Studhorse Residence was designed as a four season family retreat by Olson Kundig Architects, situated in the remote Methow Valley, in Winthrop, Washington. Nestled in the North Cascades, the home is comprised of steel and reclaimed barn wood. The home was built with the client’s desire to experience and interact with the surrounding landscape. The compound consists of four separate and detached structures that encircles a central courtyard that houses a swimming pool. Each of the buildings is angled to take advantage of 360 degrees views and soak in dramatic features encompassing the home, such as the nearby Studhorse Ridge and Pearrygin Lake. Interior public spaces are comprised of a family room, kitchen and bar area, which are conglomerated into the main structure. In an adjacent structure are the private areas, comprised of the master bedroom suite, kids’ bedroom and den. A separate building houses the guest room, isolated from the rest of the buildings to allow for independent usage. There is a fourth building that frames a stunning view over the valley below, which houses a sauna.
This sensational home is a recipient of the 2015 housing awards, noted for its modest use of materials, such as “concrete flooring, concrete fireplace and OSB on the ceiling”. The jury liked that the home did not use historical references and was so different from the architecture that they have seen before. With the site plan being the center force, “the complex relations between the three parts is exciting but the courtyard locks it into place.”
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Photos: Architectural Digest / Benjamin Benschneider
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
The Cumberland Townhouse has been designed by Ensemble Architecture, located on a park block in the neighborhood of Fort Greene in Brooklyn, New York. The house was in a dilapidated state when the owner’s purchased the building; the rear wall was falling down and water had been entering the building for several years.
The house was completely transformed with a new rear wall and a two-story addition at the rear of the house. The addition is open to the living room above and is connected through interior steel and glass windows that mimic the two-story, exterior windows.
The doors at the garden open completely to create a seamless connection between the kitchen / dining level and the garden. Vines are planted in recessed planters along the two story party walls in the dining room–the room was designed with the idea of being an indoor-outdoor space where the garden melds with the interior spaces.
The vines will cover the double-story party walls and will add an organic quality to all of the spaces that the dining room connects. The top of the addition is a private master bedroom balcony.
Photos: Courtesy of Ensemble Architecture
Monoform Living project is a loft apartment turned into a living piece of art made from steel rods by PRODUCE Workshop, located in Novena, Singapore. The new 807 square foot (75 square meters) home was designed for Woon Tai Ho, art collector and critic, author, current Director for Media and Marketing of the National Gallery Singapore and former MediaCorp News CEO.
From the architect: Having given PRODUCE freedom to design the piece, they came up with a single piece of furniture made from steel rods that encompasses a bookshelf, a wardrobe, a table, a wine rack, and is also a sculpture.
It is the home of a distinguished gentleman and the space must be befitting of him. With that in mind, the design is then based on two conjectures – that a person’s living space should be a reflection of his character and values, and an expression of his sense of life; and that it is possible to grasp the ethos of a person from the art he enjoys.
The design begins with observing the art Woon collects, in particular the works of Jane Lee and Han Sai Por. Lee questions the idea of painting and challenges the congruence of painting. Her work is gestalt where the medium, the canvas, the form and the subject matter are a unified whole, and none of the elements can be removed or exchanged without destroying the artwork. Han’s drawings have free and unordered thin strokes accumulated to form a strong and powerful image. Her sculptures employ strong shapes and forms to address the fragility of nature and its destructions.
The design by PRODUCE embraces the essence of these two artists’ works to articulate a strong presence. Formally to express an existence that is greater than the sum of its part just like Lee’s works, and spatially to embody and celebrate that idea of existence like Han’s.
The result is a singular object (monoform), one piece of furniture that frames and connects all aspects of life in the 75 square meters loft apartment. It describes, fulfills and supports Woon’s form of living. The object is a bookshelf, a wardrobe, a table, a wine rack, and a sculpture.
This austerity embraces the imperfections of life. Like Han’s drawings, where the powerful form and shapes are complete with repetitive scribbles of thin irregular lines, the singular furniture is formed with a random alignment of thin steel rods confronting each space in the apartment.
