Studio de Materia’s Light Soil V2 is a beautiful fusion of clean lines. The intersecting elements seem to float and hold one another, but in a way that oozes effortlessness. The use of the natural shape of the terrain by placing the garage on the street level helps separate and delineate functionality of the spaces. Situated in Poznan, Poland, the use of concrete, glass and wood are so well integrated that the resulting architecture seems almost soft. The lack of clutter and nod to the surrounding landscape are both subtle and contextually sensitive. Studio de Materia has combined a clear technical knowledge base with a minimalist aesthetic that compliments the context and adds clear value to the aesthetic appreciation-ist. Photography courtesy of Rzemioslo Architektoniczne.
Designed for a group of artists to reside, work and exhibit, the architect Jun Murata of Jam Architecture transformed a house in Osaka, Japan, of former wood construction into one of modern simplicity and elegant, minimalist finishes. The spaces were carefully thought out to accommodate the needs of the artists. Public and private are logically separated: the living and dining, as well as the tatami spaces face south where one can assume the intent is so that the residents can enjoy the natural light. On the other hand, the opposite side of the house meant for reading and art installation is designed with more controlled lighting where slivers of light penetrating the interiors, making it an integral part of any art installation. The architect has acknowledged that as carefully designed this minimalist mix-use house is for the artists, plants can give the space a rich contrast. I especially love the fact that the number and type of plants chosen for the space is minimal as well, allowing the harmony of their presence compliment the spaces they are in. Images courtesy of Jun Murata / Jam Architecture.
Tuneful House is a peculiar looking home in a busy residential neighborhood of Shiga, Japan. The home was designed by FORM/Kouichi Kimura Architects for unique clients on a tight budget. Every space of Tuneful House has been carefully crafted to represent the personality of its residents while remaining affordable. The exterior of the home is quirky looking, with two horn-like forms protruding at the sides. This distinct aesthetic symbolizes the owner’s unique disposition. The interior spaces of Tuneful House are divided by platforms and a range of materials. This design limits the amount of walls in the structure. The most prominent room in Tuneful House, and the room which gives the home its name, is the music room. The music room is located at the entrance of the home: a prime location for a very important space. The rest of the living spaces are divided among the first and second stories. Tuneful House features neither expensive materials or elaborate details, yet it is a charming home perfectly suited to the personality of its residents.
The Rabbit Hole Brick House is a modern vernacular farmhouse designed to provide for both a residence and a veterinary practice in Gaasbeek, Belgium. Hence the architect Bart Lens of Lensass Architecten used brick as not only a construction material, but also as a concept reinforcing the existing structure. It is the binding element between past and present. A funnel-shaped annex connects the 2 buildings with the continuity of brick as the floor, wall and ceiling, emphasizing the volume that is the personality of the rural architecture. Len’s design of minimalist interiors, white walls and wood framing, as well as the simplistic furniture provide the fluid contrast to the texture of the masonry. Previously featured for his stunning minimalist lighting system °online, I love how Lens has prolifically orchestrated the details of this architecture with such sensitivity to the materials and the landscape. Images via Archdaily and Lensass Architects. Photography by Philippe van Gelooven and Bieke Claessens.
The challenge that an architect has to face when producing a restricted minimalist space is always an interesting one. Materiality and transparency then inform the degree of openness within that perimeter. With such a small site in the ever-shrinking land of Japan, designers Takahashi Maki and Shiokami Daisuke of Takahashi Maki & Associates had created an architecture that helps light penetrate through, while still maintain the privacy and coziness of a residential unit. Located in Saitama Prefecture, White Hut exposes itself through two vertical glass panels that run parallel to each other, giving the outsiders a glimpse of the staircase, the workspace, and the kitchen. While the visual connection is apparent, the boundaries among spatial interior are also blurred to give a sense of freedom; each floor is its own room with no door. The bathroom is placed above other programs to maintain privacy, with light coming from all sides especially the two openings of the slanted roofs, which resembles the traditional housings that already pre-exist. The decision to apply corrugated metal for the exterior delivers a sense of lightness that goes against the usual aesthetic of Japanese designs. I thoroughly enjoy the flow of space within the house because...
This simple Japanese home may not look like much from the street, but step through its metal facade and everything changes. Cave House, designed by Kento Eto Atelier Architects, features a metal frame that is guarded and impervious on the street side, but open and welcoming in the back of the home. Just inside the structure’s entrance is a narrow garden, lit by a large opening high on the front facade. Sliding walls connect the living room to the garden, creating an indoor-outdoor style environment. These same walls are used in the rear of the home to link the first floor with a backyard meadow. Three bedrooms are located on the second story, accessed by a thin metal staircase. Two of the bedrooms possess a large window overlooking the garden. The third incorporates a mini balcony. My favorite pieces of architecture are those which blend the built and natural environments. Cave House is located in a residential neighborhood, but it showcases the same union with nature as a house built in a forest. This home proves that one does not need a site in the middle of the woods to design a structure with a strong relationship to the outdoors.
