Sunset Strip showcases bright open spaces, contemporary design and ample natural light, the vision of McClean Design located in Los Angeles, California. The house is approached by means of a gated driveway and guard house. Passing through the gate a landscaped hedge leads to the drive court which is centrally located between the house, garage, and guest house. The garage sits in a spot that enjoys spectacular views of the surrounding canyons so we designed it to be glazed on both sides. All three buildings are connected by a water feature that leads the eye to a swimming pool and spa at both ends.
The main house is approached along the water feature by means of a short stair which leads to the front hallway, glazed and open on three sides with room for a significant art piece on the focal wall. The entry leads to a stairwell where a beautiful chrome and stone stair ascends to the upper level bedrooms. Directly ahead is the living room, doors open to the right where the dining room is located overlooking the water feature. To the rear, tall suede door lead to the library/ informal media room where pocketing doors access a private landscaped garden. An interesting feature of this room is that the same film is projected on both sides of the drop down screen allowing people to circle around and watch from both inside and out.
The main living room is two stories tall and enjoys spectacular views of the Los Angeles Basin and the ocean beyond. The room incorporates a bar and glazed wine cellar as well as an elongated see through fire place that is visible from the family room on the other side.
The combined kitchen and family room has a more intimate feeling than the living room and appears to float over the water feature. From here it is possible to look back along the water past the garage all the way to the guest house and beyond. This room also enjoys wonderful views of the city below and leads directly to the back yard, covered dining area and expansive elevated terrace below the infinity pool. This terrace is designed for entertaining large groups and incorporates an extended fire feature and comfortable seating. This level of the house is completed by services spaces and an office for the owner.
Below the main level are two large bedroom suites each with their own outdoor area. Across the lower courtyard is the gym and wellness center. Located directly below the garage it incorporates sliding walls of glass to make the most of the mild climate. The upper level of the house contains the master as well as two additional bedrooms. At the top of the stairs there is a gallery space that looks into the living room below and out to the water feature. The master bedroom itself has his and her bathrooms complete with large closet areas. The sliding panels of glass surrounding the bed and sitting area open automatically to the deck which reveals the best view of the house enjoyed by this room. The other two bedrooms are expansive and have their own walk in closets and separate baths.
Across the drive court from the main house a separate and independent guest house contains two bedrooms, living, dining and kitchen and its own services spaces. The palette of materials is designed to be warm and contemporary. We have made extensive use of polished stone and added wood elements for warmth. All kitchens and bathrooms in corporate Italian furniture and fixtures, windows and doors are bronzed aluminum. The house is located in one of Los Angeles most famed neighborhoods, only minutes from Sunset Strip yet still enjoying a piece and serenity made possible by the surrounding nature.
Photos: Courtesy of McClean Design
Casa Pedro is a modern family home that blurs the boundaries between indoors and out, designed by VDV ARQ, located in a gated community in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The medium scale residence is nestled on an 800 square meters plot, responding to the requirements of an active social life, flexible spaces and visual amplitude, emphasizing privacy.
The project is organized in two levels, under a rectangular pattern that develops around the joint of different courtyards, each of them with a particular character. This sequence of perforations allows the entry of natural light and air in every room of the house, while it makes the interior space becomes an extension of the outdoor space.
The main entrance of the house is generated by the terrain elevation. Towards the street, the wooden skin acts as a barrier between public and private, generating a multipurpose partially covered space which, together with an open space, fully integrated with the garden, generates one unique single space. This large courtyard, which also houses the swimming pool, is the architectural heat of the project that spatially structures it, setting the difference between the service area on one side and the living area on the other, and being the scene that all the main rooms look at.
On the upper level, an unique volume holds three bedrooms and an open office. This box is opened to the north looking on the central courtyard of the house, while the rest of the facades are closed and without openings to the south, The skin that protects the north facade is a system of mobile wooden blinds that, when it’s closed, filters the light to indoor spaces, giving shade and privacy to the rooms.
