Peter’s House has been designed by Craig Steely Architecture, located on a steep site bordering a public garden above San Francisco, California’s Dolores Park. The decidedly small house, (only 1,800 square feet) builds on this steep lot as efficiently as possible. Rather than the typical construction practice of locating foundations staggered up the hillside, Peter’s house locates a 24 foot x 24 foot cast-in-place concrete garage at the lowest level and builds a 3-story glass tower above it, altering the land and native hillside drainage very little. The top living floor then spans from a flat plateau at top of the lot to the tower like a bridge, essentially reducing the amount of excavation typically involved in construction of this type by 2/3.
Beyond the structural challenges, the biggest issue in designing Peter’s house was opening the building to the expansive view while maintaining a level of privacy from the sidewalk and garden that pass alongside. Around the time the house was being designed, the new on-ramp to the Golden Gate Bridge was under construction which necessitated clearing a grove of Monterey Cypress trees in it’s path from the Presidio. We secured some of these trees and working with a local milling shop turned them into 90 solid wood louvers (fixed on the exterior/operable on the interior) that regulate openness and privacy.
At street level, the wooden garage door opens its toothed maw.
Outside looking in: a look at the door’s mechanism.
The kitchen is beautifully textured and veined thanks to white Carrara marble countertops installed by New Marble Company and reclaimed cypress cabinets built by Wayne Berger.
A 606 Universal Shelving System by Dieter Rams for Vitsoe hangs tough on the only opaque wall of the living room. The homeowner’s designed the coffee table, and Marcel Wanders gets credit for the Bottoni sofa for Moooi.
The trip from garage to first floor is through a wood-clad spiral staircase that resembles a giant slatted barrel.
The LC4 lounge is by Le Corbusier, Charlotte Perriand, and Pierre Jeanneret for Cassina. Operable porthole windows on the east facade offer ventilation.
The master bedroom is defined on the north side by a series of indoor louvers, which allow the couple to frame and manage their views.
The drawers and cupboards in the closet feature the same masterful joinery established in the kitchen.
The homeowner’s, a mechanical engineer and industrial designer, designed their bed. Credit for the custom joinery of the closet and cabinets goes to woodworker Wayne Berger.
At night, opening the entire top floor is a breeze. The homeowner’s are even planning of rigging some kind of sail over the back patio for shade. The hot tub is by Roberts Hot Tubs.
The public staircase is directly adjacent to the house, though the louvers mitigate the view of passersby in favor of views of San Francisco.
Los Chillos House has been designed by Quito based architectural firm Diez + Muller Arquitectos in Valle de los Chillos, Cuenca Canton, Ecuador. The home was completed in 2012, comprised of 5,920 square feet of living space with a contemporary exterior facade composed of stone and glass which contracts ascetically with its traditional rustic interior design.
The design of this house arises from previous research and understanding of the regional architecture of the Ecuadorian highlands, and how it engages with a modern system through understanding the place, tectonics and space of each, creating a tension between the two systems. First are the traditional architectural and spatial elements, such as the courtyard, the wall, porch and slope. At the same time, the open plan and the continuous space are modernist concepts contrasted with the elements previously mentioned. The material palette includes local stone, wood and tile as local or endemic materials, and exposed concrete, steel and glass as modern materials. This mix not only expresses a formal idea, but also a structural and constructive idea that reinforces the argument.
In an area of approximately 2 hectares with a steep slope, the house is implanted in the highest part of the site, with a privileged view. In plan, the house is designed linearly, taking advantage of the views from every room. The design in section becomes important, access is from the upper level of the site to the social area, kitchen and terrace. The most private areas and bedrooms are on the lower floor.
The house is stratified into two zones: the stone base and glass box on top. The base is a stone bearing wall, where private areas are distributed. This base, true to its characteristics, is the support of the house on the ground, and contains the excavated soil for its settlement. It comes into view in full from certain viewpoints, while from others it is half-buried and seems to arise. At the back and at the entrance of the house, a large cut in the ground generates a submerged courtyard which serves mainly to illuminate and ventilate the bedroom areas on the ground floor. At the same time, it becomes one of the most important areas of reference of the house. It is contained by an exposed concrete wall, contrasting with the stone wall, thus creating tensions between the two systems.