Woon commented: “I am tired using artworks to show that I love art. I want to live in a space that is itself a piece of art. After my initial meetings with the guys, I know I can trust them. I decided to give them total freedom to come up with a creative space.”
The STRATA apartment (located at Novena, Singapore) is a single space interrupted by a monoform. It presents the necessary and essentials of living plainly and beautifully. It is the outcome when a client’s and a designer’s valuation of art are aligned.
Photos: Edward Hendricks, CI&A Photography
360 House is a private beachfront retreat designed by Boora Architects, perched above Arcadia Beach at the edge of the tree line on the dramatic Oregon Coast. The design directive was simple: the site is ruled by the sea, the landscape and the climate, and the homeowners wanted to keep it that way. So the designers pared away the external architecture, leaving a thick slab of grassy coast floating above glass walls.
From the architect: The design maintains sightlines from the sheltered forest to the open coastline with a minimal structure of glass and steel. Atop the two-story, transparent box, the copper-clad green roof is an elevated slab of native ferns and grasses.
Only the upper floor is visible from the forested driveway. Accessible via a catwalk and oversized glass pivot door, the upper level contains the main living spaces – living room, kitchen, dining room – and offers views in every direction. Cabinetry is pulled to the center of the space to free the exterior walls from obstruction. A small gap between the basalt flooring and the curtain wall creates an “infinity” effect along the perimeter.
A sheltered deck is punched into the west facade, protected from the wind and connected to the living spaces by wide sliding doors.
From the beach, the full height of the house is exposed, although it’s placement on the bluff and the sloped site to the east adds a sense of intimacy to the lower level. A custom desk cantilevers from the steel columns on the protected eastern side of the downstairs. The family room and two bedrooms open directly to the patio and beach access.
A sophisticated “home brain” allows the owners to remotely control all aspects of the house via their ipad or touchscreens on each floor: lights, shades, thermostats and audio systems. Mechanized curtains can be lowered in individual sections throughout the house as needed to allow for privacy or to control light levels. Hot water, radiant floor heat and air-conditioning is provided from a ground source heat pump.
Finishes and furnishings were chosen for their textural quality and subtlety. Floors and kitchen counters are made from the same dark grey basalt. Walls, ceiling and built-in cabinetry were crafted from white oak with accents of hot-rolled blackened steel.
To maintain flow and consistency, beds, desk and cabinetry were custom made.
On the main level, the kitchen, storage and bathroom are pulled to the core, freeing exterior walls from obstruction. As a result, 360º unimpeded views to the ocean, the beach, the sky and the forest saturate all living spaces. A spacious, sheltered deck is punched in the west elevation; sliding doors open wide to create continuous flow between living and dining areas.
A single piece steel frame supports the floating white oak staircase.
Regardless of the unpredictable Oregon Coast weather, the house is filled with natural light. At night, the light levels are kept low to create a cocoon-like, intimate effect.
Photos: Tim Bies
Amchit Residence is a beach house conceived as a layering of decks by BLANKPAGE Architects, located in the seaside town of Amchit in Lebanon. The design of the home sought to maximize its relationship with the sea through a visual and compositional celebration of horizontality in general and the Mediterranean horizon in particular.
From the architects: The slabs are held by a minimal steel structure made of equally sized square columns on a regular module of 2.55m, as well as a discreet glass enclosure. Given the inclined nature of the site, the house is approached by car on the street level just below the upper deck. At the external landing entrance, the circulation interconnects the three levels of the house. The upper platform contains the master bedroom that opens up on an elongated lap pool and expansive sun deck. The middle platform houses two bedrooms and a family living.
Finally, the lower deck serves as a reception area that extends outdoors towards the sea through an infinity pool as well as a staircase to the shore. In addition to the inner circulation core, a smooth promenade formed by a system of external ramps and staircases connects the platforms, linking the various levels of the rocky landscape that stretches between the street all the way to the sea.
