Zero Energy House, designed by Levy Art & Architecture, is the first home in San Francisco, California that is completely self-powering and carbon neutral. The architecture has been developed in conjunction with the mechanical systems and landscape design, each influencing the other to arrive at an integrated solution. Working from the historic facade, the design preserves the traditional formal parlors transitioning to an open plan at the central stairwell, helping to define the distinction between eras. The new floor plates act as passive solar collectors and radiant tubing redistributes collected warmth to the original, North facing portions of the house. Careful consideration has been given to the envelope design of Zero Energy House in order to reduce the overall space conditioning needs, retrofitting the old and maximizing insulation in the new.
The Bar piece is produced by SieMatic cabinets, it is walnut. The cabinets are a wood textured laminate, also by SieMatic. The stair is open to above and takes up an area about 6′-6″ x 10′-0″. the floor to floor height is 10′-6″.
Central skylights above staircase.
View from master bedroom.
Exterior stair back yard to first level.
Solar powered hybrid electric heat pump.
Mod Redux is a stunning 2,400 square foot contemporary home renovation that has been designed by Capoferro Design Build Group and is situated in Thornhill, Ontario, Canada. The reinvention of this 1970s home demonstrates what can be accomplished through a well-designed renovation. Inspiration for this project was drawn from a range of mid-century modern to current design trends. In every detail, materials were used in their natural beauty to complete the design. This design incorporates a careful use of wood, concrete, natural stone and glass walls, which blend to express warmth in a modern space. The trims, ceilings, stairs, fireplace, kitchen, bath, and bath wall were intuitively sculpted on site; they are not just components of the house, but are expressions of a methodology of making.
The main fireplace hearth is made from polished formed concrete, and the mantel is a wall panel of polished concrete strips. The ceiling panels are made from African acacia hardwood. The staircase is a sculptural piece which fills the foyer and is the focal point as your enter the home. It is made from curved walnut and is capped with over 500 individually cut elements to create a seamless look. The full glass window wall in the family room/dining area open this space up to nature, creating a sense of calm and beauty.
In the end, the success of a project can be measured by how close you meet your client’s expectations…and in their words, “We have realized our dream, thank-you.” To that we say, “You are welcome, enjoy your new home.”
Photos: Courtesy of Capoferro Design Build Group
Bosque da Ribeira Residence is a modern Brazilian home designed by Anastasia Arquitetos, situated in a residential neighborhood in Nova Lima, a city near Belo Horizonte. The 7,000 square foot (650 square meters) residence is at the limit of an allotment, adjacent to an environmental reserve. Thus the residence seeks to create a visual interface and harmonious deployment with the environment, taking full advantage of covered of the forest and featuring a staggered volumetry, decreasing the higher volumes observed in the street. The landscaping designed for the residence complements the relationship with the forest.
The leisure area, swimming pool and terrace are focused on the landscape, with privacy preserved by the slope, and, as well as the social area, are covered. To protect it from sunstroke north, coincident with sight, we created a balcony with two levels of coverage, to light up the room without direct solar irradiation, and zenithal illumination protected by wooden pergolado in the lounge.
The house is organized as follows: sauna and rest at street level (basement), social area on the ground floor, 4 meters higher than the street, and private areas on the second floor.
Photos: Jomar Braganca
West Seattle Residence is a modern house comprised of concrete, glass, and steel, designed by Lawrence Architecture, situated in the West Seattle district of Seattle, Washington. The 3,800-square-foot house sits on top of a steep hill looking westward with dramatic views of Puget Sound. It’s essentially a loft-like glass curtain wall pavilion that sits on top of an opaque and rectilinear podium next to a similarly massed 925 square foot detached garage. A road runs along the rear of the house on its opaque east side, where the main entry is. Parallel to this road is a tall concrete wall up to twenty-four feet high that shields the house and a side patio for privacy. This wall then extends to the garage and living space unit next door where the client’s parents often stay when they’re visiting, blocking views into the main house’s master bedroom and keeping family at a comfortable distance. “They didn’t want to have to put up blinds,” Lawrence says.
The wall is also the organizing element for the circulation including the stairs with cantilevered steel treads. Supported on steel frames and triangular steel trusses, the roof swoops over the concrete wall capping the pavilion. Eight by sixteen foot sections of the curtain wall pivot for ventilation.
The house’s roof is its most engaging and formal feature. Lawrence describes the arcing shell as “springing over” the house from the rear privacy wall. The garage and loft apartment building has a similar curved roof. Both create a dynamic formal tension with the largely rectilinear buildings below.
An interior and exterior fireplace on the north side connects the house to its patio.