Photos: Curro Palacios Taberner
Montrose Residence is the demolition of an existing home into a beautiful double volume structure by SAOTA architects, situated high on the ridge of Bishopscourt in Cape Town, South Africa. The site was divided by the existing driveway, which rose steeply from the end of the cul-de-sac below. The new building’s form, perched as it is in a commanding position, was perceived from the outset to be a pavilion overlooking the lawns and the forested valley below.
The clients’ brief had a few specific requirements; orientation towards the Constantia Valley and distant False Bay, and the dramatic views up the mountains above Kirstenbosch were essential, as was the emphasis on developing the site to maximize the garden and lawn area. Following the brief the driveway was relocated to the southern boundary of the site to allow this and open up the lawns and the gardens towards the sun and mountain views. There are panoramic vistas towards the south and west from the bedrooms and living rooms; while the pool and terraces are located on the north-east side, in a courtyard protected from the Southeaster gales by the intersecting linear forms of the house.
The triangular shape of the site, and its elevation above the street and steep incline, required extensive excavation and retaining, in order to provide a driveway of acceptable gradient, and extensive building platform on one level, and garden terraces all round.
The double-winged roof, floating above the bedroom wing, and virtually glass box-enclosed living rooms, are the main architectural features. These are complemented by secondary architectural elements such as the cantilevered end of the main entrance feature wall, the floating stone-clad fireplace, continuous perimeter cantilever terraces to the bedrooms and the wrap-around cantilever eyebrow.
Finishes include: polished granite floors, no carpets, no curtains and the floating feature roof with clerestory lighting. The clients’ preference was towards a slick modernist environment with a definitive northern European flair. The imported light grey granite floor slabs set the tone for a color palette of cool greys rather than natural browns, a refreshing change from prevailing trends.
The dual living areas on the ground and first floors are linked by a double volume and are wrapped in glass which takes advantage of the views.
Photos: Wieland Gleich
The House of the Infinite has been erected as if it were a jetty facing out to sea, designed by Alberto Campo Baeza, located alongside the Atlantic Ocean in Cádiz, Spain. Cádiz is a marvelous place, like a piece of earthly paradise, where the architects have built an infinite plane facing the infinite sea, the most radical house the architects have ever made. At the very edge of the waters of the Atlantic Ocean, where the sea unites the new and the old continent, emerges a stone platform. At the place where all the ships from the Mediterranean used to pass and still pass by as they head off into the Atlantic.
The 9,687 square foot (900 square meters) house is a podium crowned by an upper horizontal plane. On this resoundingly horizontal plane, bare and denuded, we face out to the distant horizon traced by the sea where the sun goes down. A horizontal plane on high built in stone, Roman travertine, as if it were sand, an infinite plane facing the infinite sea. Nothing more and nothing less.
To materialize this elevated horizontal plane, which is the main living room of the house, we built a large box with 20 meters of frontage and 36 meters deep. And under those first 12 meters we excavated two floors in the solid rock to develop the whole living space.
The Romans were there a handful of centuries ago. Bolonia, the ruins of the Roman fishing factories where they produced garum and built temples to their gods, is just a stone’s throw away. In their honor we have built our house, like an acropolis in stone, in roman travertine.
To give even greater force to the platform we incorporated all the terrain as far back as the entrance wall separating us from the street, also done in Roman travertine. Once inside the wall, the entrance to the house will be via a “trench” in the form of stairs dug into the upper surface of the platform.
A Greek poet said that this is a true temenos, a meeting-place, where according to mythology, humans and gods come together.
On the denuded stone platform, three walls surround us and protect us from the prevailing strong winds. Sometimes it is as if someone had opened the bag containing the winds of Aeolus. The same winds that drove on the vessel in which Ulysses made his journey home.
There is a lovely etching by Rembrandt from 1655, “Christ Presented before the People”, that has always fascinated me. In it, Rembrandt sketches a straight horizontal line. Perfectly straight and perfectly horizontal. It is the border of the powerful dais, the podium upon which the scene takes place. There, as Mies did so often, he has made the plane into a line. I am certain that Rembrandt and Mies would like our podium house, all podium, only podium. As would Adalberto Libera, who did the same thing when he built his Malaparte House in Capri. And we like it too. And when we look at our house from the beach, we will be reminded of all of them.
