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
The Madison Park House is the latest custom-spec house to be designed and built by architecture firm First Lamp, located in Seattle, Washington. Situated on an existing steep slope lot in the Madison Park neighborhood of Seattle the house grows out of the hillside and allows the main living space to float out amongst the trees. This 3,200 square foot, five bedroom house will be an energy star certified residence and is targeted to be 4-star built green.
Daunting and stubborn while also inspiring, the site was our true client . A handful of landslides had occurred here in past years, so this tucked-away location had been ignored or avoided until recently. After a series of site visits with our “ground team” (engineers, excavator, and foundation subcontractors), we came to understand two things: 1) That development here would actually increase the stability of the site and 2) It would therefore be an asset to the surrounding landscape and community.
During the design process we often used a tree as a metaphor for our design goals:
1.Sensitively Integrate Structure with Landscape and topography
2.Stabilize the hillside with a deep root system
3.Reduce storm water impact to the site and its surroundings.
In many ways, the design response to these goals is very literal. 54 Pin piles, 5 helical anchors, and 110 yards of concrete support the structure and retain the hillside. These are consolidated to the smallest feasible footprint, allowing the topography to surround and envelop the trunk of the house. The main living space is cantilevered from this base much the same way the branches of a tree reach for the sun. The siding is almost 100% cedar, charred to more closely reflect the deep ambient color under a grove of mature trees. The house is topped with almost 2000 square feet of living roof which acts as a filter, a sponge, and an aesthetic amenity for the residents.
Photos: Courtesy of First Lamp
Chalet Lac Champlain is a stunning cottage retreat designed by Atelier BOOM TOWN, located on the shores of Lake Champlain, a few meters from the US border, in the heart of Phillipsburg Bird Sanctuary, Quebec, Canada. The land consists of two plates separated by a steep cliff of more than 10 meters and a gently sloping lake access, a rare privilege in this sector. It offers a magnificent view to the west on this huge lake.
The three-storey cottage is part of the landscape in the manner of an observation post of the surrounding nature. Vertical circulation in the cottage overlooks both the cliff on which the building is almost lean, and on the lake, thinly veiled by trees with long trunks lining the shore. These parts are widely fenestrated.
Two large terraces on the upper levels of the south side, allowing occupants to inhabit the landscape and continue its contemplation. These terraces are fragmented volumes of the chalet already separated by slight shifts between the southern, northern and central (where the staircase is located). These sets of volume are also underlined by variations in color or set of wooden facade cladding.
Photos: Angus McRitchie
Wolf Creek Ranch is a modern day log home designed by Shubin + Donaldson Architects, located on 160 acres of working sheep ranch outside the Wasatch National Forest, in Woodland, Utah. The 8,600 square foot residence sits at 7,800 feet altitude with a 180 degree view towards Mt. Timpanogos. This region of forest is plagued by the bark beetle and millions of acres of standing dead trees contribute to unhealthy and dangerous forest conditions.
This house makes use of these dead trees in a cross laminated timber (CLT), solid wood thermal mass structure. Lumber is harvested from the ranch, cleaned and cut on CNC machines by a local timber mill, shop assembled into building panels and shipped to the site ready for install. From dead tree to standing structure is less than a 50 mile round trip.
Development guidelines call for traditional ranch architecture. The plan is separated into three of these basic forms: a sleeping wing, a living wing, and a parking wing. Each wing is turned to respond to arrival, site, and view, with the main living space, envisioned as an enclosed connective porch between wings; skewed off axis slightly to connect a direct line for sight to the peak of Mt. Timpanogos.
The rough traditional exterior materials, of which the exterior siding is reclaimed from the old Salt Lake trestles, become refined interior finishes of the same basic palette, steel, wood, and stone, but with a contemporary bias. The interior side of the solid wood walls and roofs are left exposed as an expression of the structural and thermal mass concepts, and its tag as the modern day log home.
Photos: Alan Blakely Photography
Nestled in the cliff-top estate “The Cove” in Pezula, Knysna, South Africa, Cove 3 House was designed by SAOTA and Antoni Associates to be integrated into the topography and natural color of the fynbos, maintaining a seamless connection with landscape and ocean. “The brief was to create a home for a Johannesburg based family that could eventually be used as a family home but would initially be used for holidays. The site enjoys spectacular views and it was important that the connection to these views was maximized,” says Greg Truen, Project Partner.
