Desert House is a modern prototype prefab home designed by architecture studio Marmol Radziner, located in a beautiful oasis in Desert Hot Springs, California. The two bedroom, two bathroom residence is located on a five-acre site and oriented to best capture views of San Jacinto peak and the surrounding mountains.
From the architect: Doubling the interior space, the home extends towards the landscape with covered outdoor living areas. The home is comprised of 4,500 square feet of sturdy steel modules (2,100 interior square feet and 2,450 covered exterior square feet) rooted onto a concrete pad atop an untamed hill—looms into view like a sleek metal oasis.
Sheltered living spaces blend the indoors with the outdoors, simultaneously extending and connecting the house to the north wing, comprised of a guest house and art studio. The intersecting modules were designed to frame a range of spectacular desert vistas.
After months of arduous design and construction, Marmol and his family are thrilled to escape Los Angeles for their idyllic desert retreat.
Ocotillo was placed in key areas as a great structural focal point. Groupings of succulents accent the home’s entry path and pool area.
Plants found in the surrounding landscape were used to obscure the lines between designed and natural worlds.
The open living and dining plan is flooded with natural light. The wicker PK22 lounge chairs are by Poul Kjaerholm for Fritz Hansen. The suspension lamp is by DePadova.
There are generously proportioned nine-foot-high ceilings throughout the Desert House. Marmol Radziner designed and built the outdoor table and benches from reclaimed Douglas fir.
The kitchen cabinetry, custom designed by the architects, is smooth brown teak. The faucet is by Hansgrohe, and the dishwasher is by Bosch.
The “L” shaped plan layout defines a protected courtyard that includes a pool and fire pit.
This project involved the conversion of a Shoreditch Warehouse by Chris Dyson Architects to create a family home, located in Shoreditch, a district in the historic East End of London, England. The proposal included the removal of a modern shed to the rear and a reinstatement of a courtyard at the rear of the property to bring natural light into the bedroom and en-suite. The industrial style home is comprised of 5,381 square feet (500 square meters) of living space.
To bring light deeper into the ground floor study space an existing lantern roof-light was replaced, walk on roof-light fitted flush with the adjacent new terrace. Inclined translucent panels installed below a new mesh access stair brings light even deeper into the plan.
A new timber privacy screen was introduced to shield views and noise to neighbouring properties while the enjoyment of the terrace and courtyard is experienced internally with the introduction of double glazed steel framed doors at ground level and double pivot doors to the new terrace.
CDA was founded in 2004 by Chris Dyson, a former senior designer at Sir James Stirling and Michael Wilford Associates, and more recently at Sir Terry Farrell and Partners. The practice is based in the historic Spitalfields area of London, where Dyson has lived and worked for 20 years, and where many of the practice’s early projects are located.
Photos: Peter Londers
This extraordinary modern farmhouse has been designed by Olsen Studios, located just West of Preston Hollow, a neighborhood outside of Dallas, Texas. The farmhouse gives the impression of a Napa Valley Estate nestled amongst the large Pecan and Oak Trees of “rural” Dallas.
The simple board and batten, gabled structures are mixed with highly textured elements in the landscape to create a perfect visual balance for this Urban Dallas location.
Olsen Studios designed the house as a series of small pavilions connected by glass links. The structures weave their way through the existing trees and site amenities.
It incorporates a south facing courtyard and porch to take advantage of the Texas climate, and a north facing evening court to enjoy the rural streetscape and converse with neighbors.
Enclosed dog run type entry to this Modern Farmhouse, with antique console and limestone floors.
The interior is filled with natural light and views, and is appointed with the Owner’s incredible collection of local artisan paintings and sculpture.
The great room with limestone fireplace and ebonized oak cabinetry.
The home office space features a sliding antique barn door.
The kitchen showcases ebonized oak cabinets, stainless steel appliances, silestone counters and natural white oak floors.
Freestanding Queen Victoria tub in modern bath.
Olsen Studios began its creative existence with founding Principal Jamie Olsen Ali. She started the firm with the simple concept that buildings are experienced from the inside out, and that architecture and interior design should be developed together. As a full service design firm, Olsen Studios creates integrated buildings and environments to last a lifetime.
Photos: Sean Gallagher
Westboro Home was designed to revolve around a two storey light filled raised garden courtyard by Kariouk Associates, located in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. The contemporary residence was completed in 2013, sited on a narrow lot in a downtown neighborhood.
