Architect: Powerhouse Company, ROTTERDAM
Powerhouse Company, in close collaboration with RAU, recently completed Villa L. Designed to fulfil the desires and needs of a young family, Villa L is set in the woods of central Holland, fully oriented towards the sun and the views of the garden.
Spatially diverse, each of the three floors (one of which is subterranean) has its own identity, creating the perfect living space for a young family with three children. One level is for living, with a generously open plan ground floor. The kitchen and living room are oriented to the sun, while two studies are located on the north side of the property, next to the entrance.
The collection of rooms on the first floor provides space for sleeping and privacy. Set in a delicate roof garden, all of the bedrooms are autonomous volumes crafted in their entirety from dark wood. The bedrooms work like a village of cabins, each room like a world of its own with private views over the wooded landscape.
The curved basement is for guests, wellness and storage. The excavations allow the pool and the guest rooms to have a fully glazed façade and direct access to the garden.
Villa L, recently nominated for the prestigious European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture—Mies van der Rohe Award 2013, incorporates innovative sustainable measures, including a hot and cold-water storage and extensive use of hidden PV cells. The basement contains a dedicated area for the high-end energy saving installations. www.powerhouse-company.com
Architect: Marcio Kogan, co-author, Suzana Glogowski, São Paulo
The dialogue between indoor and outdoor space in Marcio Kogan’s Cube House is intense. Co-authored by Suzana Glogowski, Cube House is a single cubic volume, made largely of concrete and perforated metal, completed in 2012 in São Paulo, Brazil.
Housing a ground floor common area that is integrated with the garden through a metallic panel that opens up to expose the whole width of its interior, the very function of Cube House is to create a space which can easily be opened up, so that the indoor space becomes an extension of the outdoors, or, when desired, closed off, giving the room privacy and shade.
In the top two floors, the theme of using few architectural materials and the crossed boundary between in and out continues: there are open windows in the bedrooms, television room and office, providing ventilation.
In the bedrooms, the same metallic panelling used in the common room works to filter the light. A second layer for closing is made of sliding glass panels. This system of metal and glass panels, embedded in the walls, is designed to give the dweller complete control of lighting and ventilation. The last floor houses a garden terrace, which is not only part of the home’s infrastructure, but also a small outdoor living area, offering views of the surrounding area. www.marciokogan.com.br
Architect: Bates Smart, SYDNEY
The building is the First Church of Christ, Scientist, built in 1926, and the brief was unique: to adapt this heritage site into a residential space for the client, Sydney-based venture capitalist, Mark Carnegie.
Preserving the heritage of the building’s existing fabric drove the design. Leading to architect Bates Smart designing a pair of freestanding cube structures, allowing the church’s volume to remain in tact, while adding a contemporary internal structure to the space.
The pair of two storey cubes—built in just 14 weeks—contain sleeping accommodation and ancillary facilities, while the central space provides living and dining areas. The concept is derived from the formal geometry of the volume, its austerity and the temporary nature of the new structure.
Each cube is lightweight, raw and designed for off-site fabrication and disassembly. Of the church’s original features, three rows of pews have been retained to permit occasional public performances on the church organ.
Architect: Peter Tolkin Architecture, CALIFORNIA
Designed by Los Angeles architect Peter Tolkin, Sunglass House is a 7,300sqft concrete and glass house, perched on a six-acre hillside lot, overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
Not only is Sunglass House a stunning work of architecture, but the story behind it is also quite intriguing, too. The design of Sunglass House draws inspiration from Ed Ruscha’s 1976 painting Malibu = Sliding Glass Doors, as well as the Southern California tradition of architecture’s relationship to climate, landscape and health. Its name reflects its series of glass façades; like a pair of sunglasses, the glass provides a safe haven, mediates the view to the horizon, while simultaneously reflecting the landscape.
The house is a combination of pillars, interrupted by open spaces, bringing natural light into the interior living spaces, while offering multiple vantage points of the panoramic view. The pièce de résistance is a 56ft-wide wooden sliding door system that, open or closed, blurs the boundaries that define the interior and ocean views outside.
Inside, the house is dominated by open living spaces, with plenty to look at. A steel-framed clerestory wraps the upstairs, allowing light into each of its several rooms, and the walls parallel to the ocean have been sandblasted for a rougher finish. Perpendicular walls have a smoothness that Peter compares to “the texture of wet sand.” www.petertolkin.com
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