The arrival to the house is through a steel and glass bridge that intersects with the stone wall, and opens the space to a large steel and glass nave that contains the social areas of the house on the upper floor. On this nave rests a traditional mud tile roof.
Finally, the finishes of the house are simple materials like concrete and wood on floors, concrete walls, wood deck, etc.. The lightness of the glass top volume is even more evident at night when artificial light exposes its permeability and the great nave of the roof, which is juxtaposed with the monolithic volume of the base on which it rests.
Photos: Sebastían Crespo Camacho
The House at Jardin del Sol project, designed by Corona + P. Amaral Architects is a monolithic concrete and glass house over a timber platform located at the edge of a cliff in Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain. The unique site and shape of the 4,186 square foot (388.97 square meters) house was developed in order to enjoy the amazing views of the 300 meters cliff, a 100 meters long black sand beach, mount Teide and all the north coast of Tenerife island.
Bedroom and service areas are located in a one-storey rectangular volume which enters into a double high volume containing the living-room, studio and kitchen. Both volumes organize an L-shape around the black paddle located at the edge of the platform so water surface gets mixed with the one of the sea, so all the areas of the house enjoy the views underlined by wood and water.
The interior and exterior finishing of the closed volume consists in treated concrete while complete walls are used in the facades facing the views. Protection is solved with timber shuts in the bedroom area and outside canvas stores in the living room.
A gym is located in the basement with direct access from the terrace and views to the inside through a glass wall.
A steel and wood freestanding canopy provides shadow to the central part of the terrace. Gardening, based in the use of local cliff species, is located in the slope between the street and the built volume so the house seems to be inserted into the natural cliff .
Photos: Roland Halbe, José Ramón Oller
Y-House is a contemporary three story single family semi-detached residence designed by architecture firm ONG&ONG Pte Ltd in Singapore. Two levels are apparent from the exterior facade, but the staircase shows that from the ground level there is a basement level below grade. The lower level features the main living areas with full height glass windows along the back of the home opening up to an outdoor terrace. A floating staircase leads to the upper level which hosts the private spaces of a master bedroom retreat, zen bathroom with walk-in shower, as well as office space and an upper loft/attic bedroom area. The furnishings and decor are modern, clean lines with all the luxury amenities for practical everyday living.
Photos: Aaron Pocock
House M2 is situated in Bolzano, Italy designed by Monovolume Architecture + Design as a Klimahouse A which hosts two accommodations on separate floors. Because of his punctuated facade in the north and the east it seems closed to the access road. The plastered basement serves as pedestal for the smaller upper floor, which is covered by cladding sheets. To the garden – towards the south and the west – the house opens because of a generous glass facade. The two flats are protected against strong insolation in summer by overhanging roofs. The ceiling of the basement serves to the upper floor as a roof terrace, whereas on the roof of the upper floor is the photo-voltaic plant. The apartments have a direct access from the underground car park.
A continuous wall, which passes parallel to the exterior walls, separates the night area from the day area, which is turned to the glass facade.
This creates a clear separation in areas with different lighting qualities.
Photos: M&H Photostudio
The Deck House is perched on a steep hill surrounded by lush forest in Janda Baik, as small village in Pahang, Malaysia, designed by Choo Gim Wah Architect. Featuring two-and-a-half stories with a large deck, rich wood flooring and full height windows with incredible forested views, this sumptuous house is a tropical haven for its new homeowners.
Photos: Kenneth Lim, Gray Studio
The Port Ludlow Residence is a compact, modern property situated in Port Ludlow, Washington State, designed by FINNE Architects. The home is comprised of 2,400 square feet of living space nestled on a wooded waterfront property at the north end of the Hood Canal, a long, fjord-like arm of western Puget Sound. The house creates a simple glazed living space that opens up to become a front porch to the beautiful Hood Canal.
