Villa Kra is a luxury dream vacation showcasing luxurious rooms in a beachfront villa, surrounded by beautiful tropical surroundings in Koh Samui, Thailand. Nestling on a hillside, the villa has taken a unique location on one of Thailands most beautiful islands. As you gaze out over the sea, the nearby islands, the tropical gardens and the incredibly beautiful pool, you realize that paradise exists.
Just seven minutes away lies Koh Samuis vibrant centre, Bophut, with its trendy bars, quaint shops and bustling markets. And as if that were not enough, the international airport is a mere fifteen minutes away. In short: Largo Villa Kra is a dream destination.
To stay at this fabulous retreat, rates run from $593 – $942 per night or $4,155 – $6,594 per week, from here.
This four-bedroom villa has everything necessary to melt stress away in an instant. In this modern design, the boundaries between inside and outside are blurred, making this a perfect getaway for groups of friends or successful family holidays. The stunning infinity pool is both refreshing and eye-catching. A small shallow childrens pool in the shade makes the outdoor area ideal for small children. A third pool with pool bar is the perfect setting for enjoying the stunning sunset on Koh Samui. In the stylish Chill Lounge you can enjoy a drink and each others company, while the eating area by the pool is a dream place to start your day with a delicious breakfast. At the end of a sublime day, you can go out onto the Moon Terrace. The wonderful Thai night sky conjures up a firework display that makes Las Vegas seem half-hearted.
The interior of Largo Villa Kra is likewise a joy to behold. Four bedrooms are tastefully decorated, and each has a private bathroom. The master bedroom comes complete with a relaxation pool on the terrace. Almost anything is possible in this little fragment of heaven on earth: you only have to ask. By request the chef will be delighted to make the finest local dishes, but even French cuisine is on the menu if you so desire. Yoga, massage, Pilates the range of relaxation options is endless.
Photos: Courtesy of Largo Villas
This stunning weekend house was designed by architecture studio SPBR, as a retreat in the city centered around a pool, garden and solarium, located in São Paulo, Brazil. Completed in 2013, this 1,969 square foot (183 square meters) modern property features a rooftop swimming pool to capture the heat of the sun, gardens to soften the hardscape and a solarium to avoid the shade from the closely-packed neighboring residences.
Dug into the air – a swimming pool in Sao Paulo. Clouds, drizzle, rain, snow or hail, in all its physical states water is related to sky. However, if we are requested to think about a [swimming] pool, our imagination automatically starts to dig into the ground. Seas, lakes, and ponds explain the reason we react in that direction: essentially, a pool feels like a piece of a lake. It makes sense, the image corresponds to the word, water that rests smoothly on the ground. Water defines the surface.
But if I mention a specific type of pool, a water tank or a water tower, we first imagine an elevated volume of water, a pool detached from the ground level. In this case, hydrostatic pressure is a requirement to fulfill pipes, to supply water. Water level holds a potential possibility.
While walking on the ground,we could ask: where is the surface? In the specific sense of the word, surface has no layers or thickness. However, if one walks in a city like São Paulo [or New York], the ground level does not correspond to the surface anymore. There are some pieces of the ground that haven’t been touched by the sunlight for decades since buildings have permanently shaded them.
In this specific site, the neighborhood’s average height is defined by the zoning code: 6 m high. No side setbacks are required. The east neighbor building shades our site the entire morning until noon, when the west neighbor building starts to shade it for the whole afternoon. Therefore, if there is a pool to be built, exposed to the sunlight the whole day, it is crucial to define its surface: six meters above the ground level.
The assumption here is like to swim in a water tower and to enjoy that potential as a design possibility. One more water ‘state’ related to the sky of São Paulo.
A WEEKEND HOUSE IN THE CITY
São Paulo is a metropolis of 20 million people. It is approximately one hour from the coast. Because of severe traffic jams, its inhabitants spend hours commuting every day. On weekends, especially in the summer, hundreds of thousands drive to the beach causing jams on the roads as well.
In order to avoid being stuck in traffic during weekends, we received an unexpected but rather logical demand as a counterflow action: a weekend house in downtown São Paulo.
As an anti-FAR [floor area ratio] approach, a swimming pool, a solarium and a garden are the main elements of this project. In a properly inverted hierarchy, everything else on this program is complementary: a bedroom, a small apartment for a caretaker, and a space to cook and receive friends.
The site is very central, between an arterial avenue, Avenida Faria Lima, and a metropolitan infrastructural axis [road and railway] built on the Pinheiros river shore. Also, the site is exactly under the airport conical zone, meaning all flights coming from Rio de Janeiro fly over the site about each 7 minutes.
Pool and solarium were displayed as parallel volumes. Two columns were located in the 1 m wide gap between them. The 12 m span is faced on one side by beams supporting the pool and on the other by beams that support the solarium and also hang the floor underneath. Structurally, the mass of the pool counterweights the volume which holds inhabited spaces. In other words, water is balanced by the beach.
