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
Highway House is the modern pad of architect Nathan Crump of Room 11 who designed this project, located in Dynnyrne, Tasmania, island state of Australia. This compact single level residence of 1,453 square feet (135 square meters), floats along the sheer slopes of the southern outlet, arranged as an east/west elongated box with all rooms facing North for solar gain, natural light and the expansive view of the Derwent River and the City of Hobart.
Living areas are shaded in summer by both the roof overhang and custom external battened screens that slide the full length of the Northern facade.
Accessed via a southern circulation spine, the internal spaces are divided into private and public areas by a central enclosed deck with a roof void to allow sun and breezes into the depth of the plan. A covered deck to the west provides summer afternoon shade to living areas. The two external decks that break the plan allow for a series of sliding doors and galleries of louvered windows to aid in natural cross ventilation.
The home showcases stunning views, plenty of natural light and lots of warmth with the use of lots of wood.
Landscape retaining walls are bluestone-spall filled rigid gabion cages that don’t require concrete footings and provide for natural drainage.
This lightweight timber building responds quickly to heating and cooling and is well suited to Tasmania’s temperate climate.
The Orchard Willow Residence is a contemporary three level single family residence designed by Wheeler Kearns Architects, located in Chicago, Illinois. The clients sought a home that balanced an abundance of natural light and direct connections to nature with a need for privacy. Located adjacent to a schoolyard, the site affords an open southern side yard, unusual for Chicago. The exposure provided an opportunity to access natural light throughout the day while challenging how to achieve privacy.
A board-formed concrete wall poured just above eye level encircles the property. With the first floor set down at natural grade, the textural wall provides complete visual privacy within the garden, allowing the wooden framed interior living space to be enclosed with glass. Large sliding doors and a continuous stone floor connect the interior and exterior as a single room.
Above the wooden pavilion, a narrow, copper-clad volume floats on a clerestory band of windows, bringing light deep into the broad living space below. Within the bedrooms, deeply recessed balconies are carved out of the copper enclosure to form light courts that shade the glazing, provide privacy, and direct views away from the neighboring school to the distant Chicago skyline and sunset.
Photos: Steve Hall / Hedrich Blessing
430 House is the contemporary renovation of a 1981 Vancouver Special house designed by D’Arcy Jones Architecture, located in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. The residence was built on a 33 foot wide lot, which retained the entire foundation and structure of the house. The 2,500 square foot interior layout was flipped, moving the kitchen, dining and living areas from the upper floor down to the main floor, so the most important interior spaces could be at grade.
A new parallel-parking open carport was built off the lane, to preserve more of the back yard for a new landscaped garden and terrace. The house was wrapped in a new exterior skin with carefully placed windows, to connect all interior spaces to the front and back yards. This house that was once dark and generic is now filled with light and air.
Our studio enthusiastically approaches each new project as a chance to create something unique. Playing with materials and form to come up with unexpected results, we work tirelessly to design projects that are innovative, durable and inviting. Tweaking time-tested ways of building, we create buildings and spaces that can be built with conventional construction methods. Our clients work with a very small team and enjoy the personal involvement of D’Arcy at all stages of design and construction. We are optimists, seeing the past as a continuum to connect with and be inspired by, and seeing the future as something that can be improved incrementally.
Photos: Sama Jim Canzian
The Madison Park House is the latest custom-spec house to be designed and built by architecture firm First Lamp, located in Seattle, Washington. Situated on an existing steep slope lot in the Madison Park neighborhood of Seattle the house grows out of the hillside and allows the main living space to float out amongst the trees. This 3,200 square foot, five bedroom house will be an energy star certified residence and is targeted to be 4-star built green.
Daunting and stubborn while also inspiring, the site was our true client . A handful of landslides had occurred here in past years, so this tucked-away location had been ignored or avoided until recently. After a series of site visits with our “ground team” (engineers, excavator, and foundation subcontractors), we came to understand two things: 1) That development here would actually increase the stability of the site and 2) It would therefore be an asset to the surrounding landscape and community.
