Cottage de Brebeuf is the conversion of a duplex cottage by Atelier BOOM TOWN into a rustic chic home comprised of steel, wood and concrete, located in Brebeuf, Quebec, Canada. The transformation was based on replacing the original structural axes. On the ground floor, bearing walls bordering the existing central circulation are replaced by a structure of beams and raw steel columns, allowing the creation of an open area for living areas (kitchen, living and dining room).
Small openings in the back yard are enlarged to maximum capacity, allowing at the same time easy and smooth access to outdoor space. Wood joists above the ground floor are exposed, increasing the height effect under the ceiling. Technical block housing a small toilet room and various storage is covered with concrete panels.
The wood recovered during the demolition is reused to cover the kitchen island to build shelves and sliding doors. The staircase is at the heart of the ground floor, becoming a characterizing element and allowing arrival at the center of the floor, under a new skylight where bedrooms are easily accessible without suffering a loss of space for traffic.
The upstairs bathroom enjoys a wide window veiled by a frosted glass, diffusing light and providing privacy.
Photos: Angus McRitchie
Casa San Sen was designed as a steel structure floating above the ground by Alejandro Sánchez García Arquitectos, located in the woods in the area of Valle de Bravo, Mexico. Completed in 2008, the 9,256 square foot (860 square meters) residence is covered in wood and glass. The construction system allows us to open and close the envelope depending on views, orientations, etc.
Designed entirely on one level from a circulation that articulates all the spaces in areas that function independently. The house is anchored to the ground by a service tower clad in stone.
Photos: Jaime Navarro Soto
Casa Lomas II project is a contemporary single family home completed in 2013 by Paola Calzada Arquitectos, located in Mexico City, Mexico. The 9,364 square foot (870 square meters) east west orientated home was originally built in 1976, located on the backside of the site, providing privacy from the nearby road. At the same time the house benefits of the site’s natural scenery, as it provides a great view, adequate ventilation, thermal balance and luminosity.
The aim of the renovation of the house is articulating the horizontal and vertical with the exterior in order to ease the flow between the different spaces through courtyards, gardens and terraces. These bonds create crossed views of every room in the house.
The major decision was to remove all unnecessary existing components in order to restore the original volumetric value of the house as well as to enhance the original building materials. The contrast between existing and new materials is a constant theme of the project.
All volumetric additions improve the existing structural values such as lightness, horizontality and openness. Remnants of demolished slabs, terraces and buildings of the original structure were used to create terraces and patios.
There was a constant strive to allow open views onto the surrounding environment. To both, the already existing and those introduced by the new design, like pateos, ponds and gardens. The permeability of the translucent facades plays an important role in the design of the house, as it interweaves interior and exterior spaces in social and private areas.
The first floor, including all public areas and the private second floor are joined by a helicoidal stair and a lobby which accordingly is roofed by a circular dome. All spaces in the house, bedrooms included, have two wide windows from end to end allowing a view that goes beyond the architectural volumes.
Materials: The original structure as well as the added structure is left in its bare state to emphasize the contrast between original concrete and the new steel structure. Avoiding styles and favouring a more pure and timeless canvas, old surfacing materials were removed to show up the original structure in its natural state. Mexican marble (Travertino and Santo Tomás) can be found in almost all spaces of the house, except in the main bathroom where the material has been imported (Minsk and Arabescato.
Photos: Jaime Navarro Soto
Glen Lake Tower is a sustainable retreat completed in 2011 by Balance Associates Architects, located high on a wooded hilltop above a lake in Michigan. The 1,400 square foot house is the result of an inspiring collaboration between architects, clients with a passion for architecture as well as their site, and a skilled local contractor.
Directed to create “a sustainable retreat that reflects the timeless beauty and simple comforts of the area,” the architects responded by raising the primary living space above the dense surrounding woods in order to gain light, air and views of Glen Lake and Lake Michigan beyond. Two fin-like, metal-clad walls rise from the crown of the hill to support a 1400 sf three-story plywood box suspended a full story above grade.
