25 Green was designed by Luciano Pia as a residential steel structure appearing like a forest where trees are rooting in terraces, located in Torino, Italy. Built in 2012, the building has been thought as a living forest, a house on the trees like the houses children dream of and sometimes build. The property also features ponds which are crossed by footings and lush gardens covering the roofs.
The project comes from the necessity of making a residential building of 80,729 square feet (7500 square meters) to complement a block featured by lack of homogeneity and heterogeneous prospects. The aim of the project is both the construction of the block perimeter with a continuous facade and the making of a filter between the internal inhabited space and the streets. The project wants to create a flowing and smooth transition space to soften the passage from the inside to the outside where the space is always enjoyable. The smooth and changeable transition is emphasized by a targeted use of the green and the building materials so to create a structure which is compact and distinct but also transparent, mutable and enjoyable.
It is a special building because it is alive: it grows up, it breaths and it changes since 150 trees with tall trunks cover its terraces. Together with 50 trees planted in the court garden they produce oxygen, absorb carbonic anhydride, cut down air pollution, protect from noise, follow the natural cycle of Seasons, grow up day after day and create a perfect microclimate inside the building so diminuishing the fall and rise in temperature in summertime and wintertime.
The streeps in solid wood that floor the terraces filter the sunlight in summer, while in winter they let the light break into the house. The wainscot in larch shingles is a sort of soft and vibrant surface. The metal structures look like trees and they “grow” from the groundfloor to the roof while holding up the wooden planking of the terraces: they become entwined with the vegetation to form a unique facade.
One of the aims of the project is the increase of the energetic efficiency and for this reason several integrated solutions have been adopted: continuous insulation, sun protection, heating and cooling systems which make use of the geothermal energy with heat pumps and recycling of the falling rain to water the green.
There are 63 residential units in the building and they are all different and fitted with wide terraces of irregular shapes that surround the trees. The last floor is covered with private green roofs.
The green is diversified: big vases on the terraces, court gardens, green walls and roof gardens just in front of the lofts.
In the vases there are trees or shrubs of different heights from 2.5 meters to 8 meters. Deciduous species have been planted to have sun irradiation in wintertime too. The choise of the species, even if diversified according to the different needs, has been made to grant a variety of leaves, colors and flowering.
When all the green is fully blooming it gives the feeling of living in a tree house. You can dream of a house or live in a dream!
Photos: Beppe Giardino
Casa CP 78 is a project offering better quality of life through functional and contemporary design by Taller Estilo Arquitectura, located in Merida, Yucatan, Mexico. The design of the 5,209 square foot (484 square meters) home plays with the existing building and the built elements, where the value of the textures and details in highlights new forms of contemporary expression.
An architecture with soft limits that can react to the natural environment answering their varied elements: light, water, wind, etc. This means sensitive to the nature architecture.
Part of the original structure became the axis computer remodeling, establishing a dialogue between old and new, this provides a linear path toward providing all visual spaces and gardens of the house with the idea of achieving transparency and uniformity making possible the special features of the site.
The house consists of two floors:
Downstairs the original building which remained without major alterations houses, spaces that shape are: Garage, hallway, living room, guest bedroom and bathroom. The staircase as a sculptural element contained in a double-height space plays the role of connector, giving way to the new building open plan that enhances the contrast between the original building and the new elements where the kitchen space, living room. Curtain walls generate integrated and wider spaces.
A home to be lived outside where the double height terrace, pool and gardens is in the main service area; the end result is an open space with sophisticated finishes that give the house a unique character, where people regain a sense of being truly alive.
Upstairs the bedrooms are located, where the master bedroom has a semi-open double height terrace where architectural hierarchy is established.
Photos: Alberto Cáceres
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.
Skirt + Rock House is a modest bungalow design by MCK Architects, perched on a hill overlooking Vaucluse House, an historic garden estate located in the harbourside suburb of Vaucluse, in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. The clients were equally modest, simply needing more space for their family and a better connection to the garden, sunlight and air. The architects initial response was to maintain as much of the house as we could, but the new program required the removal of rear rooms for a larger living area, and the tiled roof to provide first floor accommodation. The introduction of new form and textures are responsive to the existing bungalow.
The existing gardens contained two large eucalyptus that greet you on your rise up the hill, and a large rock that sat in the hill to the rear of the house, which became our focal and pivotal natural element in the new composition.
With the underlying philosophy of relative modesty, the new form is setback, maintaining existing amenity enjoyed by neighbors. First floor accommodation is concealed in the black roof form, providing a recessive appearance from the street, nestling into the landscape, and being undemanding, unlike close neighbors.
When arriving at the house you walk up through the garden to the door at the lower entrance level. Rising to the main living level of the house you experience the union of old and new, arriving in the central void that contains kitchen and lounge, opening onto outdoor dining, pond and garden areas. A connection to the old formal dining area and front verandah, with period detailing meeting new, again blurs the distinction between the architectural periods.