Several wood flourishes warm the inside and outside of the house. Douglas fir is used on the underside of the roof and on the ceiling of the kitchen. The opaque facades of the building are covered in metal panels. Inside, the floors are terrazzo and many of the walls are raw concrete. A steel slab floating stair adds more cool, industrial sophistication.
The house sits on a long, rectilinear podium that contains four bedrooms, a family room, bathrooms, and a media library, occupying the daylight basement level. Upstairs, the main level is an open plan, loft-like living room and kitchen, bathed in light and air through the curtain wall’s operable windows and steel structure. The top level of the house contains the master bedroom and bath. There is additional living space above the garage accessible via stair or future elevator.
The stair has demountable guardrails which are normally in place but were removed for the photographs.
Photos: Benjamin Benschneider
Lake House Two is a stunning contemporary waterfront property that has been designed by McClellan Architects and is situated in Seattle, Washington. The home has been programmed as a primary residence, sited on a very steep waterfront lot, with drive access limited to the very top of the site. The client expressed a desire for exposed steel structure and to fully engage in the waterfront landscape. The home is conceived as a single living environment expressing the seeming dichotomy between interior and exterior living spaces pivoting around the central kitchen and hearth. Rather than “bring the outside in,” Lake House brings the inside out.
The dynamic tension between the crafted and the natural is evident throughout: the rhythmic structure of the stacked building masses is articulated by exposed steel beams and columns, repeated and transformed by trees ordering the outdoor living spaces.
The work of master craftsmen in stone, plaster and steel is essential to the natural, competent feeling of the home. A blackened-steel stairway with Scarpa-inspired details is placed against a venetian plaster feature wall. Powerful raking LED light fixtures illuminate the wall in the evening, looking like gold leaf.
An elevator unobtrusively integrated in the back of the home makes the Garage (with solar panels for the client’s electric car), Mother-in-Law apartment, and main living floors all accessible. A green roof provides landscape and view for the upper apartment.
Photos: Ben Benschneider
Caruth Boulevard Residence is a modern LEED Gold designed home by owner and architect Tom Reisenbichler, located in Dallas, Texas. When the architect built his 8,300 square foot family dream home, he was determined to prove that being environmentally friendly does not have to rule out luxury. “You can do luxury without being wasteful,” says Tom Reisenbichler, an architect with Perkins+Will who primarily designs hospitals and medical buildings. There is no shortage of either eco-friendly strategies in this three-story home, from photovoltaic solar panels on the roof to flooring made from recycled television tubes and countertops of recycled mirror glass, materials were chosen carefully; ninety percent of them are recycled or reclaimed.
In our world where many associate sustainable (green) design with a bohemian lifestyle, while others consider luxury wasteful, this house is designed to prove they are not exclusive. Integrated tightly into the large iconic trees on the site, this house uses traditional home proportions to blend with the neighborhood. The horizontal lines of the design tie the home to the land, while the roof and balcony reach into the trees making them integral to the home.
The design concepts emphasize the entertaining lifestyle of the owner / architect, with open plans that integrate indoor and outdoor spaces. The first level uses a central core (wooden box) as the main organizing element around which public spaces flow. This LEED Gold designed home features many sustainable strategies, from photovoltaic solar panels and recycled materials to native plants that are drought tolerant, every detail of sustainability is considered.
The couple, who entertain frequently and have welcomed nearly 3,000 guests since they moved into the University Park house last January, made sure that the residence works for gatherings both large and intimate. With its open concept, expansive rooms and walls of glass that slide open to integrate indoor and outdoor spaces, the first floor is a hostess’ dream.
What really wows guests, Reisenbichler says, is when they flip up the wood panel on the living room wall to create a serving bar from the wine room off the kitchen. Opposite the bar is another showstopper: an 8-foot-long gas fireplace that is positioned halfway up a stone wall. “It appeals to so many people, even if they’re not a modernist,” Reisenbichler says.
The spare design and hard lines of the architecture are softened by visual textures, richly colored rugs and warm wood walls, including teak that was salvaged from a monastery in Thailand.
“Most of the home’s finishes are pretty neutral,” Reisenbichler says. “It’s the art and furnishings that bring life to the space.” The art, including oversize sculptural pieces, canvases and African jewelry, is a collection of memories from the family’s travels juxtaposed with works from North Texas artists.
The six-bedroom, 10-bath house, includes mother-in-law quarters on the second floor. Rooms are full of sleek leather furniture, chrome accents, animal hides and graphic prints.