As intricately detailed steel stairs climb the tower, they move from exterior to interior and from more enclosed to more open spaces, culminating in a breathtaking, glass-wrapped kitchen/living/dining space at the fourth level. Here, thirty feet above the ground, the clients enjoy views of the landscape they love, from either the birch-lined interior or expansive cantilevered decks.
Photos: Steve Keating
LA House is a modern single family residence just recently designed by Elías Rizo Arquitectos in collaboration with interior designer Kárima Dipp, located in Mexico. Breaking with the norm established by all the houses in the vicinity, the residence recedes a considerable distance from the setback line, to yield a large open space below the tree canopies, a stark welcome gesture.
The main entry into the complex proceeds to an open passageway that runs along a rough-hewn stone wall and postpones the access into the house an additional number of meters. A glazed box containing a studio protrudes from the building. It hovers above a large pond that can be crossed via a series of stone pavers that rise above the water and lead directly into the public areas of the house. The garage, concealed on the other side of the stone wall, compels cars to park sideways so as to render them invisible from any space in the house.
The entry sequence into the building presents a series of layers, starting with the garden space beyond the setback lines, following through the open corridor past the pond, and crossing through the central courtyard all the way to the living spaces at the back of the main building.
A central courtyard scheme was implemented to introduce natural ventilation into every space of the house without compromising privacy. The corridors around the courtyard on the ground floor are defined by a series of operable windows that allow the kitchen and living spaces to bleed out into the exterior, when the weather allows it.
Expanding on the theme of permeability that dominates the ground floor, similar solutions were implemented throughout the living quarters on the second level, to allow for the private, open spaces. Such is the case with the small, glazed atrium that ventilates the master bathroom and the deeply recessed balconies that yield generous exterior areas to all bedrooms.
Dark gray steel, glass, wood, concrete and stone compose the greater part of the material palette throughout the house, wich is complemented by accents in leather and stainless steel. The master bathroom receives a special treatment as it is covered almost in its entirety with white marble.
Crossing the lawn, beyond the living spaces on the ground floor, a pool and a concrete volume containing an entertainment room overlook a small ravine outside of the property. Below this volume a staggered pathway descends gently to negotiate the changes in topography on a pronounced cliff, leading down to a lower landscape area.
Photos: Marcos García
Blue Ridge Residence is a striking steel and glass home designed by New York City-based studio Voorsanger Architects, located on a 200-acre farm in Charlottesville, Albermarle County, Virginia. read more
Chelsea townhouse is a three story contemporary renovation with a garden extension completed in 2011 by architecture studio Archi-Tectonics, located in Chelsea, New York. The existing 3,400 square foot brownstone townhouse is a New York landmark. The existing structure was gut-renovated and a 550 square foot garden extension was added to two floors and a roof terrace. The client, a fashion designer, was interested in a ‘textured’ and layered approach.
The new rear extension is conceived as a light airy space which creates a filter to the garden space beyond, adding more light and better views. The new garden facade is a 3d folded steel and glass structure with reclaimed tropical palisander infill. It extends the library on the garden level, the living room on the parlor floor and creates a terrace for the master bedroom area above.
The interior of the townhouse is gut-renovated; the top floor is raised, the garden floor is lowered and a completely new wood and glass staircase with a skylight is inserted, lighting the stair space all the way down. Large sets of sliding doors at the living/ entry and bedroom/bathroom areas are creating flexible use of space; these doors are 3d CNC milled with wood and glass patterns.
Photos: Richard Powers
Casa Sierra Leona showcases a daring modern design where steel, concrete and glass take center stage, designed by architect José Juan Rivera Río, located in the residential area of Sierra Leona, on the outskirts of Mexico City, in Lomas de Chapultepec, Mexico
Apparent simplicity and exquisite details, this house is resolved with flat roofs between a courtyard and a garden in which ambiguously intersect interior and exterior facings which stand out clearly the constructive system based on concrete, glass and steel.
This residence was built with the characteristic style of architecture from the years 60´s inspired by modernism. The program includes two levels on the access platform and a basement which is accessed from the bottom of the street, this leading to the parking lot.
Quality materials, clear colors and fleeting reflections on glass are at the service of comfort and design, to gardening camouflages the borders and builds a landscape and atmosphere of privacy.