The rhythms of the steel structure and wooden decking create a multiplicity of overlapping patterns of shadows that vary in direction and length all through the day rendering the simple structure at once complex and alive. At the particular moment of the sunset, the house, oriented almost due west at the elevation that faces the sea, acts as photographic diaphragm that invites the rays of the setting sun into the depths of the house, dashing the prototypical spaces in a horizontal glow of deep red.
Photos: Ieva Saudargaitė
LM Guest House was designed to celebrate the beauty of the surrounding landscape by Desai/Chia Architecture, located on a rolling farm property in upstate New York. The Duchess County property showcases sweeping views through an all-glass facade magnify the spacious, open feel of the living areas.
This 2,000 square foot guest house is situated on a rock outcropping that overlooks a trout pond and open farmland. Designed as a contemplative retreat for weekend visitors, the house allows one to experience the expansive surrounding landscape with vast unobstructed views. The house integrates a number of sustainable design strategies including geothermal heating and cooling, radiant floors, natural ventilation, motorized solar shades, photovoltaic panels, and rainwater collection for irrigation.
Landscape design strategies were closely tied to the design of the house. A tight palette of native vegetation highlights vistas and other natural features on the property while also managing storm water run-off. Local bluestone slabs and shale excavated from the site create outdoor seating areas and pathways; a bluestone slab terrace between the house and a nearby grove of pine trees provides an intimate outdoor room for entertaining and dining. Bluestone steps from the terrace lead to a barbeque area and an outdoor shower in the woods.
Open views to nature create a stunning backdrop for the main living and sleeping areas. A main bedroom and two ‘couchette’ nooks with built-in bunk beds provide accommodations for six overnight guests.
The open living and sleeping areas flow around a compact slatted wood core that disguises the mechanical, storage, and bathing spaces. Two sleeping couchettes with built-in bunk beds provide efficient accommodations for additional weekend guests. Natural white oak wood detailing provides warmth and texture throughout the home.
The couchette nooks, bathroom, and storage rooms are housed within a slatted wood core in the middle of the house. The custom wood wall system surrounding the core allows natural light to penetrate through to the inner spaces of the home by day; at night, light emanates from the wood core and provides a warm, inviting glow in the living areas. The slatted system also allows the whole house to ‘breathe’; comfortable natural ventilation occurs throughout the house, even in the sleeping couchettes and storage closets.
An innovative steel frame structure allows the roof to cantilever dramatically over the open living areas and bedroom.
The structural design for the house relies on 4 steel columns imbedded in the wood core; the roof cantilevers out from these 4 columns. This elegant structural solution uses the minimum amount of materials to achieve expansive, open living areas at both ends of the house. The facade of the house was designed as a thermally robust system of high-performance, triple-paned glass units that vary in width from 10’ to 20’. The entire assembly was prefabricated off-site, shipped to the site in one container, and erected by crane in 2 days.
The home employs several sustainable design strategies including geothermal heating and cooling, radiant floors, motorized solar shading, photovoltaic panels, and rainwater harvesting.
Photos: Paul Warchol
Trübel is a modern residential property that has been designed by L3P Architects, located on a small steep vineyard lot in Dielsdorf, Switzerland. After the removal of border limit clearances only 5 m x 9 m are left over in this small steep lot at the vineyard at Dielsdorf. With a maximum of 83 square meters above-ground level living, this lot has long been considered unbuildable. A classical residential house of 3,132 square feet (291 square meters) with solid outer walls, conventional access staircase and traffic area has no space on this site.
Room and structure are one, resulting from an interdisciplinary collaboration between the architects and building engineer. The sculptured reinforced concrete and steel framework in black-colored exposed concrete is omnipresent: walls, ceilings, floors and even the bookcase are a part of the framework. Floor beddings, sound insulation, flooring, plaster work and paint work that would cover the framework do not appear. The residence is reduced to the elementaries on naked exposed concrete, complemented through diverse handmade furniture and enveloped in a glass mantle.
