountains or the valley of Tumbaco, these being the most permeable walls of the house.
The house is located on one floor, just having a studio and an elevated deck and gazebo on the social area. This generates a double height space and white glass volume, which rests on the ground floor of the house that is armed in stone.
Photos: Sebastián Crespo
A modern home built for outdoor living, Villa Escarpa was the vision of architecture studio Mario Martins, located near the village of Praia da Luz, in the district of Lagos, Algarve, in the South of Portugal. A condition of the planning permission was that the new house be constructed in the space occupied by a previous building. This had little architectural or technical merit, but was located in an exceptional position on an escarpment overlooking the Algarve coastline and village of Praia da Luz.
The footprint was therefore predetermined; on a very steep slope, and exposed to the prevailing winds. Paradoxically, it is these constraints and difficulties that underpin the conceptional basis of the project.
In an architectural language, pure and contemporary, we created sheltered terraces and courtyards for outside living. These are cut from the horizontal volume which is white and highly transparent. This volume gently sits upon an exposed concrete support giving the appearance of the house floating above the landscape. The touch on the environment, which we want to preserve, is minimized and resolves the difficult balance of the building with its physical support . This ensures a desirable visual lightness.
The house merges with a long water surface which dissects the wide living and kitchen spaces. These spaces are complimented by terraces protected from the wind, but open to the sun and impressive views. This is the social area of the house; open and fluid.
Four bedrooms are located in a private area with access from a corridor that runs alongside a central courtyard. In this private courtyard the natural light is filtered, creating an intimate and desirable space.
The lower area provides garaging and technical support. The roof terrace accentuates the visual lightness of the floating building in its environment.
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
Main Street House is a sensational multi-story modern property that has been designed by Robertson Design, situated in Houston, Texas. This residence is prominently situated at the convergence of two major streets and fronts the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, which has wings designed by Mies van der Rohe and Rafael Moneo. Formally, the house is composed of three volumes, which create a u-shaped courtyard to the rear. This courtyard, which is the heart of the building, is connected to the life of the Museum District through the large, fully glazed walls of the living room.
Photos: Benjamin Hill Photography
Franco Residence is a warm and elegant home design recently completed by KZ Architecture, located in a small beach neighborhood of Golden Beach, Florida. An expression of Modernism in the tropics, this residence was one of the last single family enclaves along South Florida’s coast line. The home was developed for a family of six on an infill island lot fronting the Intracoastal Waterway.
With adjacent homes to the North and the South, the house is designed around a Western courtyard, with all the rooms, including the living room, dining room, kitchen, breakfast, family room and bedrooms organized around it. A series of outdoor spaces was developed in order to weave a continuity of spaces and materials from the street to the water. Starting at the covered entry path, the visitor is engaged by the intimate outdoor front courtyard, which connects through the great room of the house to the rear covered outdoor spaces that front the water views.
The long and narrow pool serves as the focal element in the courtyard, just like the sculptural stair serves this purpose for the great room inside. In both outdoor and indoor spaces, the two slate walls—the one framing the entrance and the one in the rear that cloaks the BAR-B-Q –are in dialogue with each other to emphasize the continuity from front to back. The sequence culminates with the wooden dock which evokes the entry courtyard of the same material. The same wood, Ipe, also frames the geometry of the balconies on the second floor.
Large projecting canopies allow for protected sun light to envelope every corner of the house. Clearstory glass penetrates the office area in the master bedroom and the access area to the children’s bedrooms on the second floor. Overall, horizontal and vertical planes of glass, stone, wood and white stucco are activated by the pervading light to accomplish an indoor-outdoor integration of spaces and form.
The front of the house expresses the larger two story volume in the background with the one story elements in the foreground , flanking the slate stone wall.
View of the rear courtyard, (excluding the metal canopy) with all the spaces in the house organized around it. The linear pool offers the focal element, balanced by another slate wall that contains the BAR-B-Q grill within.
Photos: Robin Hill Photography