We wanted this house to be capable not only of making time stand still, but to remain in the minds and hearts of humankind.The house of the infinite.
Photos: Javier Callejas Sevilla
Model Concept 1
Model Concept 2
Colunata House is a sleek and modern designed single level property completed in 2011 by Portuguese architect Mario Martins, located in Lagos, in the south of Portugal. The design configuration of the residence was aimed at making the most of its location, by offering staggering panoramic views. Its curving shape permitted extensive openings towards a centrally located swimming pool and the sea beyond.
Designing the house with its unique location facing the sea, was defined by a set of guidelines, namely:
– The creation of a contemporary architectural element;
– Respect for and connection with the surrounding area, natural and built upon;
– The use of local materials and building techniques;
– Deciding the solar orientation and having effective wind protection;
– Making the most of the excellent location and its panoramic views;
– Creating a gentle interior/exterior transition. So that the exterior is a pleasant space for living and leisure.
These guidelines result in a set of white volumes, free and organically grouped, culminating in a semi-circular opening, which embraces the pool and opens out to the privileged sea view. This results in the central terrace, the main space of the house, where the privacy is felt and where the horizon is predominant.
It is around this terrace that the functional organization of the house is structured, on one floor. There are five bedrooms with bathrooms and a large living room which leads to the kitchen. The garage, technical and service areas ensure the smooth running of the house.
The house is all in white. It is a southern house, and as such the light is intense. It is this light, with its strong, distinct shadows, that gives colour and meaning to the white that covers the building. The strong presence of water and the landscaping surrounding the area accentuate the tranquility of the place.
San Lorenzo Residence represents two interlocking L-shaped forms to organize the house, designed by Mike Jacobs Architecture, located at the end of a canyon road in Los Angeles, California. The house responds to and engages its surrounding landscapes: an interior private garden to the south and the manicured fairways of a golf course to the north.
Following a careful zoning study, two interlocking “L-shaped” formally organize the house: the first “L-shape”, an open and transparent enclosure and veranda (steel/glass), incorporates the communal living spaces of garden, pool, living rooms and theater; the second “L-shape,” an opaque enclosure (stucco/cedar), holds the basic form of the house and incorporates the private bedrooms and service spaces.
A large open living space is central to the organization of the house. Pocket sliding doors open the south wall to the garden and north facing windows unfold to view the fairways create direct connections to the exterior. These large openings passively cool the house and draw fresh air deep into the residual spaces to naturally ventilate the home.
Social exchange is expressed by section. An elongated formal stair links the terraced living spaces to the exterior and connects to the theater below. A pair of secondary flanking stairs provide access from the residual private rooms and service areas. These multiple points-of-entry produce a constant interchange between the family unit.
Photos: Michael Wells
Jellyfish House is a four story property showcasing a cantilevered rooftop pool that has been designed by Wiel Arets Architects, located in Marbella, on the Mediterranean coast of Spain. The home’s neighboring buildings block its view onto the nearby sea, so appropriately it was chosen to cantilever the house’s pool from its roof, so that the beach and sea can always be seen while sunbathing or swimming. The 6,996 square foot (650 square meters) house is organized around two paths of circulation: a ‘fast’ and ‘slow’ set of stairs, which intertwine and traverse the house’s four levels of living.
The ‘fast’ stair leads from the exterior directly to the roof; it is enclosed in glass, which physically separates it from the house’s interior, yet it is simultaneously open to the exterior elements, so that sand is not brought into the house when returning from the beach. The ‘slow’ stair whose long treads and short risers lend it its name spans the entire length of the house, from ground floor main entry to roof; it is indoors yet also open to the exterior elements, further amplifying the house’s capacity for ‘interiority’.
