A House in the Woods is a certified LEED Silver house designed by William Reue Architecture, located on a densely forested lot at the base of the Shawangunk Mountains, New York. Nestled on 8.5 acres, the 4,800 square foot residence is the result of the studied relationship between two opposing geometries – a long sculptural wall clad in weathering steel and a mass of stratified bluestone that appears to have emerged from the boulder-strewn earth. Locally-sourced materials and strategic siting stitch the house into the natural world while contributing to its sustainability for the modern one.
The design for A House in the Woods was grounded in the owner’s desire to build an artful home that responded to her values of order, beauty, and environmental stewardship. The structure’s uncomplicated geometry is enriched by the boldness of its materials, resulting in a balanced composition that is both sensuous and refined. The house is a personal refuge that takes its design cues from the colors and textures of the natural landscape.
The site boundary is defined by a series of Norway spruces, the singular element guiding visitors to the secluded entrance. The curved Cor-Ten wall is heroic, yet pragmatically justified as it carves a modest entry court that amplifies the sound of the stream running parallel to the house. The wall also operates as a spine that organizes the interior spaces into a series of cinematic portals to the landscape. The character of the minimalist interior is profoundly impacted by the changes of the wooded site from season to season.
The high performance thermal envelope consists of 14 inch thick Structural Insulated Panels and quadruple-pane windows constructed with FSC-certified wood. The house employs a direct-exchange geothermal heating system, energy recovery ventilator (ERV), rainwater harvesting system, and many other sustainable building technologies. With a HERS Index of 44, A House in the Woods is over 55% more energy efficient than a typical new home. The project was certified LEED-Silver in February 2013.
Photos: Steve Freihon
Limantos Residence is a contemporary glass and steel dwelling designed by architect Fernanda Marques in the upscale neighborhood of Cidade Jardim (Garden City) in the West Zone of São Paulo, Brazil. The single family residence consists of 8,826 square feet (820 square meters) of living space, spread out over three levels on a steep 8,395 square foot (780 square meters) plot. The house is comprised of 13 rooms: living, dining, kitchen, mezzanine, kids’ playroom, three bedroom suites, powder room, two staff suites, plus laundry and garage. The family engaged Fernanda Marques to create a home – both the architecture and interior are by Marques – that functions well as an everyday residence for the active family, but also lends itself to frequent entertaining. Marques achieved a beautiful balance between maximum transparency and privacy, and managed to insert the building into a challenging plot while preserving the existing trees. Using glass, steel, and concrete, Marques created a timeless house in the spirit of Mies van der Rohe who was the architect’s inspiration for this project.
Photos: Fernando Guerra
House in Kitakamakura is a unique modern house comprised of glass, steel and concrete, designed by Suppose Design Office, situated in Kamakura, Kanagawa, Japan. The residence was built on an uneven site in the outskirts of Kita Kamakura. The architects devised a plan to create an appealing living space by building directly over the uneven land. From an architectural standpoint, with an upper and lower level, the influence of the footing and other aspects caused too many uncertainties in the support of the retaining wall. So the architects proposed to set concrete shafts slightly away from the wall and create a steel frame between the shafts in order to insure the safety of the living space and the site at the same time.
This also helps to keep the excavation which accompanies construction work on uneven sites to a minimum. In addition, the space between the two levels which is created by the shafts and the retaining wall can be used as a garden. Many kinds of natural spaces can be created, such as a Japanese Garden, Bath Terrace, or Green Garden. The concrete will create a quiet, enclosed space, while an open space is created by the steel framework. Through these — two structural forms you can feel connected to the surrounding nature in this wonderful living space.
With just a few techniques we can overturn the stereotypes associated with this type of site. What was once viewed- as a site with poor building conditions can be changed into land with great possibilities. Rather than looking at the negative side, we would like to continue searching for these possibilities by accepting all — that these sites have to offer.
Photos: Toshiyuki Yano from Nacasa&Partners Inc.
The Locomotive Ranch Trailer has been designed by Andrew Hinman Architecture situated along the Nueces River in Uvalde, Texas. The home consists of an all steel open deck that supports a 360 square foot, one bedroom vintage 1950s 40-foot trailer and a 200 square foot sleeping loft and concrete tower as well as two full bathrooms. The steel structure has a deck that cantilevers about 30 feet out over a river with a structural depth of only 16 inches, on concrete piers anchored 25 feet into the ground.. The concrete tower houses a restroom at the lower level and a viewing deck at the upper level.