The ground level was kept free from any construction in order to achieve the maximum garden area ratio. As a result there are three different layers or three levels for three different moods: ground level [garden – introspective or encompassed by the site limits], apartment level [the only indoor space floating above the ground and underneath the pool], and rooftop [swimming pool and solarium, an extroverted or panoramic space].
This building and its program differs from the focus of traditional architectural projects in two ways: the metropolis becomes a possible place to stay and enjoy during the weekends and elements generally considered secondary in a big house become fundamental components.
Photos: Nelson Kon
Herzelia Pituah House 3 is a minimalistic structure designed as a single family residence by Tel Aviv based studio Pitsou Kedem Architect, located in the beachfront district of Herzliya Pituah, Israel. The main idea behind the design was to work on a rectangular grid where all the functions merge into it, even the parking structure that is usually a small and separate structure at the front of the 4,036 square foot residence. The architect created a clean rectangular mass with vertical and horizontal openings breaking into it that allow for movement within them and the entry of natural light.
The front of the house has three levels completely impervious to the street with two courtyards on the right and on the left and excavated to the level of the basement floor, allow for the entry of light and air into the lower level. Thus, a situation is created where the pathway leading to the entrance is a bridge suspended over one of the excavated courtyards.
Once inside, the almost monastic impermeability of the frontal facade is converted with impressive openness that invites you into a well lit open space where the entire long facade of the home kisses a swimming pool set against the entire length of a massive glass wall. The open space rises to a height of six meters with a sky light the full length of the ceiling that empowers the drama of the space.
The entire ground floor is a public space that contains a long kitchen painted a glossy black that reflects the swimming pool opposite, a spacious salon that opens into the rear courtyard and designed with careful minimalism and a dining table. The entire public area has the appearance of a modern and spacious loft.
The bedrooms are situated on the second floor with the communal space connecting them, looks over the swimming pool. In the basement, that appears as an island floating between the two excavated courtyards, can be found games rooms and a movie room.
The central motives of the architectural design: a clean configuration, moderation in materials and subdued colors find an expression in this project. The sparsity of materials and the reuse of materials such grey limestone that covers the entire external facade of the house and one of the internal walls, imparts a feeling of concrete minimalism, Corian that the architect used in the design of the sinks and partitions in all the bathrooms, and black basalt that covers the walls of those same rooms.
By using the same elements, the architect is attempting to make the spaces meditative in their feel and attraction and that blend with the architecture of the structure, one complete and unified mass.
Photos: Amit Geron
Hudson Woods is a unique collection of locally sourced dwellings designed by Lang Architecture, located in the Hudson River Valley, Kerhonkson, New York. Developed, designed and built by the architecture team, Hudson Woods offers modern, sustainable design at exceptional value to buyers. This project is scheduled for completion in 2016.
100 miles from New York City, 26 modern, refined and energy efficient homes on large lots are nestled into the forests and meadows of the 131-acre site. With an emphasis on responsible land use, including active forest management and on-site agriculture, Hudson Woods aims to nurture and protect the extraordinary natural beauty of the region. With a diverse offering of options, including a wood-burning stove, outdoor cooking, greenhouse, tree house and more, residents can assemble their own vision of a retreat into nature.
Humble and private upon approach, the simple vernacular house form fits sensitively into the topography of each site. Once inside, expansive views to the surrounding landscape are framed through custom mahogany windows. The interior is modern and warm, with an abundance of local white oak surfaces and details. Throughout the home, craft is on display from solid wood doors with sand cast bronze hardware to custom freestanding kitchen island and pantry units produced in collaboration with local craftsmen.
Photos: Courtesy of Lang Architecture
Black is back in the latest house to be completed by Luigi Rosselli Architects. This new house, built for a young family on a battle axe block overlooking Bronte, acts as a big balcony built to browse the beach.
The cooperative effort of project architect Corrado Palleschi, interior designer Alexandra Donohoe and the client has seen a graphic palette of black and white tones carried to great effect throughout the house.
Nowhere is the result of this bold application seen more clearly than in the main stairwell where the dark timber treads and handrail seem to float in light.
Australian based, this practice has a humanist approach to architecture and design, not eager to win awards, but always to instil good design and humane architecture that develops affinities, creating sympathetic buildings that flow and appeal. Working from the top floor of a converted Sydney warehouse, they are a team of architects and interior designers under the guidance of Luigi Rosselli and his three decades of international experience in Milano, Switzerland, New York and Sydney. Renowned for their houses, residential architecture, adaptive re-use and heritage designs, the studio has worked on a very wide range of projects: from offices to factories, from libraries to wineries, from childcare to chapels.