The house’s rooftop pool is cantilevered 9 m southwest toward the Sierra Blanca mountain range in the distance–and weighs nearly 60,000 kg. Equipped with an infinity edge, its water merges with the sea in the distance. This pool has a glass-bottom floor and a panoramic window at its interior facing edge, both of which are 6 cm thick; the latter allows those in the kitchen to voyeuristically view those swimming, while a third window affords those in the kitchen a glimpse of the living room, whose terrace extends under the cantilevered pool.
The searing Spanish sun constantly filters through the pool’s glass wall and floor, creating ripples of iridescent turquoise reflections throughout the entire house. As such, the pool can be seen and experienced from nearly all areas of the house. Integrated within the pool is an underwater bench, which traces its length and also integrates a pool cover, so that it is out of sight when the pool is in use.
Five bedrooms are located throughout the house, with two guest bedrooms situated on the basement level that face outward and onto an extensive private terrace for the exclusive use of guests. As the ‘slow’ stair leads from the main entry to the guest bedrooms below, this area of the house is able to function as a separate entity. The kitchen is strung along the southern facade of the house’s first floor, with all secondary appliances built-into an adjacent and perpendicular hallway.
The house’s structure is composed of poured in place white-concrete, supported by one column at the right-rear edge of its pool, and several smaller columns near the rear-dining terrace. All non concrete walls were constructed with glazing, which allows sunlight to permeate the house. Multiple bedroom closets, whose obverse faces the ground floor hallway, are finished in translucent glazing to compound this sunlight diffusing strategy.
Oversized and accordion like folding panels of translucent glazing adjoin each dining or entertaining space, which, when opened, essentially expands the house’s numerous areas of living by nearly doubling their size.
The first floor is also the location of the sauna and steam bath. A small service elevator also allows, for instance, food and drink to be brought from the kitchen, or any other floor, up to the rooftop pool and terrace. This roof terrace features an oversized and custom designed concrete table with an adjoining bench, which is contiguous to an angular chair for reclining while sunbathing.
All of the house’s audio video equipment such as its countless Bose speakers are recessed into its ceilings and walls, which allows them to disappear within their context little noticed. Lighting illuminates all corridors and staircases, as well as underwater within the pool, ensuring the rippling effects of its reflections that shimmer through its glass floor and wall can also be experienced throughout the house at night.
Taking full advantage of the ever present Spanish sun, the Jellyfish House is an avant-garde expression of luxurious living; as most of its façades can be opened, and as its staircases are mainly outdoor, the house’s ever shifting boundaries between inside and outside are curiously blurred.
Photos: Jan Bitter
The Mirage House is a single level cavernous residence embedded into the hillside covered by an infinity rooftop pool, designed by Kois Associated Architects, located on the Greek island of Tinos. Designed to integrate into the steep sloped rocky terrain that makes up the island’s south-west coastline, the house was conceived as “an invisible oasis hidden from the unsuspected eyes” where residents can enjoy panoramic views overlooking the Aegean Sea. The rimless pool creates a visual effect of water extending to the horizon and merging the dwelling with the seascape. Additional materials are taken directly from the local landscape, so as to match the existing context.
The site offers protection from the prevailing winds and a natural plateau which from the beginning was identified as the optimal location for the residence as it would minimize the impact to the landscape due to excavation. It is a single-level structure and has a surface of 2,131 square feet (198 square meters). The location allows benefiting from wonderful and panoramic views of the landscape and seascape. Our approach to the program was Doric. Only the essential features and programmatic elements to sustain a comfortable stay were incorporated in the design.
Our goal was to integrate the building into the landscape like it was part of it.The living space is covered by a rimless pool that produces a visual effect of the water extending to the horizon, vanishing and merging with the seascape. From a distance especially if viewed from the path of approach, on a higher ground, the only visible feature of the house is the sea like surface of the pool. The water during the day reflects the surroundings and during the night, the star filled night sky. The mirroring pool of water carefully positioned on the landscape evokes memories of the optical phenomenon of the mirage from which the project was named.