From the architects, “One of the client’s cherished possessions is a vintage streamlined aluminum house (not travel) trailer, and he wanted to relocate the trailer to the family’s favorite spot on their South Texas ranch overlooking the Nueces River. Given the fragile geology and the flash-flood prone nature of the riverside location, the trailer’s foundation and protection required special considerations. The resulting solution is a steel-framed, metal-roofed cradle, right at home amongst the existing rain barns and ranch equipment sheds. The cradle lifts the trailer above the flood plain and provides accessory components, sweeping river views, and safe access to the fishing/swimming hole. The cradle is anchored by a concrete blockhouse containing utilities, storage, and bathroom and topped by a screened sleeping loft. Rainwater harvesting is SOP in South Texas. The trailer interior is refurbished with bamboo panels. Interior lighting is provided by LED cove & mini-spots. The Ipe and Douglas Fir decking is FSC certified.”
The structure itself — built by Boothe General Contracting — is almost completely composed of steel tubes that were all welded together onsite. Hinman calls the structure surrounding the trailer a “Swiss Army knife. The whole project is an accessory to the trailer.” The redwood hot tub was salvaged by the homeowner.
Many people think the porch is encased by glass, but the material is actually fine fabric mesh screens from Phifer.
The trailer isn’t enclosed in the screened porch, but rather attached by a gasket connection method.
A sliding barn door leads to a fully air-conditioned bathroom wrapped in oiled ipe wood. The homeowner had a mesquite wardrobe that he re-purposed as the vanity.
The mirror can slide over the porthole window for privacy. The lights are recycled shop lamps.
The metal roof reflects sunshine, while the Douglas fir ceiling helps insulate the home from radiating heat, as well as acts as a sound buffer during rainstorms.
The trailer was also renovated by gutting its moldy pine interior and adding bamboo walls, ceilings and floors, and expanding the bedroom. LED can lights replaced original 1954 glass-reflector lights. The original refrigerator was too old and too loud to be recycled. Sub-Zero freezer drawers were installed in its place. Formica countertops and retro diner chairs nod to the 1950s era of the trailer.
Hinman removed the trailer’s shower to expand the bedroom, which holds a queen-size bed.
The homeowner’s teenage boys love using the tree-house-recalling sleeping loft at the top of the tower.
Photos: Courtesy of Andrew Hinman Architecture
The Bridge House is comprised of 1,184 square feet of living space, suspended above a creek in Adelaide, Australia, designed by Max Pritchard Architect. The clients requested a permanent home with an office on their small property, which would “touch the earth lightly.” An idyllic site, a bend in the winter creek that divides the property, creates a billabong (a deep waterhole) bounded by a high rocky bank. A house was required that would allow appreciation of the site without spoiling its beauty, but at a budget comparable with a “prefabricated” dwelling or an “off the plan” developers design.
The design solution is a narrow bridge like structure spanning the creek with glazing on either side which provides the experience of living amongst the trees in an almost untouched beautiful setting. Winter sun through the north facing windows heats the black concrete floor for reradiaiton at night. A wood combustion heater supplements the natural passive heating. Double glazing to the living area helps retain the heat. Perforated steel louvres shade the north windows in summer. The narrow plan form allows cross ventilation and is combined with ceiling fans to provide sufficient cooling for summer comfort. Solar hot water heating and photovoltaic cells positioned on the garage roof compliment the sustainable character of the house.
Beet Residence is a modern single family home nestled in Seattle, Washington designed by Chadbourne + Doss Architects. Built on an existing foundation, the design uses Corten steel clad walls to bracket two floors with views through the house from front to back. The owners love art, cooking, gardening, and rusted steel and wanted the house to celebrate those things. The interior walls are meant to provide space for a growing art collection.
A TV is hung from an overhead track allowing it to be positioned and rotated for viewing from the kitchen, dining or living spaces.
Built on an existing foundation, the Beet Residence uses Corten steel clad walls to bracket two floors with views through the house from front to back.
The upper floor has a linear skylight over a double height space to illuminate the art wall.
Two bedrooms, a shared bath, and a laundry room occupy the upper floor. The guardrail provides library shelving.
Materials are left natural and meant to be the background to art and life, such as the hand rubbed graphite casework and doors.
The owners commissioned artist Chris Buening to create a custom wall mural that will evolve and change over time.
The rear elevation extends the interior into the landscaped backyard with a stained cedar terraced deck and concrete steps.
Photos: Benjamin Benschneider
Joyce & Jeroen house renovation was an overhaul of a traditional townhouse in The Hague, Netherlands by Dutch studio Personal Architecture. The dilapidated state has necessitated a thorough reinforcement of the foundation and load-bearing structure of the entire house, opening up extraordinary possibilities in an otherwise commonplace apartment renovation. The combination of ambitious design visions and a large measure of trust from the client have resulted in a rigorous and uncompromising redesign, in which voids and split levels accentuate the full height of Den Haag’s typical row houses.
