Village House was designed as a weekend retreat for a young family in northern Sjælland, Denmark, designed by Powerhouse Company. The house is an exploration on the possibilities of the Summer cabin, the traditional Danish vacation home. While keeping the cabin’s footprint small, spatial as well as sustainable, there is a wide range of spatial possibilities, by using a five-fingered floor plan.
The 1,184 square foot (110 square meters) house is a cluster of five wings, like miniature cabins. These fan out like a hand spreading five fingers over the site, generating a variety of views, light effects and outdoor areas. This variation means the house provides an enjoyable environment all year round and at all times of day. For example, a large window above the living room allows sunlight to bathe the dining table at around midday.
Summerhouses are traditionally family spaces, but when children grow older they need more independence from their parents. Hence the ‘village of cabins’ organization, with radiating individual spaces that are united in the centre. Each member of the family effectively has the option of privacy when they need it. Meanwhile a star-shaped central space, uniting the living room and kitchen, forms the shared area which nevertheless offers pockets of seclusion to spend time alone while still in the family circle. This solution faithfully reflects the rather different desires of the family members. One wanted a picturesque, cozy and archetypal summerhouse, while another wanted a spacious and contemporary feeling. Both desires are united in the design.
In basing Village House on the classic Danish summerhouse, while adding modern ideas of space, Powerhouse Company has created a contemporary harmony. The elementary wooden structure has a pitched roof, and it is black, the most discreet color in nature, like the dark shadows in the surrounding woods. Inside, the uniform white surface maximizes the northern light.
The rustic but modern solution is low maintenance, which is more important for a holiday home than offering lots of space. From an architectural point of view, its close relationship to the context is especially significant in a holiday home. The house contrasts with the routine home of the clients, and provides the basis for a separate lifestyle. Isn’t that what we are looking for when we go on holiday?
Nestled in the cliff-top estate “The Cove at Pezula Estate” outside Knysna, on the west coast of South Africa, this home was designed by SAOTA Architects. The residence was integrated into the topography and natural color of the fynbos, maintaining a seamless connection with landscape and ocean. The contemporary interiors of this incredible family home was designed by Antoni Associates, featuring sea views from large expanses of windows to the East and South.
The idea was to create a living space with a single roof element floating over it that responded to the slope of the site. The roof is set at a high level so that it is hidden from the living space, creating the illusion that one is surrounded by the landscape. A triangular cut-out in the roof connects one with the sky. A solar analysis was done to eliminate direct sun from the building. A skylight hangs into the space to mitigate the scale of the double volume. Care was taken in selecting performance-glass that would minimize the impact of direct sun.
The choice of materials, off-shutter concrete, Rheinzink roofing, timber cladding, stone and exposed aggregate, allows the building to fade into the landscape as the materials age. One enters at the upper level of the double volume, looking towards the ocean. A grand stair draws one onto the living level which holds the kitchen, dining room and living room.
A spiral stair connects the living level to a private lounge and the master bedroom on a mezzanine level. This spiral staircase drops through the floor to a lower level which houses a guest bedroom, home theatre and a living room. An L-shaped wing houses the two children’s bedrooms.
In-keeping with a sustainable design approach, a huge underground cistern was created under the garden terrace to harvest rainwater, while a heat pump and water-based under floor heating system conserve energy.
Photos: Micky Hoyle Courtesy of VISI
Dutch Mountain home is a spacious single family home designed by architecture studio denieuwegeneratie, situated on a historical agricultural plot amidst hayfields and woods in a nature reserve in Huizen, The Netherlands. Although the plot has been overrun with small trees in time, it still bears the original character of the open field. To minimize disturbance of the landscape and as a reference to the surrounding hilly terrain, the 7,631 square foot (709 square meters) house is embedded in an artificial hill. At the same time, this answered the client’s demand for keeping his ecological footprint with the house to a minimum. The embedding in the hill simultaneously functions as camouflage and as a blanket, hiding the house from view from the north side and using the earth as thermal insulation. One enters the house through cuts in the mountain, sided with panels of slowly corroding scrap steel.
On the south side, the house has been opened to a maximum. The grand glass facade is framed in timber,which guides the transition from the artificial to the natural. The canopy regulates sunshine through the seasons and allows for a large terrace along the full width of the house. The terrace follows the split level of the ground floor, jumps up to the higher west facade creating a henhouse underneath. Finally, it curls back up to become the canopy.
The frame is constructed out of lark wood, forested from the immediate surroundings and therefore making it a hyperlocal use of material. Detailing creates a seamless transition between the interior and the exterior: the concrete floor, window frames and terrace finishing are all flush and continuous from inside to outside.
The spatial structure of the house is a rectangular 12 x 19 meter open space. Steel cross the entire 12 meter width allowing great flexibility to the interior arrangement. Inside the hall-like space, the rooms are stacked in a disorderly manner and built out of light wooden structures, facilitating easy implementation of possible future changes. The interior can evolve along with its inhabitants, a young family, rooms being added or removed through time.