We arrived at the double height central void early in the design, as it allowed access to desired sunlight, air and connection to the landscape, with our ‘rock’ becoming a feature in the lounge room. The shingled roof contains the void and envelops a parent’s suite and gallery library/study. It rests on two legs at opposite corners of the building allowing possibility of a clear opening to the garden and pond at this level. It opens like an eye to the sky and trees folding and undulating along the perimeter of the plan. When describing this form to the client, and the experience one might feel standing in the lounge room looking out, the analogy of a skirt was used and then stuck, hence skirt and rock.
The planning is centered around the living space, with the teenager quarters discreetly located behind the kitchen, with a central staircase leading to the parents. A living room to the lower level doubles as guest room and teenage retreat, with it’s own external sitting area. All rooms look onto the garden and have plenty of sunlight and natural ventilation.
Photos: Richard Glover
Building an interior courtyard design into your home, spaces defined by walls on four sides, draws natural light and air of the outdoors into the center of your residence. These spaces may seem unnecessary with front and back yards, but they offer a Zen like quality that can bring a tremendous amount of pleasure to the homeowner. Having an interior courtyard in your home can filter sunlight into areas of the home that may not otherwise have natural light. In conjunction with well-planned landscaping, this area can seem like a private oasis protected from neighbors with a patch of ground and some sky that allows you a connection to the outdoors. We have gathered together a collection of inspiring examples of interior courtyards that may make them essential in your next renovation project!
If you are looking for further inspiration on bringing the outdoors into your home, have a look at one of our past articles, 60 Most sensational sunroom design inspirations.
Photo Sources: 1. HAHN Design, 2. Guz Architects, 3. Ong & Ong, 4. Russell Builders Inc., 5. Linebox Studio, 6. Nuevo Estilo, 7. Max Brunner, 8. Ehrlich Architects, 9. MESH Architectures, 10. Ikea Family Live Magazine, 11. Real Estate AU, 12. Flickr, 13. Bourne Blue Architecture, 14. Koch Architects, 15. Robeson Design, 16. Ron Neal Lighting Design, 17. Cornerstone Architects, 18. Studio Aiko, 19. Raymond Jungles Inc., 20. South Coast Architects, 21. Pinterest, 22. Studio Mumbai Architects, 23. MMTRA visualization, 24. Sennikoff Architects, 25. Alexandre Parent Photography, 26. SG Livingpod, 27. South Coast Architects, 28. Kappe + DU Architects, 29. Artisan Builds, 30. Dirk Denison Architects, 31. Elle Decor, 32. The Front Door Architecture, 33. John Maniscalco Architecture, 34. Vanguard Studio Inc., 35. Allen Associates, 36. Spinnaker Development, 37. Elevation Architectural Studios, 38. Celebrity Communities, 39. Conrad Design Group, 40. Spinnaker Development, 41. Sutton Suzuki Architects, 42. Window World, 43. Jarosz Architect, 44. Laidlaw Schultz Architects, 45. Cornerstone Architects, 46. Pacific Western Painting, 47. Celebrity Communities, 48. Thompson Custom Homes, 49. Antonio Martins Interior Design, 50. Celebrity Communities, 51. Sennikoff Architects, 52. FormLA Landscaping, 53. Fratantoni Luxury Estates, 54. Harrison Design Associates, 55. MVN Arquitectos, 56. Secret Gardens, 57. Inspired Property Designs, 58. Falling Waters Landscape
H House features a modern glass facade designed by Wiel Arets Architects, situated in a leafy area of suburban Maastricht, The Netherlands, just south of the city’s center. The homeowner’s are a dancer and an actor, who are also landscape architects, locating the 3,229 square foot (300 square meters) home within an existing formal garden that the owners had cultivated over the years. Composed of two concrete floor slabs wrapped in an all glass skin that varies in shades of opacity–from transparent to opaque–the interior is organized so that it assumes the characteristics of a single, open, loft-like space. The two exceptions to this completely open living situation are the contiguous volume of the upper story bathroom, which cantilevers over the terrace entry off the kitchen below, and that of the front entry, which projects from the main volume to create a roof terrace.
The house’s staircase is suspended from the first level so that it does not touch the ground floor; its lower portion is composed of movable units that also function as storage for the ground floor kitchen and living space. Small rectangular columns support the house’s concrete slabs.
The owners are able to reconfigure their interior spaces, due to the numerous curtains–whose tracks are recessed within the floor slabs–and the lower components of the staircase; ephemerally defining rooms reflective of the seasonal changes within the surrounding formal garden.
Photos: João Morgado
The Seacombe Grove House is a minimalistic two-storey residence that has been designed by B.E Architecture in Melbourne, Australia. The siting response for this project was to have neither a front or back garden, but rather a continuous green outdoor space around the building. This space is visually and physically accessible from all lower level living rooms through continuous floor to ceiling glass. The whole of the ground floor is within a protected courtyard garden, contained by a continuous high fence, enabling the entire area (excepting pedestrian and car entry points) to be private and usable.