Photos: Nasser Malek Hernández
Trahan Ranch is a stunning residential modern compound designed by Patrick Tighe Architecture, situated in the heart of hill country in Austin, Texas. The 3200 square foot residence is on a fourteen acre sloped site with native oaks, natural springs and unobstructed views. The layout of the house is a direct response to the site conditions.
The plan is organized to integrate and enhance the many features of the landscape. A panoramic view that spans 260 degrees is experienced as well as other more site specific orientations. The front of the house is made of heavy materials that rise from the earth. The building is nestled into the brow of the hill and have an unassuming appearance when seen from a distance.
The heavy, solid, grounded front is in sharp contrast to the more ephemeral back. At the down slope side of the house, the structure becomes lighter and opens to the landscape. Steel pipe columns splay at unsuspecting angles dancing along the rugged landscape.
The architecture explores a series of counterpoints including heavy and light, front and back, open and closed and contemporary and vernacular. The grounded front is composed of heavy materials rising from the earth in sharp contrast to the more ephemeral back. The structure rises and becomes lighter at the down-slope side of the house as it opens to the landscape. The main house is a contemporary interpretation of Texas Hill Country post-and-beam construction that exploits regional materials and the expertise of local trades-people. The spaces of the main house flow from one to the other without doors while the guest room appendage is a more traditional layout.
The environmentally mindful design includes a hydronically-heated concrete slab on grade. The concrete foundation and walls provide high thermal mass. Large overhangs and covered walkways offer protection from the sun and cross- ventilation is used. Natural materials are used throughout including concrete, steel, stone and metals.
Texas Hill Country limestone was chosen from the site to create the over-sized Rumford fireplace that is central to the living space. An arbor connects building components and functions as an armature for solar photovoltaic panels that provide power for the property. The landscape consists of regional drought- tolerant plants that are native to the area and the local ecosystem.
The steel frame structure is a kit of parts prefabricated in a shop and erected on-site. The steel pieces attach to a series of exposed board-formed reinforced concrete pylons that are a vertical extension of the foundation.
Photos: Art Gray Photography
Prospect House is a result of celebrating a stunning Seattle panorama while accommodating a modest budget and a family with two young children, designed by Janof Architecture. The 5,663 square foot house honors the owner’s desire for a domestic refuge while maximizing the experience of its location.
We began with the domestic, and planted two gabled, bearing-wall “houses” deep into the hillside. These contain rooms requiring enclosure, and they give the house the conventional street facade that the neighborhood deserves. The steel-framed “glass box” occupies the view facade and sews the houses together. These simple parts, simply combined, create complex social and spatial relationships within the house.
The budget required basic construction using off-the-shelf parts. Rigorous but un-precious detailing followed. The greatest technical effort went into the design of the two-story window wall: residential wood windows assembled as a true curtain wall. The 19-foot-high dining room was designed for extraordinary nighttime views of the city.
The kitchen is a warm and functional space that utilizes custom walnut cabinetry, stainless steel, and extra-thick calacatta marble.
The breakfast area adjacent to the kitchen has an eclectic feel and commanding views of the city. The mural was created by the owners specifically for the space.
The delightful powder room of this house gets its charm from custom wallpaper designed by the owners.
The master bedroom has a top-of-the-world view that is made cozy by the inclusion of a fireplace and subtly concealed lighting.
The elegant master bath features callacatta carrera marble and polished nickel fittings.
The home office has a spectacular view; light is further introduced by the small dormer window above the desk.
The energy efficiency of the house was designed around the passive use of its southern orientation, with high-performance glass, cross-ventilating windows, and precisely calculated overhangs making air conditioning unnecessary this summer. The winter sun will bring warmth deep into the house, and the industrial-size fan above the dining room is designed to slowly move air throughout the house.
Sustainability was a constant topic. While the house meets Energy Star rating, much thought went into what sustainability really means. There is no bravura use of natural resources. Structural elements are sized at their calculated minimums. Precious materials were used sparingly, often where they would be touched by the user, and salvaged material was valued for its patina.
Photos: Benjamin Benschneider
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