There is a binary spatial experience in the house. Either you are in a room, with a cave-like atmosphere, daylight coming to you through deep cuts in the mountain – or you are in the large open space in front of the stacked rooms. This large space is oriented towards the 90 m2 glass facade which offers a spectacular view of the surrounding woods.
The contrast between shell and rooms is clearly visible. The concrete wall, needed to retain the mass of the mountain, is left unfinished. The welding joints of the steel spans are visible and the wood is untreated. Within this rough shell of untreated construction materials, the stack of rooms tells a completely different story: every room is finished by the inhabitants in a unique and colorful way, which expresses the individuality of the boxes.
The design is an experiment in sustainable strategies in both architecture – the hardware – and the technical installations – the software – which have been designed by Arup Amsterdam. The software concept consists of photovoltaics, LED lighting, wood pellet heating in combination with low temperature heating, CO2 monitored ventilation, a grey water circuit and the use of smart domotics. The result is a house in which the total amount of energy produced exceeds its consumption: excess energy can be used for a electric car.
The house is bold and unpredictable: an experiment in sustainable strategies in concept, structure, material and technical installations. A house that blends quietly in its surroundings, but stands out with spatial surprises.
Downley House is a large new country house designed by BPR Architects in the South Downs coastal range of Petersfield, England. The client called for a tranquil yet playful place, full of natural texture, contrasts, and indigenous materials. BPR created an entrance sequence which commences in a circular stone entrance court, extends along a pergola into an inner court bounded by a ruined wall and through the house to a roof terrace where a stair bridges into the landscape.
The house is divided into a family wing and a guest wing linked by a barrel vaulted dining hall centered on the ruin entrance. The barrel vaulted hall opens at each end onto courtyards which receive sun in the morning and evening. The form of the dining hall is like a foudre wine barrel and reflects the clients love of wine. The circular glazed stair ascends to the roof terrace.
Downley House is constructed of timber elements prefabricated in Swizerland and erected over a two month period. The family and guest wings are constructed of cross-laminated timber (CLT) panels and the barrel vault is made of a CLT timber shell and glue lam ribs. The low-embodied energy of the construction, the efficient envelope, ground source heat pump and heat recovery system create a highly sustainable and energy efficient building.
Photos: Nick Kane
We just received information about M-22 House, a modern residence designed by Michael Fitzhugh Architect that is nestled along the top of a tall ridge overlooking West Grand Traverse Bay in Northern Michigan. This incredible dwelling has been designed with its own hydroelectric power generation, among many other wonderful green features.
From the architect: The design of the house recreates the sense of discovery felt while ascending the back of the ridge to the views revealed once at the top. The materials and spaces were inspired by the elements; water, wind, earth and fire. From each room the materials, light and a strong connection to the site is felt. The house also boasts an innovative geothermal heating and cooling systems along with its own hydroelectric power generator which uses rainwater, geothermal water and gravity to generate power for the house. A mix of concrete, steel, composite siding and large glass openings complement the clean form of the house’s exterior.
This is a truly unique structure and is a model for future sustainable design and construction methods.
Photos: Courtesy of Michael Fitzhugh Architect
Lodgepole Retreat is a Rocky Mountain, Colorado getaway designed by Arch11, taking its simple form as a modern response to simple mining structures of the area. The single roof plane efficiently manages the snowfall at 9000’ above sea level while serving as a platform for the 10kw photovoltaic system that, along with an electric boiler, an air to air heat exchanger, and LED lighting, allows this 2,200 square foot house to operate at net zero energy use each year. An open-plan, glass-enclosed great room gives the sense of living in the out of doors while each private space offers carefully-framed views of specific parts of the alpine setting. All construction assemblies and materials are designed to meet the strictest fire-resistant codes.
What started as an intimate 2 bedroom, 1-1/2 bath cabin for a Colorado couple and their grown children, grew to 3 bedrooms and 3 baths when they began to consider space for their grandchildren. The couple had owned the property for years-spending weekends there as their two children grew from toddlers to teens. A 1960’s-era stone cabin sufficed, until the pair decided they wanted something more enduring. Having previously seen an Arch11-designed house, the couple decided they wanted a contemporary cabin. The homeowner’s wish was for unobstructed views of the majestic Rocky Mountains that surround the site. The pristine setting includes a 30 acre meadow and high alpine forests, which suggested for a design solution that should be as light on the land as possible. So light, that the owners wanted to get as close to net- zero as possible and be nearly maintenance free as well.
The living plane is elevated above the ground on a poured-in place concrete pedestal to heighten the experience of floating above the meadow. Floor to ceiling glass offers occupants an almost cinematic experience of the diurnal rhythm of the earth.
Sustainable features: Energy model was net-zero energy use, High performance, triple-pane glazing 10 kw solar array, Solar thermal system, Electric boiler with ceramic storage for radiant heat system, Natural ventilation, Large overhangs for shading, Concrete with fly-ash content, FSC-certified lumber, Formaldehyde free cabinets, Energy Star appliances, LED lighting.