During the design process we often used a tree as a metaphor for our design goals:
1.Sensitively Integrate Structure with Landscape and topography
2.Stabilize the hillside with a deep root system
3.Reduce storm water impact to the site and its surroundings.
In many ways, the design response to these goals is very literal. 54 Pin piles, 5 helical anchors, and 110 yards of concrete support the structure and retain the hillside. These are consolidated to the smallest feasible footprint, allowing the topography to surround and envelop the trunk of the house. The main living space is cantilevered from this base much the same way the branches of a tree reach for the sun. The siding is almost 100% cedar, charred to more closely reflect the deep ambient color under a grove of mature trees. The house is topped with almost 2000 square feet of living roof which acts as a filter, a sponge, and an aesthetic amenity for the residents.
Photos: Courtesy of First Lamp
House L is a renovation project of a semi-detached house built in the 1970’s by Amitzi Architects, for a family with 3 children, located in Tel Aviv, Israel. Despite a cramped and dark interior caused by low ceilings and a split-level section, it turned out that demolition was out of the question, due to budget and schedule. It was decided, therefore, to renovate within the existing envelope, tear open large apertures and dismantle interior partitions, thus creating a spacious and well-lit space.
The kitchen was reorganized to place the dining-area in front of a glass sliding door leading to an outside deck. An axis crosses the entire length of the house – starting from the front deck, through the dining area, entrance hall, living room and up to the back garden – allowing longitudinal views and a natural cross-ventilation.
The entrance hall is lit by glass portholes set within the door. The living room was equipped with a fireplace, a library and a home-cinema system.
The bedrooms’ hall on the first floor is a windowless interior space. Natural light penetrates via a skylight, enabling the use of this space as a study.
Photos: Amitzi Architects
One Beacon Court is a modern Central Park Condo, located in one of Manhattan’s most luxurious condominium residences, the Bloomberg Tower. Designed by local interior designer and painter, Tara Benet, the condo offers sweeping views of New York City. With large expanses of windows, the mostly white interiors are flooded with natural light, giving an open and airy feel. Benet worked with art advisor Kati Lovaas to fill the space with emerging art that pops against the white walls.
Pairing a calacatta marble dining table with leather chairs from Poliform on top of a neutral rug from ABC Carpet & Home creates a neutral environment for the artwork that’s featured in the dining room. The large green “X” is from Philippe Decrauzat and the iron sculpture that hangs is by Valentin Carron, both of which add visual interest into the space.
The white sofa is accented with dark gray and black pillows providing a nice contrast. The dark wood floors also set the tone for the entire apartment making white the perfect choice for the walls and ceilings.
The massive modular book shelf, also from Poliform, features gray cubbies helping to break up the white.
The living room is complete with the placement of an Arco lamp from Flos.
The painting is by Gardar Eide Einarsson and the white marble credenza below is from Cassina.
In the kitchen, a Knoll Saarinen dining table is partnered with Cassina Philippe Starck 245 Caprice chairs.
Photos: Marili Forastieri
Wissioming2 Residence is organized into two volumes connected with glass bridges, designed by Robert M. Gurney Architect, located in Glen Echo, Maryland, just outside of Washington, DC. This newly developed home is sited on a sloping, wooded lot with distant views of the Potomac River.
The house is positioned to preserve a majority of mature trees and is oriented toward the river views and south facing slope.
Secondary volumes intersect and overlap the two larger structures rendering the composition more dynamic. Material changes in the various elements intensify the relationships. Expanses of glass open to a terrace organized around a swimming pool with two “infinity” edges reinforcing the connectivity to the wooded landscape.
The house is organized into two volumes connected with glass bridges that span a reflecting pool which separates the volumes.
The interiors are painted with light. Walls constructed with slender, steel window frames composed in “Mondrian” inspired patterns combine with translucent panels, wenge and white oak millwork and Pompeii Scarpaletto stone to define interior spaces. White terrazzo flooring juxtaposes the black window frames and unifies the volumes on the main floor.
This house is designed to provide spaces which are organized to integrate its inherently picturesque site in a way that the architecture becomes subservient to the landscape that surrounds it.
Photographs: Maxwell MacKenzie Architectural Photographer
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