The site for this home was a narrow lot in a downtown neighborhood, which carried with it extensive code limitations on side windows. A further challenge was negotiating the difference in grade between the two neighboring lots: an already steeply sloping site, the neighbors to the West raised their rear yard an additional 1.5 meters, ultimately creating a difference in neighboring lot heights of approximately 2.5 meters.
The design of the home revolves around a two storey, light-filled raised garden courtyard. The garden takes a “bite” out of the tight, permissible building area, however it allowed for an extensive amount of glass that otherwise, due to restrictive building code requirements, would not be possible. The courtyard’s lot-line side remains open, while its three interior sides are filled with windows and bring natural light into the heart of the home on both living floors. The courtyard is filled with ornamental plantings, and while it serves as a “daylight-magnet,” it also serves as a lush, visual focus for each of the primary living spaces of the home.
Upon stepping into the foyer, one is immediately presented with a series of linked views that unite the very front of the home to the very back of the property. The opposing wall of the interior foyer is entirely glass and shows the exterior, raised garden courtyard; this view continues through the courtyard and joins the interior of the formal dining room; this view then extends to an exterior garden bridge over the lower rear yard that ultimately joins visually to the interior of a three-season reading pavilion set in the rear yard.
A sense of privacy is created, despite the numerous and large windows that were achieved, as the main living areas begin a full-flight above street level; a slate and glass entry stair and walkway create a generous arrival point for visitors. Likewise, the entry stair/foyer volume is clad in white masonry in order to visually advance and welcome visitors towards the walkway (while the volume housing primary living spaces as well as the garage below is clad in black clapboard in order to recede from the sidewalk). A continuous visual and spatial gap cuts entirely through the home between the light and dark volumes; an open-riser stair is inserted into that void, set against the backdrop of the garden courtyard.
Photos: Courtesy of Kariouk Associates
Corte San Pietro Hotel is an abandoned structure that was beautifully restored into a luxury hotel by architect Daniela Amoroso, located in Matera, Italy. Matera is one of the most ancient cities in the world and its territory contains the evidence of human settlements as from the Palaeolithic times.
The Sassi districts, World Heritage site, are the original urban core of the city and, based on natural caves, they have been further extended over the millenniums to be turned into even more complex structures.An intricate network of streets, alleyways, inner courtyards and neighborhoods overlooked by habitations of all sizes, ancient defensive walls, towers, warehouses, wine cellars and cisterns. A never-ending excavated and built system.
In the very heart of the Sassi district, an abandoned structure in disuse dating back to the XVII. C and which surrounds an internal courtyard has been restored and reinvented to be turned into new spaces of a 5,381 square foot (500 square meters) hotel.
Useless architectural contaminations and superfluous layers of pavement have been removed, uncovering the original tufa stonework topped with vaults: the historical structure has been laid bare, as an architectural evidence to confront and dialogue with. In this search for essence, authentic, pure space free from excess, we can recognize the Wabi spirit conceived by the Belgian Axel Vervoordt.
The historical places, full of an attractive identity, harmoniously and precisely combine to the comfort and to the refined and elegant design.
Turned into refined hotel rooms, the former habitations at the ground floor overlook an internal courtyard which, thanks to long and accurate restoration works, is characterized by an original stone pavement called “a chiancarelle”.
Enlightened with candle lights in the evening, the courtyard becomes very cozy and intimate, giving a sense of protection.
The rooms located all around the courtyard are rigorously monochromatic, characterized by chestnut brown shades, from the beige of the stone to the brown of the wood and the weathering steel. Soil, stone pavement and the natural colour of the stone become wall, ceiling and sitting.
The constant search for a connection between the various inner rooms and the landscape is the very base of this combination of local stone, wood and iron in each single room with different proportions according to a linear and essential design. Poor elements usually combined to a country style become light and modern.
The linen curtains of the entrance doors skillfully made by hand let a bright light reach the first area of each room dedicated to sitting/living area and relax whereas the following private areas carved out from the rock face, are enlightened through skylights from the vaults. These small windows, from above, allow beams of light to alternate with large dark intimate areas.
Tufa arches introduce to bathrooms, intimate and cozy spaces featured by niches and cavities now containing large stone bathtubs or showers.