The ground floor living areas are separated into two distinct zones – day / summer areas facing north and west are integrated with the pool, garden and covered outdoor eating areas, while the night / winter areas face east and south. Separation between these zones is achieved by the placement of a two level void and stair. This element of vertical movement and effective slice in the plan is not revealed until entry into the dwelling. This element provides separation at the upper level between master bedroom and the children’s bedroom and laundry facilities.
The selection of materials consciously addressed their ability to span the life of the building – natural and aged materials such as bluestone temper the “newness” of the project, and will temper its age in the future. The bluestone cladding is cut in 4 differing widths and a random stacked pattern is utilized to accentuate the horizontality of the building, while the black charred timber screens and fences contrast the stone in their vertical arrangement. The bluestone is employed as an antidote to the prevalence of acrylic render and its flat plasticity and immediacy. While being a material that is quarried, cut and textured and thus rich, it is also an amazing local material that gives a real, subtle texture and color to the building, creating a patina that will age with grace.
Large spotted gum pergolas that project out from under the upper level enhance usable outdoor areas. These pergolas of black of stained spotted gum have glazed roofs and operable walls, and also serve to ground the floating bluestone form above.
With the ground floor having continuous glazing, the upper level is contrasted with expressive stone walls with deep apertures that protect the occupant from the nearby major road. These apertures and associated upper level courtyards provide internal privacy to the dwelling.
Photos: Trevor Mein, Peter Clarke
Casa Alma Desnuda is a stunning private villa in Guadalajara, Mexico surrounded by a lush natural environment that is an oasis of serenity for the owner. Design Less Hajj was entrusted for the interior design of this fabulous project which showcases stylish design details. The design team drew liberally from the Minotti catalog, as seen throughout this incredible modern property. The interiors can only be described as modern, sleek and meticulously designed, down to every detail. The tropical landscape makes being outside of the home very enjoyable for the homeowners, especially when entertaining guests.
A neutral color palette helps to not detract from the lush tropical greenery that surrounds this incredible home.
Photos: Courtesy of Minotti SpA
Nestled in a premier Montecito, California location rests this sophisticated property that captures the essence of the area’s indoor/outdoor living while stylishly providing every modern luxury. Extensively renovated in 2013 by noted real-estate design and construction company, Becker Studios, Casa Allende enjoys new systems and architecturally significant design elements throughout the spacious 3,600 square feet. On a quiet cul-de-sac off East Mountain Drive, impressive entry gates reveal a circular drive and a generous motor court surrounded by abundant olive trees and stone-lined succulent gardens. Wood doors open to the outdoor foyer, a lovely courtyard bathed in sunlight.
The original entry reveals the large windows of the home’s central great room, encompassing both living and dining spaces. Outfitted with the finest in low-maintenance materials to uphold the home’s natural character, a beamed ceiling, driftwood ash Oak floors and a sleek gas fireplace adorn the living room. The adjoining dining room enjoys a pitched ceiling and views of the vibrant entry courtyard. The open floor plan continues with a fluid transition into the designer eat-in kitchen. In keeping with the crisp and clean design, the kitchen’s generous center island and breakfast bar is finished with Spanish limestone, while combed basalt adorns the backsplash. Wired for extensive audio and video capabilities, the space perfectly doubles as a media room.
This masterfully renovated hacienda has been designed to uphold Montecito’s luxurious standards while basking in a coveted outdoor lifestyle, listed for sale at $4,695,000, from here.
This photo shows what the kitchen looked like before renovations began.
Wide-plank oak flooring has been used throughout the home, imported Spanish stone countertops in the kitchen.
Off the kitchen, natural light fills a spacious bedroom where French windows open to gardens and a separate entrance allows private access for guests. Through a set of lovely archways, the opposite wing of the home provides privacy for two bedroom suites, each enjoying baths with Lagos Azul limestone floors, an additional powder room, and the sumptuous master suite (pictured above). Designed to emulate the true relaxation of an ultra-luxury spa, the master suite enjoys French doors opening to a stone terrace overlooking the property’s enchanting gardens.
Designed to emulate the true relaxation of an ultra-luxury spa, the master suite enjoys French doors opening to a stone terrace overlooking the property’s enchanting gardens. The master bath is a peaceful refuge adorned in marble, with a pitched ceiling and walk-in shower, while a private outdoor bath is a heavenly escape. A large walk-in closet completes the impressive master suite.
An outdoor soaking tub is tucked in a very private space.
Iron and glass doors open completely flush to allow for idyllic indoor/outdoor living. Beneath a repurposed vine-covered trellis, an inviting herringbone brick terrace and stone fireplace overlooks the property’s pool and lush landscape of lawns and gardens.
The property’s grounds have been mindfully landscaped to take full advantage of Montecito’s idyllic climate. Lush lawns and gardens of succulents line an expansive brick terrace, which surrounds the 18-by-40-foot swimmer’s pool and a separate spa providing abundant seating and endless entertaining possibilities. Permitted for additional guest quarters, the property is plumed and wired for an approximately 650 square foot pool cabana with a bedroom, full bath, and kitchenette.
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