They added mezzanine floors, a glass elevation, a triple-height kitchen and a spiral staircase. Whilst the front half of the house retains its original facade and layout, the architects removed the brickwork garden elevation and replaced it with a steel framework and full-height glass wall, generating an optimal source of daylight. The interplay of voids, the split-levels and the glass facade, all create a spectacular drama between interior and exterior on the one hand, and between the existing and new floors on the other.
The intervention in the back of the house can be interpreted as a three-dimensional, L-shaped element of five storeys, accessed by a new steel spiral staircase. The staircase brings a new dynamic between the different parts of the house and makes a separation between owners and guests possible. Vertically, the L-shaped element ends in a roof-terrace with jacuzzi and outer kitchen that lies far above the balconies of the lower floors.
Small sets of steps connect the four mezzanine levels with the three existing floors of the house, while the original staircases provide a link between floors at the front of the house.
Above the kitchen, a translucent polycarbonate wall lets light into the master bedroom though a walk-in wardrobe positioned at its back.
A wire-fence balustrade creates a balcony on the second floor, so residents can look down from an office to the kitchen below.
Four new mezzanines overlook the kitchen from the side of the house, providing a new bathroom, library and pantry that feature untreated pine walls and floors. A steel staircase spirals up between the levels and leads up to a rooftop terrace and hot tub.
The architects cut away sections of the first and second floors, creating a triple-height kitchen filled with natural light.
Photos: René de Wit
Wolfe Residence was designed by Ehrlich Architects for an African art dealer/collector and big game hunter and his family in West Los Angeles, California. The 3,400 square foot sustainable residence is a rusting Cor-ten steel barn showcasing the owner’s ever-changing collection of African art and furniture, taking full advantage of Southern California’s benign climate. The Owner and the Architect share a deep love of, and a long history with Africa where the Architect lived for six years and the Owner continues to visit and engage local artists every year. Their shared connection with this continent was an instrumental influence on the architecture, landscape, and interiors.
The corrugated Cor-ten steel roof wraps continuously around the roof to the walls to the ground, showcasing the naturally weathering material. Oversized sliding glass doors open the steel structure up on two sides (sliding into wall pockets), transforming the house into an airy pavilion. The owner’s collection of African art is displayed on the large white walls of the main living area.
The 13 foot high, white walls of the main living space display eclectic African treasures from many regions. A zebra print carpet covers the stairs leading to the upper floor and mezzanine, past a skylit moosehead hanging on the stairwell wall, continuing the African wilderness theme present throughout the house. The upstairs master bedroom suite features a balcony overlooking the backyard pool and a “his and hers” walk in closet that were customized to expresses the Hunter and the Hunted which the Owners religiously dress as. Sustainable landscaping is achieved with extensive zero-scape, native plants and bark and sand ground cover. African hardwood stools mix with found and recycled artifacts, and a basketball hoop.
Photos: Grant Mudford
This striking, one-of-a-kind architectural masterpiece is one of the most unique villas in Los Angeles, California. Designed by David Lawrence Gray Architects, Sunset Plaza Mansion sits on a privately gated half-acre plus promontory overlooking the Hollywood Hills. Part contemporary palace, part concrete fortress, this 10,369 square foot fantasy villa is unlike anything else in the neighborhood. The home belongs to DJ and producer Val Kolton, and has been coined the “King of the Hill” and has also been referred to as “The Fortress”. Inside the elements of steel, glass and concrete have been masterfully incorporated throughout the mansion.
The home boasts floor-to-ceiling walls of glass that captures 270-degree jet liner city views from downtown to the Pacific Ocean. A glass staircase escorts you over the voluminous, 60′ grand entry and into the lavish master bedroom suite, richly appointed with burl wood details and an opulent dual master bathroom. Additional features include a professional stainless steel kitchen designed by the Porsche Design Group, five bedrooms in the main villa, and two more in the detached gate house (which also has its own living room), a large screening room with a full-sized bar, billiards table, motor court, gym, Koi pond, motor court and a private outdoor swimming pool with a 12-person spa. Stunning any time of the day or night, The Fortress is truly an unparalleled architectural trophy.
This incredible mansion can be rented with prices starting at $3,500/per night, from here.
Perched on a hilltop in a suburban neighborhood of Bellevue, Washington, DeForest Architects designed this ground-up remodel to take full advantage of light and views while maintaining privacy from close-in neighbors. Transplants from Scotland by way of the east coast, these empty nesters loved the location of their home and its great views… but not the wasted space and dark awkward rooms. They boldly chose to downsize their existing home, making it friendlier for simplifying life and welcoming family from near and far. Timeless materials like oak, walnut, glass and steel combine with modern details to frame simple volumes filled with natural light.
Photos: © Benjamin Benschneider