The most of the visible construction materials were extracted from the vicinity and were used to make the house disappear into the scenery. Local techniques were also borrowed like the characteristic dry wall construction found in abundance in the island. This technique was implemented with minor modifications; on the side embankment walls in each side of the pool volume. The local materials have a low impact on the environment and they are very efficient as insulating materials. The rear walls are made of retained earth and have layers of vegetation that regulates the temperature and cools the environment through evaporation. The pool acting as roof provides thermal insulation and protection from solar radiation and heat transmittance.
We wanted to make a house fused with its surroundings, an invisible oasis hidden from the unsuspected eyes. The house is acts almost like an observation post as it clings to the rocks and oversees the dramatic cascading landscape. A landscape left almost intact due to the implemented design strategy and the careful selection of materials.
The team decided to bury part of the building in the landscape and then create a large open-air living room in front. These will all be sheltered beneath the rooftop pool, which will act as a huge mirror to help the building camouflage with its surroundings. Dry stone walls will surround sections of the interior and also frame the building’s entrance. These are designed to reference the traditional walls that can be spotted all over the scenic island landscape.
Photos: Courtesy of Kois Associated Architects
POD Boutique Hotel is a luxurious hotel subtly promoting discretion and elegance, completed in 2009 by Greg Wright Architects, located in Cape Town, South Africa. POD is more than a luxury boutique hotel. It’s a declaration of love for fine living, fine design, and unforgettable experiences. Conceived of as a discreet and super-stylish location and getaway on the Camps Bay strip, this project is set to become the destination of choice for those “in the know”.
A unique palette of granite, slate, African timber and glass has been brought together in elegant simplicity in an attempt to make rooms and relaxation spaces desirable to those who appreciate stylish accommodation backed up by discreet, luxurious service.Add to that the fact that all that makes Camps Bay the international destination of choice, this project is set to redefine the boutique accommodation business in Cape Town and set the benchmark for those going forward.
15 bedrooms and suites provide ultimate comfort and privacy, evoking a feeling of sanctuary and serene relaxation.
Water Mill Houses is a family retreat comprised of a main house, pool house, guesthouse, bunkhouse, and garage, designed by 1100 Architect, located in Water Mill, New York. The compound is distributed across fifteen acres of wooded land with the main, or “glass,” house standing on the highest peak of the property, allowing for an unobstructed view of the surrounding landscape and shoreline from the roof terrace. It functions as a sophisticated tree house, with a shielded bottom floor for sleeping and an open, transparent second floor for living. Set in separate corners of the property, both the glass-walled guesthouse and the pool house echo the main house’s underlying principle: open to light, hidden by trees. The bunkhouse, the latest addition to the complex, is a multi-use space that acts as a study and fitness area, as well as a second guesthouse.
The living spaces on the top floor are enclosed by glass walls that enable light and air to penetrate while a screen of trees provides privacy. In contrast, the facade of the first floor, which contains the more private spaces of the house, filters light and views through heavyweight fiberglass-screened panels.
The glass-plank floor of the internal court on the third floor doubles as a skylight for the space below.
Rugged materials – cast concrete and steel – are combined with teak planks and insect screening (for a sun shade canopy) to create a durable yet warm family environment.
The guesthouse in this residential compound was designed on the premise that well-detailed architecture can be created from the thoughtful use of off-the-shelf building products. Here, a basic aluminum storefront system was deployed to achieve a work of sublime simplicity and elegance at low cost.
As a couple became a family of four, the owners found that the original guesthouse with only a single bedroom could not accommodate their growing number of visitors. The bunkhouse, as its name indicates, is primarily a place for guests to bunk, or sleep. The house consists of three bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a kitchen – the forest and nearby pool act as its living room.
A straightforward material palette of poured concrete, glass and wood was employed, creating continuity between the bunkhouse and the rest of the complex.
The bunkhouse echoes the landscape in its horizontality and respects it in its subtle form and placement. The bottom of its two stories is partially submerged in the sloping, forested terrain while the cantilevered upper story appears to be floating amidst the surrounding flora.
Photos: Peter Aaron / OTTO