Photos: Bret Janak
Balcony House is a futuristic multi-tiered house envisioned by the architecture studio of A-cero, with a prime location in a natural environment, only 9 miles from the city center of Madrid, Spain. The house is comprised of 10,250 square feet (952 square meters) of living space, spread out over three levels and nestled on an independent plot of 21,530 square feet (2000 square meters).
This design is a reflection of its exterior architecture. It harnesses the breadth of open spaces and the double heights with wooden structures that wrap the stays. This spaciousness is enhanced by the large amount of natural light that comes from the large windows existing at all levels, both in common and private areas.
The furniture of the living room, like the kitchen, has been designed and built personalized for the customer, with high quality finishes. LED lighting is the protagonist in the interior, marking the architecture and creating lines that frame the spaces.
Photos: Courtesy of A-cero
Casa Carrara is a minimalist design by architecture firm Andres Remy Arquitectos situated on an irregular lot in Pilar, Buenos Aires, Argentina. The 7,104 square foot (660 square meters) house sits at the back of the lot and is parallel to one of the streets to open the best orientation and capture the best views. The idea of this journey was to discover the entrance as we follow the exterior stone wall. The rustic and crafted stone defines and separates the entry zones from the living spaces and is inside and outside, proposing a counterpoint to the pure white that dominates the inside of the house.
A blind and evocative entrance makes a strong impression on the house. The white of the carrara marble dominates the interior architecture. With the white walls and ceilings, the house appears to arise from within the water. The touches of color are used for small details and decorative objects, dominating the white color and the turquoise of the water.
The water that surrounds the house penetrates it in the form of the mirrored surface of the water whose novelty results in the interior cascade that emerges from the top floor and falls while painting reflections via a pane of glass. This mirror of water is reproduced outside blurring the boundaries between one and the other. Finally, emerging from the hall dispenser of the top floor, the glass cascade drains musically into and through the heart of the ground floor. These elements give the project the distinct mark of Remy–bold, creative and perhaps provocative, but always unique.
Photos: Alejandro Peral
Carmel Residence is an incredible modern home design completed in 2008 by Dirk Denison Architects, situated in Carmel-By-The-Sea, California. The house is nestled on a dense site facing Carmel Bay and the Pacific Ocean. The clients were keen to be fully cognizant of this amazing setting in all areas of the home. As such the house was conceived as a central room comprised of the courtyard, living room, and bedroom, bordered by niche spaces for the kitchen, breakfast nook, office and master bath. Fully folding doors/walls adjacent to the courtyard from the living room and bedroom literally open the full space up, and the rhythmic edge of vertical screen elements (solid mahogany and steel) create a loose border that stretches and compresses along its lengths.
Viewed at an angle, the screen reads opaque, but viewed closely or straight through, the screen is visibly porous allowing both light and air to travel through and across the central space. All other rooms on the main floor abut this border screen, creating a reference of place throughout the house, and providing a dynamic reading of visual connections as one moves through the space. This central heart of the house is protected from strong seawater winds of the ocean by a glass roof, designed to allow for clear views upward and to maintain a warm center space.
The steel columns that anchor the steel cable and strut trusses are integrated into the vertical wood screen – matching the changing rhythm and yet independently identified by a deep charcoal color. When a sweeping breeze is needed, the large sliding windows between the office and the courtyard are easily opened to allow full cross-ventilation. The house lives and breathes through the courtyard, and our clients live fully in this “large” room, even soaking in the Japanese Ofuro installed beneath the glass roof to watch the evening sky.
The second floor is accessed by an exterior cantilever stair, which is structurally and materially integrated into the vertical screen system. Atop the house is a small second floor enclosure between two porches with dramatic views. This space is primarily used as a meditation room – and the large scooped skylight draws attention towards the changing blue of the sky and movement of the stars. Hidden below the inset Tatami floor is a guest mattress, ready to be revealed for guests to sleep among the cypress treetops.
Photos: David Matheson
The Hollywood Hybrid home has been designed by Marmol Radziner, located in the Hollywood Hills above Runyon Canyon, California. Set into a sharply down-sloping site, the home required substantial foundation work, including the construction of a large retaining wall. The resulting home combines prefab with site built construction. The ground floor is comprised of two large rooms built into the foundation while the two stories above are entirely prefab.
A long pool runs parallel to the house, overlooking Runyon Canyon. Two levels of decks and large sliding glass doors make the views accessible from every level of the home. The residence is targeted for LEED gold certification.
Responsible materials are used throughout, from the insulated glass to the denim jean insulation. Solar panels generate electricity and can feed excess power back into the grid. Decks, large sliding glass doors, and well-placed shading devices allow for cooling cross ventilation and seamless indoor-outdoor living.
Photos: Courtesy of Marmol Radziner