The east-facing house is sited along a high bank, with a wonderful view of the water. The main living volume is completely glazed, with 12-ft. high glass walls facing the view and large, 8-ft.x8-ft. sliding glass doors that open to a slightly raised wood deck, creating a seamless indoor-outdoor space. During the warm summer months, the living area feels like a large, open porch. Anchoring the north end of the living space is a two-story building volume containing several bedrooms and separate his/her office spaces.
The interior finishes are simple and elegant, with IPE wood flooring, zebrawood cabinet doors with mahogany end panels, quartz and limestone countertops, and Douglas Fir trim and doors. Exterior materials are completely maintenance-free: metal siding and aluminum windows and doors. The metal siding has an alternating pattern using two different siding profiles.
The two STEN layered glass coffee tables explore the idea of natural form created with industrial technology. The tables use glass lamination to create layers of shaped, low-iron Starphire glass, which are then cut with an industrial water jet. Similarly, the steel bases are also water jet-cut, and present a contrasting pattern that is seen through the glass top. The glass is layered with varying thickness of clear and satin-etch pieces, achieving an overall edge thickness from 3/4” to 1-1/4”. The forms are inspired by the shape of large rocks and boulders, but the translation into glass creates something new: “glass rock,” without mass or density. The glass reflects light and becomes non-material. When light strikes the surface of glass, it is almost as if glass becomes light itself.
The house has a number of sustainable or “green” building features, including 2×8 construction (40% greater insulation value); generous glass areas to provide natural lighting and ventilation; large overhangs for sun and rain protection; metal siding (recycled steel) for maximum durability, and a heat pump mechanical system for maximum energy efficiency. Sustainable interior finish materials include wood cabinets, linoleum floors, low-VOC paints, and natural wool carpet.
Photos: Benjamin Benschneider
The Fingal Residence is a stunning contemporary vacation home situated in Fingal Bay, in New South Wales, Australia, designed by Australian-based design studio Jam Architects. The gorgeous home has been decorated in neutral tones and features wood plank flooring throughout most of the homes interior. Open plan interiors offer the owner’s great social connectivity, with the living and kitchen area offering sliding glass doors that leads out to a private deck, blurring the boundaries between indoors and out. A spacious outside terrace is perfect for entertaining guests and offers a large swimming pool and perfectly manicured landscaping for plenty of privacy.
Photos: John Wheatley
Villa Nuevo is contemporary glass walled home perched on a bluff overlooking Lake Travis in northwest Austin, Texas. The house was built in 2009 and designed by Austin-based Webber + Studio, Architects, who specialize in minimalist, contemporary style. The design is ecological: the house’s power, for example, is generated by rooftop solar panels; there’s also a rainwater collection system and solar heating for the pool. The main house has an open and airy layout, with 11-foot ceilings and walls of windows in the great room facing the lake. Most of the floors are bamboo; some are poured concrete. The kitchen is by Bulthaup, a German company known for its functional design.
Two of the main house’s bedrooms are currently used as offices. The master suite opens to a private outdoor hot tub. Tucked off the center hall is a library with built-in wood shelves. The 4,400 square foot house is primarily single-level, but there’s a sunken exercise room built into the property’s slope. Across a covered courtyard is a three-bedroom guesthouse, designed along the same lines as the main house. Between the main house and guesthouse is a covered, walled-in courtyard with a pool and a hot tub. A catwalk-like deck wraps around the main house, with a cantilevered sitting area. A private path leads to the lake and a boathouse. The 11-acre lot includes four acres of land; the remainder is underwater.
Photos: Jacob Termansen Photography
Bay House is a contemporary family home situated in Sag Harbor, New York, designed by Roger Ferris + Partners. This residence located on the Long Island coastline has been designed to capture and frame spectacular water views. The design also maximizes transparency between interior spaces and the link between interior and exterior. The design embraces sustainability with geothermal design, daylighting, solar shading strategies and xeriscape landscaping.
Photos: Arch Photo Inc