Photos: Justin Alexander
Tresarca Residence is a sensational modern designed family home that was the creative vision of assemblageSTUDIO, located in Las Vegas, Nevada. Nevada is a state of two worlds, one of glitz and glamor on the Las Vegas Strip which seeks to transplant imagery from around the globe to mesmerize the minds of 40 million tourists. While the latter develops its architecture from local materials, whose vernacular represents function over form.
At Tresarca, the materials develop a layering of mass as you move from the basement to the private realm. Each layer is representational of the stratification of the nearby Red Rock Mountains. Change of materials provides the variety of textures associated with the rock formations. Crevices between the masses form an oasis where landscape and water cool the space. The mesh screen provides both a protection from the harsh sun on the interior spaces and a play of shadows among the forms.
Blurring of the line between inside and out has been established throughout this home. Space is not determined by the enclosure but through the idea of space extending past perceived barriers into an expanded form of living indoors and out. Even in this harsh environment, one is able to enjoy this concept through the development of exterior courts which are designed to shade and protect. Reminiscent of the crevices found in our rock formations where one often finds an oasis of life in this environment.
The residence is comprised of 4 Bedrooms, 4 Bathrooms, 3 Powder Rooms, Great Room, Office, Gym, Entertaining Room, Media Room, Wine Room, Family Room, 5 Car Garage, Roof Deck, 4 Exterior Courtyards and a Pool.
The materials are kept clean and to a minimum. Continuous from exterior to interior they enable the life of the family to be what is cherished. It is with their activities that the design becomes a home.
The entry sequence begins with a formal drought tolerant landscape designed for seasonal change with signature object trees spread throughout the front yard. Upon passage through the secure entry gate one encounters the first court. Shaded by the structure above, the court is able to employ a new landscape variety, more lush than the entry. The landscape contributes to the cooling of the space.
The actual “front door” is through a small crevice in the main mass. Marked by the floor to ceiling glass wall which highlights the main staircase, the door is encountered by following the change in paving material.
Photos: Bill Timmerman, Zack Hussain
Casa MT is a modern renovation project centered around the extension of an existing detached house by architect Rocco Borromini, located in Traona, Italy. The lot on which the intervention was, nestled in the mountains of Valtellina Rhaetian, is bordered to the east by the bed of a small stream, bordered to the north and west with the typical terraced vineyards to the south and enjoys a view of the valley and Orobian. The existing building, from traditional architectural composition, is placed in the frieze at the creek.
The intervention of extension consists of two parts. The first, used as a bedroom and bathroom, spread over 60 square meters on two levels, is located upstream of the existing house, and it takes the shape. Regarding the finishing of the interior of this area you have chosen to use an ash termocotto wall and a light marble lightly brushed to the floor and the shower.
The second part, with a surface indicative of 2,152 square feet (200 square meters), is used as a kitchen, pantry, bathroom, dining and living area with a swimming pool and is characterized by a play of volumes floors, fully clad in natural stone, for the most part covered with vegetation and open to the valley through two large windows.
The design idea arises from the need to relate to the pre-existence, from the choice of what dematerialize as possible the volumes causing them to become an integral part of the context, as a result of a major excavation in rock we proceeded to restore the original section terraced making them they themselves of the terraces.
For the flooring of the kitchen, bathroom and to the lining of the pool you chose to use an absolute black granite, sandblasted and brushed while the flooring in the living area and the area adjacent to the pool was used ash termocotto, this’ last choice to leave a strong interconnection between interior and exterior.
Also in this context it was decided to pay particular attention to alignment between interior and exterior through windows completely collected on all four sides, with sections of very thin profiles despite important light.
Photos: Marcello Mariana
Gubbins House is a contemporary property designed by Antonio Zaninovic Architecture Studio in collaboration with Rees Roberts & Partners, located at the base of Table Mountain in Cape Town, South Africa. The project won a 2010 Honor Award from the American Society and Landscape Architects for its many sustainable features and its incredible local flora garden.
Surrounded by protected natural parklands on three sides, the house was built on an exceptional plot at the base of Table Mountain with sweeping views down to the city and harbor below. The site lies alongside a ravine, where amid the dense vegetation a stream flows in an uninterrupted path from the mountain parks above all the way to the city dams below.
Tucked in against the mountain, the structure was designed to integrate as much as possible with its surrounding landscape. An excavated courtyard gives access to the house, ensuring total privacy from the street and an adjacent neighbor and also protecting its inhabitants from the strong southern winds. This tranquil space complete with a pond and sculptural indigenous trees leads to the six-meter-high foyer tower which articulates the different elements of the house that continue out from that central focal point.
From there, the sleeping quarters branch off to the west and hover over the ravine and trees. The more public entertaining spaces extend towards the north, and by cantilevering these spaces over the garden and swimming pool below, views afforded to the forest, city, and ocean below were maximized. Towards the south, the kitchen and service rooms enjoy the protection of the mountainside from the fierce natural elements.