Photos: Raul Garcia
Granite outcrops, steep slopes and spectacular views define the form of the Sunshine Canyon House in Boulder, Colorado designed by Renée Del Gaudio Architecture, completed in 2012. Two linear volumes are stacked and crossed, reaching out to mountain views to the south, and city lights to the east. Sliding barn doors and a gabled roof tap into the forms and materials of nearby historic barns. Colorado’s vernacular style combines with the clean lines of modernism.
The 2,600 square foot building is responsive and adaptive to its environment. It addresses the topography, wind and light patterns, and the movement of the sun. Rolling barn door shutters close down the house from the cold and wind at night and open it up to the views and sun of the day. A 3.6kW solar array produces 100% of the home’s electric needs. An open floor plan allows daylight and breezes to naturally filter through all sides of the three bedroom, three bathroom home.
Exposed beams, rusted steel cladding, and industrial-size barn doors visually link the home to the community’s rural roots, but principally serve to create a fire- resistant, maintenance-free structure. Corten steel complements the landscape as it ages with a weathered, natural patina. The 2010 forest fires above Boulder, Colorado ravaged this property and burned down a cherished wood cabin. In the cabin’s place is now a smart, spirited house that connects to the past and looks towards the future.
Photos: Dana Miller
This decaying mid century modern home in Berkeley Hills, California home was remodeled and restored by YamaMar Design. Built in the 1960s of redwood siding and concrete block, the home was weathered and rotting, with a black, decayed pond in the courtyard. It was dark and dingy and falling apart. The homeowner, Derek Holley, lived in faraway place such as Berlin, Tuscany and Manila (where he made a fortune in the call center business) and wished for a place for his family to call home. The owners split their residency between an apartment in Siena, Italy and the US and wanted their home to reflect true California living. Despite the obvious cosmetic challenges, the 2,700 square foot home was structurally sound. It had a wonderful open floor plan and the interior was filled with old-growth redwood shelving and paneling that could be repurposed in the remodel. The home boasted uninterrupted views of the Bay Area and Golden Gate Bridge from two levels, the main living level and the bedroom level below.
Living lightly on the land was very important to the Holley family, who are both active outdoor types that have few possessions and low carbon footprints, they wished for simplicity. They wished to reuse as much of the house as possible, a home that reflected sustainability and style. A mix of modern minimalism and earthy and warm. The renovation includes a voluntary seismic upgrade, envelope and energy efficiency upgrades, and enhanced daylight and panoramic views. A new landscaped entry courtyard creates a wind sheltered entertaining space and garden. Interior plan changes include a new en-suite master bath, and expanded stairwell as well as a home gym and bicycle storage for Derek who is an avid bicyclist. NanaWall doors spanning the width of the house allow seamless flow from inside to out, and railings are designed to be visually quite. A restored redwood wall anchors the design and creates a new heart for the lightened interior.
Photos: Bruce Damonte
Nestled on a knoll top within an expansive West Marin ranch, this California compound designed by architects Turnbull Griffin Haesloop creates a gathering place for an extended family. The cluster of buildings shapes a courtyard that frames a view back to Mount Tamalpais. The courtyard shields the strong winds and creates a warm sunny spot for the plunge pool and hot tub. Inside the main house, a large living /dining /kitchen space allows sixteen people to gather. Bedrooms and bunkrooms let them sleep over. The house is filled with inviting spots to read or play games. The house is designed to be net zero with a remote photovoltaic array providing power. Many sustainable features are designed into the house such as high R-value insulation, reclaimed wood floors, and zoned radiant heat with passive cooling. A rainwater capture system is used for toilet flushing. The house is Western red cedar with a corrugated zinc roof. Stainless steel sunshades protect the windows from solar heat gain. Jeannie Fraise of Lotus Bleu was the designer of the furnishings. The landscape architects, the SWA Group, were responsible for extensive site restoration and native project plantings.
Photos: David Wakely
Chalk Hill Off-Grid Cabin is a straw-bale getaway home for a San Francisco couple and their two active boys, located at 4,300 feet elevation in the wilds of Nevada County. Designed by Arkin Tilt Architects, the 872 square foot residence mediates the northern edge of a forest glade, with driveway access and entry against a steeper slope to the north. The entry/mudroom, bath and mechanical space are located in the wood-framed, wood-sheathed piece. One open living/dining/kitchen/bed room is half a level lower, accessing a terrace at grade, opening to the glade and sun from the south. One sleeping space is located in an open loft above the kitchen which provides additional sleeping space for kids and guests, and the other is a more intimate queen bed sized sleeping bay along the opposite edge of the living room.
The metal roofs, earth-cement on bale walls, and fire safe perimeter aim to survive a wildfire,
Solar hot water collectors provide domestic hot water as well as space heating by flowing the heated fluid first through a heat exchanger and then into tubing buried in a 3 foot bed of sand beneath the floor slabs.
Queen-sized sleeping area in bay.
P.V. Panels on the roof harvest electricity, stored in batteries at the house, powering the well pump and other domestic needs.
One sleeping space is located in an open loft above the kitchen.
Photos: Eric Millette Photography