The subterranean access to the building is through the carport. One enters the building through an up to 5.44 m high entrée. A cellar and house services room are attached to the entrée. A double bedroom with bath is likewise entrenched into the slope. These rooms are provided with light through both a space divided into different heights and a skylight. This double bedroom is sectioned by a middle wall, which like an anchor, builds the static abutment for the main middle wall. Ascending the stairs one comes to the concrete bookcase, which acts as a horizontal bracing for the framework. From here, an ongoing sequence of diverse areas through platforms and levels begins: office 4.6m2; dining 10.5m2; multi-purpose 7.9m2; kitchen 6.7m2; storage 5.2m2; reading corner und guest area 4.8m2; living 15.4m2; bath 7.5m2; dressing 3.8m2 und sleeping including bath 11.4m2.
This work on the vineyard slope copies the logic of a vine: a supporting middle wall, platforms and non-bearing windows follow the structure of the stem, the trunk and the hanging fruit.
Quote Architect Boris Egli:
This work on the vineyard slope copies the logic of a vine: a supporting middle wall, platforms and non-bearing windows follow the structure of the stem, the trunk and the hanging fruit.
Quote Construction Engineer Urs Oberli:
An honest concrete work has been developed with the vine as a model. The central vertical wall as the main supporting element buttresses the building and tapers with the increasing height of the building, corresponding to the load. The offset of the ceilings in the different stories builds ribs, allowing the building to grow in depth and shape the suspension of the leave-like ceilings. The supporting system that is developed from the inside to the outside totally abstains from static elements in the facade.
Quote Landscape Gardener Nils Lüpke:
The surrounding landscape of fields, hedges and fruit trees are pictorially integrated in the composition and are seamlessly guided into the garden. Majestic cherry trees reach with their branches near to the house and take effect in the living room. The house entrée and outdoor sitting area express themselves as precise cuts in the grown terrain. Stepping stones made from left over concrete from the house seem to float over this and reinforce the image in an otherwise abandoned topography.
Quote Light Planner Thomas Schoch:
The dominant structure of the framework is illuminated by LED light lines built into the building’s casing. When one moves from one room to another in the archaic construction the architectural light appears like a contemporary tour of torches. The light lines sitting in the window frames throw a diffuse basic light into the inner core.
Quote Construction Physicist Stephan Huber:
The architectural reduction to the maximum was a challenge for construction physics. Despite low U-values (UG = 0.60 W/m2K, opaque components between 0.14 W/m2K und 0.20 W/m2K) the energy efficiency evidence was only possible through separate structural components. Thus, the overall energy transmittance of the glazing should not be lower than 30% in relation to the summer warmth protection, which with a window surface in relation to the energy reference surface of 140% was a further challenge.
Photos: Vito Stallone
El Mirador House is a beautifully designed home comprised of stone, wood and steel, designed by CC Arquitectos, surrounded by nature and spectacular views in Mexico. The home was designed to respect the land, using locally sourced materials mixed with recycled elements on the exterior of the home to create a visually impressive property. The one bedroom home was designed for relaxed living and entertaining and to allow horses to freely roam the property.
El Mirador serves its purpose by being located on one of the land’s edges, where the emblematic lake of the area can be particularly appreciated. Its projection was based on respecting the forest where the pavilion was placed to the maximum, gripping to its topography and reducing its constructive impact. The materials used are from the region, also, railroad ties from old train tracks where recycled for the exterior of the pavilion.
The structure is a combination of steel and wooden beams, and the retaining walls are made out of stones from the area.
The architectural program is distributed with a family room that connects to the exterior, allowing the expansion of the social area to the main terrace. It has one bedroom with its own private bathroom. The kitchen has a large island in the middle with a countertop made of slate that allows it to also have the use of a dining table and a workspace. The relaxed architectural program and its flexibility in its spaces, reinforces the owner’s strong personality and intense social life. The main access collides with a large body of water that is parallel to a drinking space for horses, while a low wall made of wooden railroad ties discretely hides the area so cars may be parked and appear to be isolated from the construction.
El Mirador is half buried on one of its sides with the purpose of protecting the habitation spaces from the climate where nature, views, and rustic finishes are the main components, seeking as a goal that these characteristics will last through time.
Photos: Rafael Gamo
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