In terms of energy and functional programming, the foyer is the central location for various processes that keep the house running efficiently. A reflective pond filled with borehole water flows from the interiors to the outside; in turn, breezes travel over the water back inside through low windows, helping to cool the house in the summer. Once outside, the pond continues into a waterfall, which becomes a filter for the natural swimming pool below as well as a seamless water wall for the sauna room behind. The foyer’s roof also houses the solar components that provide under-floor water heating during the winter months, in addition to hot water year round.
While the house was designed to employ cross-ventilation, temperature control is also achieved through the inclusion of semi-excavated rooms in the built house, which allow the stable temperatures of the earth to act as a climactic moderator. Heat-repelling glass and appropriate cantilevers to the north combined with highly insulated glass to the south keep heat in or out, depending on the season. Notably, the house was built with locally produced materials to maximize constructive potential by utilizing the craftsmanship and techniques native to the region.
The landscape draws on the context of the site by continuing the Fynbos, a natural heathland vegetation native to a small belt of the Western Cape, down from Table Mountain and through the garden landscape, effectively marrying it with the surrounding mountains. Garden pathways and steps meander through the varied planting areas, creating a seamless connection between interior and garden rooms. An outdoor seating area is nestled in the plantings away from the mountain winds, yet has dynamic views of the Cape Town Harbor below. In addition to the waterfall, the natural swimming pool also uses plantings to filter the water, giving the experience of swimming in a crystal clear lake. Ultimately, the landscape is designed to fully integrate the built house with its natural surrounding environment.
The design strategy for the interiors also takes cues from the surrounding site. Rich carpets and fabrics are juxtaposed against hard concrete floors and other simple surfaces. Modern furniture with clean lines is employed along with more sculptural pieces and artwork that add character and vitality to the interior mood. The simple color palette of the house gives a bright and airy feeling that defers to the views outside. The outdoors is also actively engaged, as in the case of the Master Bedroom and its free form plan that extends toward an open air screening space. Despite its carefully planned and richly treated interiors, the house retains a comfortable and relaxed style that draws upon recognizably native elements such as local wood paneled walls and pieces by local artists.
Hillside House is a contemporary single family property designed by GASS Architecture Studios, situated on the slopes of the Helderberg Mountains in Stellenbosch, South Africa. The residence is simultaneously arresting and juxtaposed as it fits flawlessly into its surroundings, nestled between rolling vineyards, a koppie (small granite hill) and a river below
You approach the house up a steep driveway meandering through the vineyards. The driveway and the forecourt are a modern interpretation of a traditional farmhouse. This is characterized overall by the planning of the house’s location but also more specifically by the gravel driveway, expansive forecourt, drive-in open garaging reminiscent of a barn and water feature evocative of an animal’s drinking trough. This modern drinking trough is then fed by a modernist architectural waterspout from the roof of the house.
These farmhouse characteristics are not just visual either. Other senses are also stimulated: your scent is stimulated by the smells of the farmlands and rural surrounding as is your auditory sense when you hear the gravel beneath the car’s tires.
There is a genuine sense of arrival every time you visit Hillside. Access to the front door is gained from a double-sided staircase from left or right of the gravel arrivals courtyard. This short stairway is a nod to the Colonial influence of traditional Cape vernacular typical to architecture seen in the Cape (many buildings in and around Cape Town like The Castle of Good Hope, the City Hall and Tokai Manor House, for example, boast this kind of double-sided arrival staircase).
As visitor – and homeowner – you are fully aware of the amazing setting but on arriving within the farm yard style forecourt the scale of the house changes from a 3-story to a double volume dwelling – so you don’t really get a sense of all the floors and levels. Beyond this point it is by no means farmhouse, well not in the traditional sense of the word anyway.
Before walking up the steps to the solid timber double front doors you also have the choice of going downstairs to the guest suites (that are currently being used by the home owner’s older children when they’re not at university).
A repetitive architectural feature of the house is the many stacked granite stone walls. Most of the stones for these have been harvested from the site. The front door is also situated within one of these granite feature walls. Before entering the house one has no idea what to expect on the other side – it’s a kind of tardis with unexpected treasures beyond! As you walk through the threshold you are immediately greeted by a giant picture window showcasing the inner courtyard around which the home is designed and the koppie (small granite hill) to the rear of the house. The koppie (small granite hill), as with the rest of the garden, boasts local fynbos and indigenous flora and a kitchen garden to the side.
From the home owners:
We wanted a home that merged the inside and the outside and that gave us beautiful changing visual cameos wherever you looked. Our architect managed to masterfully capture our need for simplicity, nature and a very serene ambiance that is then offset by our somewhat mad and effusive large family.
Photos: Kate Del Fante Scott