Private House is a vacation home located in a scenic and secluded part of England known as Cotswolds. Designed by London based architecture firm Found Associates, the house is an extension of an 18th century stone cottage. The structure extends from both ends of the old cottage but doesn’t fully envelope it. This design allows both the cottage and extension to feel like unique volumes living in harmony. Private House also sits harmoniously with the surrounding landscape: the large structure dwells low on the site so as not to block the picturesque vistas of the rolling green hills. The clean, minimal nature of the home lends itself to feeling like an art gallery. However, in the absence of artwork, the house and surrounding landscape are the objects on exhibit. I think minimal homes tend to make the best vacation homes: one can truly relax in a peaceful setting free of distractions. Private House won the RIBA National Award in 2012 and was nominated for the RIBA Manser Medal.
Like many homes in busy Japanese cities, House of Hatsugano is designed with a focus on privacy. The site, located in a dense neighborhood in Osaka, provided a challenge for NRM Architects Office. How can one create a private home that still incorporates natural light and outdoor space? The architects respond to this challenge by designing a home with three key elements: an opaque facade, a courtyard, and a roof deck. One of the most stunning features of the structure is the elaborate roof deck. The deck, invisible from the street, circles around the roof, looking down into the courtyard. The roof deck provides much needed open, outdoor space to the small property. The interior of House of Hatsugano is reminiscent of an art gallery. The furnishings are chosen carefully and are clearly the centerpiece of every room. The functional and service areas are tucked away in cabinets that blend with the walls. I love how this home breaks the traditional aesthetic of the neighborhood. The house looks ultra modern and cool paired next to its classic suburban neighbors.
The monolithic architecture of the Ooike House by Matsuyama Architect and Associates creates the living experience around the views. While heavy at first glance, the imposing structure of this residence located in Fukuoka, Japan, is juxtaposed by the sleek slivers of window openings, delicate walls of glass and a skeleton-like staircase. Intersecting planes define the unique, assymetrical volumes of the interiors while the wide spacing of the joint lines of the concrete walls and floor tiles emphasize the scale of the space, making it feel more expansive than it already is. It is a different sort of comfort that I find appealing about this project. The house seems to exude the calm and cleanliness that one seeks in meditation. From the furniture to the fixtures and finishings, the details are kept to an extreme minimal. The spaces are serene and peaceful, making the view of the city and the landscape beyond an integral part of the architecture, making the architecture about rest. Images courtesy of Matsuyama Architect and Associates.
If you find that the Ginan house appears to emerge from the surface of the earth, its because its made of earth: the facade is coated in a layer of gravel. Designed by Keitaro Muto Architects, this Japanese home is composed of two blocks of different size and shape. The blocks are separated on the outside by a small swimming pool, and connected on the inside by metal bridges. One block contains the bedrooms and the other houses the living and dining rooms. From the outside, the structure is mostly opaque, exuding a guarded feeling. On the interior, however, the home is open and airy. The outward sloping walls and high ceilings allow the home to feel much larger than it actually is. The built in furniture and monochromatic color scheme also contribute to lightness of the interior. The unique shape and material of Ginan House forces you to look twice. And there is nothing more pleasing than architecture that draws the viewer in, prompts questions, and leaves us with a lingering fascination. Photography by Apertozero.
A rugged house in a rugged environment, House at Camusdarach Sands is uniquely shaped to maximize the views of the sunrise and sunset. Designed by London based Raw Architecture Workshop, this home takes advantage of its picturesque location in Scotland by orienting towards the east and west horizons. The three story home is composed of a dark timber facade atop an exposed concrete base. The interior features bright white walls accented with light wood. The main living spaces are placed on the uppermost floor, so as to take full advantage of the spectacular views. The more private and less used spaces are located on the lower two levels. I love the unique form of this home. The angled structure is a wonderful design technique. House at Camusdarach Sands takes advantage of its full environment, from the ground to the sky. Photography by David Barbour.
This residence on an irregular site located in Islington, London is designed by Atelier ChanChan. The complete demolition of the previous building allowed the designer to instill her own design language into the facade of the house, a Herringbone brick pattern. Brick, being the material that is familiar to the context yet in a pattern that is seldom used on the exteriors. The warmth from the materials used both inside and out of this house exudes the comfort in its minimalism. The stunning detail of the floating staircase brings much light through the interiors; the sliding doors that provide a frameless opening to the courtyard; the walls in the bedroom that extends to the pitch of the roof – the architecture connects the spaces in an elegant and subtle manner that exemplifies understated, minimalist design. Photos via Atelier ChanChan and Dezeen.