The site is in The Cove development at Pezula Estate outside Knysna. It enjoys fantastic sea views to the East and to the South. The approach is from the North West and there are houses that overlook the property from the East and the North. The site slopes from the North West to the South East.
The primary idea driving the design was to create a single living space with a single roof element floating over it that responded to the slope of the site. The roof is set at a sufficiently high level so that it is out of one’s line of sight from the living space, creating the illusion that one is sitting in the landscape rather than in a room looking out into a landscape. A large triangular cut-out in the roof reinforces a connection with the sky.
A very detailed solar analysis was done of the building to try and get direct sun (other than the rising East sun) out of the building. As a result, a mid-level horizontal sunscreen was added to the double height glass facade and the skylight is protected by a timber screen that hangs into the space to mitigate the scale of the double volume space. Care was also taken in selecting performance-glass that would minimize the impact of direct sun.
The building is approached from the North West at the top of the site. This elevation is low and horizontal. The choice of materials, off-shutter concrete, Rheinzink roofing, timber cladding, stone and exposed aggregate will allow the building to fade into the landscape as it ages. The building is orientated towards the view; one enters at the upper level of the double volume looking towards the ocean. The contrast with the external approach is very powerful. A grand stair pulls on onto the living level which holds the kitchen, dining room and living room. To the right the landscaping is pulled into the building, blurring the distinction between the inside and the outside.
A spiral stair connects the living level to a private lounge and the master bedroom on a mezzanine level. This stair was conceived as a sculptural element in the large volume to again mitigate the scale of this space. This spiral drops through the floor to a lower level which houses a guest bedroom, a home theater and a living room.
An L-shaped extension to the South West houses the two children’s bedrooms. The bedrooms have curved curtain tracks that create very intimate sleeping spaces at night which contrast with the very open daytime character. Water is a critical issue in this part of the world and a huge underground cistern was created under the garden terrace to harvest rainwater to minimize the houses’ reliance on the municipal water system. A heat pump and water based under floor heating system uses less energy than would ordinarily be required for a house of this magnitude. The concept behind the landscaping was to reinstate the fynbos and let the building float over this restored surface.
“The interiors are uncluttered and reflect the easy living requirements of the clients. Spaces are sparse, and have been furnished minimalistically which emphasize the strong architectural lines and volume of the architecture. The furniture is modern, and a number of bespoke pieces were sourced from the designer’s retail outlet OKHA. A neutral palette of ivory, stone and shell complement the natural architectural timber and concrete finishes selected throughout,” says Mark Rielly of ANTONI ASSOCIATES.
Photos: Micky Hoyle COURTESY OF VISI
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
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
Redux House has been designed by Marcio Kogan’s Studio MK27, located in the countryside of São Paulo, Brazil, in a gated community called Quinta da Baroneza. The open land, on a downwards slope terrain and with a west facing view, is on the edge of a large environmental preservation area of a native forest, aspects which determined the implantation as well as the residence’s architectural parti.
The house was built on the highest level possible, respecting the existing topography in order to could gain the view of the sunset and the vegetation with the least impact on the surroundings. The project is composed of a slab floor, 4 programmatic boxes and a slab ceiling. Externally to the slab of the floor there appears a great concrete volume, pool and deck, which is projected along the decline of the site and terminates floating through a
small although striking span.
The slab of the floor, at 50cm above the ground is supported by beams set back, intensifying the delicate shape in which the projected was implanted onto the land. Visually, the house seems to float. The program was divided into four programmatic blocks. The first block contains the intimate area (4 bedrooms and sauna), the second only has the master suite. On the third we have the services area (kitchen, laundry room, sitting room, bathrooms and maids rooms). Finally, in the last block we have the garage and the technical area.
The distribution of the blocks in the slab floor created interstitial spaces, configuring circulation, terraces and the large space for the living room. This latter, enveloped by a skin of glass with sliding panels open and create a dialogue between the internal and external (native forest and the west). The slab of the roof, the same size as the slab on the floor, overlaps the programmatic volumes which, because of the different heights, here it leans on the roof there it has a reduced ceiling height. The emptiness between the volumes and the slab create an inner rhythm and, simultaneously, makes it possible to have improved natural lighting in the house.
The two main volumes that include the bedrooms are completely clad in vertically slatted wooden panels which open almost entirely. In the day, the panels filter the sunlight creating a texture of light and shade and, at night, it transforms the boxes into large lanterns which light up the land.
Photos: Fernando Guerra
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