The interior design is based on restored vintage furnishings and typical tools. Nature and timeworn objects perfectly suit each single room through various furnishing elements: old benches in century-old chestnut tree become either doors, shelves or tables, old wooden chairs frames become towel holders, tree logs become stools or bedside tables.
The whole hotel develop horizontally all around an area, the courtyard, characterized by slight differences of level and surrounded by five rooms, the reception hall and the breakfast room, in an ancient typical system which features the whole structure.
Under the hotel, below ground, are located eight bell-shaped cisterns, evidence of the former system for the collection of the rainwaters and excellent example of sustainability. Rainwaters were forwarded through gutters, drainpipes and channelings down to the cisterns connected to the habitations. Cisterns are visitable through narrow inner passages. Going through the changeable silence of a cave and adapting ourselves to these dark environments means to be immersed into another dimension, where it is possible to seize the deepest and ancestral meaning of these places, of this land. It is a place where to feed our souls and feel a strong well-being.
From the entrance in Via B. Buozzi, visitors are greeted as in a private house in the graceful and cozy reception, elegantly furnished, through which it is possible to access the private courtyard.
Photos: PierMario Ruggeri
02 House was designed as a modern and luxurious single story property by Daffonchio & Associates Architects, located in Hyde Park, Johannesburg, South Africa. The house is nestled on a tranquil and very private setting surrounded by mature trees. The main part of house encompasses two wings, one is the living zone and the other is the bedroom zone. Both of the wings feature long, low roofs which seems to float over and past them. The roof is supported by external steel posts since the walls don’t quite meet up to the ceiling. Clerestory windows punctuate both interior and exterior walls, diffusing natural light during the day and allows views of the trees outside.
As seen in the picture above, during the night the ceilings are cast aglow with fluorescent lights that are hidden below the clerestory windows. This helps to create a soothing, ambient light, increasing the effect of a floating roofline. The roofs feature deep overhangs which helps to shade the inhabitants from the sun. Concrete also extends out beyond the house into the garden creating the illusion of space.
Along the northern perimeter of the living space is flooring to ceiling motorized frameless sliding glass doors. When it is open, the door disappears into the wall, with the living area feeling more like a covered patio that is open to the outdoors. On the south side are two more sliders, which spills out onto a private courtyard.
The door to the entrance was meticulously designed by South African artist Marcus Neustetter. The exterior is comprised of laser cut steel, while the interior is laser cut walnut. Clear glass is inset so that light can be diffused into the home during the daytime and emits light out during the night. The image was taken from a Google Earth image, which is the topography of Johannesburg and its surrounding region. The spacious interiors of the home showcase minimalist architecture and white walls that reflects light, the perfect backdrop for showcasing the homeowner’s artwork.
The ecopool was designed to blend with the garden, while gravel banks are used to delineate between the pool and garden. Planted wetlands seem to visually integrate with the surrounding landscape.
Photos: Adam Letch
State Street Townhouse was designed in 2012 as a typical American family house but in an urban context by Ben Hansen Architect, located in Brooklyn, New York. This stunning four-story contemporary townhouse is comprised of 3,444 square feet (320 square meters) of living space, designed with specific family needs.
In many ways, the historic New York City townhouse is not compatible with a contemporary family’s way of life. The first and most important concept was to reinterpret the classic townhouse but customize it to the client’s request of having a join family space at the parlor level, where members of the family move fluidly between the kitchen, dining and living rooms; and have a visual and program connection with the rear courtyard; another interpretation of the typical American family house but in an urban context.
The rest of the floor levels were strictly defined by their own program and vertical circulations, allowing the most efficient way of space planning; and having as much natural light and ventilation as possible, especially in the core of the floor plate, which in the majority of historic townhouses are dark and unpleasant spaces.
While the design of the building is unquestionably contemporary, it relates to its classic NYC context as an abstract reinterpretation of the classic Brownstone Townhouse, from the materiality to the alignment of the facade elements. The front facade is pushed in and out to align with the neighboring building and the used of the classic steel and brick but with a strong contemporary language, that it’s consistent throughout the entire building, stands out in its immediate context.
The design of the exterior areas of the house were as important as the interiors, as a couple with 3 kids, the client needed to have as much patio area as possible, from playground areas in the ground floor, to more private and serene balconies, to a orchard roof deck, and all these landscape program needed to be harmoniously connected with their correspondent interior spaces.
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