Minimalissimo


Categorized “House”

Situated in Vallvidrera, a stunning Barcelona neighborhood with excellent views of the city, Vallvidrera House lies on a small land between a valley and a pine forest. This beautiful and totally white single family home was designed by Barcelona-based studio YLAB Arquitectos and was built to cover the maximum amount of square footage on a tight budget, while at the same time positioning the house for great views and to maintain absolute privacy. A smart solution with incredible effects. The structure is a single and compact cube that consists of three levels. The geometry of the volume directly reflects that of the sloped land it sits upon. The façade is covered in a white finish on all surfaces including the roof. The windows are flush with the façade creating a smooth surface. A fine perforated steel fence surrounds the low end of the land. I love how this white cube sits low on the ground in perfect balance with its surroundings and nature. Photography by Marcela Grassi.


Casa Na Xemena is a stunning modern home overlooking the Mediterranean in Ibiza, Spain. Ramón Esteve, a design studio based in Valencia, designed the home in 1995 and completed construction in 2003. The site’s natural landscape was crucial in the design of this home. Most of the structure’s form was dictated by the sea, rocky cliffs, and sun. The exterior features a smooth white façade that reflects the heavy Mediterranean sun and contrasts beautifully with the rough cliffs and blue water. Several outdoor terraces are arranged as viewing platforms to gain the best perspective of the sea. A large infinity pool is positioned at a key point on the hillside, so that the line between the pool and the sea is elegantly blurred. The home’s interior keeps the white walls from the façade and features concrete floors and floating staircases. A sprinkling of windows illuminate the home without allowing too much heat inside. Geometric furniture, some of which was designed by Ramón Esteve, is placed in the interior and by the pool. Casa Na Xemena provides a striking response to a remarkable landscape. The house provides a true relationship with the environment, resulting in a magnificent sensory experience for its lucky residents. Photography by Eugeni Pons...


Spain-based architect Ramón Esteve designed a world-class residence with a privileged high view of the turquoise Mediterranean below; the scale of this project goes beyond 1,200 sqm, nevertheless it manages to nail a challenging combination of extravagance and minimalism impeccably. The outer façade facing the street is quite private and does not give anything away regarding its visual prerogative, a much-understated introduction to its wood-clad and geometric structure. On the opposite side lays a very modernist and playful take on various volumes, each one housing its own veranda and access to the beautiful view of the ocean. This project celebrates the natural landscape, yet the interior design brings forth symmetry defiantly. The interior design thrives in white color dominance, an effort to maintain a homogeneous feel in all rooms. Impressive how such a wide variety of materials managed to build a cohesive unit. Kudos to the excellent timberwork in the kitchen, bathroom and on the beautiful 6m high patio. With luxury comes great responsibility, and I’m pleased to see the architects did not ignore ecofriendly solutions: Two separate pools grace this residence, yet rainwater is recycled to fill each one. Lastly, the energy consumption is kept to a minimum with state-of-the-art...


This elegant dark home is located in Shiga, Japan and designed by FORM/Kouichi Kimura Architects. Framing House was built for a small family who desired to live in a habitable art gallery. The home’s name is attributed to the structure’s act of framing key spaces. This framing notion allows each space to feel unique yet still connected to the flow of the house. Three main spaces are carved into the home’s layout: an art gallery, living space, and courtyard. The courtyard links the gallery and living spaces, and has the added benefit of bringing nature and natural light into both areas of the home. In nearly every room of the home, sections of the walls are cut out to frame windows, artwork, countertops, and shelves. These features contribute to the minimal sensibilities of the home by removing the need for stand-alone furniture and hiding clutter. Framing House is not just a home and an art gallery, it is a home as an art gallery. I could not imagine a more beautiful dwelling place. Photography by Yoshihiro Asada.


Near the Norwegian village of Geilo, a popular skiing destination, Oslo-based firm Reiulf Ramstad Arkitekter have designed Split View Mountain Lodge, an extremely beautiful family home for their holiday. The architects tell us: This holiday home has a clear and clean-cut expression. The volume has a main wing, housing mainly bedrooms, which naturally adapts to the terrain and divides into two branches of living zones. The shift in program and use of different levels allow this part of the building to adapt to the slope of the site. With the same timber cladding on all of the outer walls and on the roof, the holiday home is unified in one structure. If the exterior is great, no less remarkable is the interior, both made using mainly locally-sourced Norwegian piner, with huge gable-shaped windows to enjoy the unique views of the valley.


This unassuming family home in Finland is designed by OOPEAA, or Office for Peripheral Architecture. OOPEAA strives for an architecture that finds its inspiration in the state of being in-between – between urban and rural, but always in relationship to both; between a deep respect for tradition and an appreciation of the contemporary. House Riihi is the perfect example of OOPEAA’s mission. House Riihi is reminiscent of a traditional Finnish cottage, stationed alone in an often snowy field in the small village of Alajärvi. The home is comprised of three buildings: the main house, a garage, and a lofted studio. The pale wood structure sits low to the ground and is arranged around an inner garden. This arrangement is inspired by Finnish farms, where cottages were positioned around a central courtyard. With this composition, the garden is protected from the harsh climate and becomes a peaceful refuge all year long. The interior is clad from floor to ceiling in natural and white-painted spruce. The light colors allow House Riihi to feel airy and bright, as well as warm and cozy. Minimal furnishings, some matching the spruce of the walls, create an atmosphere of openness where the home’s architecture can really shine. House Riihi is...


Ando Corporation’s Rooms project is a submerged Japanese house set into hillside, peaking out over the ocean. This minimalist series of volumes that all seem to play cooperatively together in the landscape, are a stark and beautiful contrast to the coastal terrain. At nearing 290 sqm, Rooms is a modest nod to the Japanese lifestyle; discreet, contained and respectful. Each volume of white plaster seems to come together seamlessly through a series of walkways and terraces, to create this unassuming sanctuary, nestled in the sloping elevation. The site’s location is optimally primed to maximize on the incredible Pacific Oceanic aspect. Fenestration is purposely restrained to not be full-height, to frame views and to leave some of the unknown, unknown. Set in Wakayama, Japan the clean white plastered forms contrast the natural site, while playful formal landscape geometry engages in nuances and details throughout. Rooms is the epitome of what residential dwellings should aspire to be, a sanctuary; a closing of the door to the chaos, and an opening to the beyond (in this case, the limitlessness of the ocean beyond). Ando Corporation has created an incredible example of reflective architecture, celebrating minimalism. Photography courtesy of Kimikazu Tomizawa.


Located in Abiko, part of Chiba prefecture, stands a fractal-like structure completely alien to its surrounding premises. A modern and futuristic white residential building, designed by Japanese architecture firm fuse-atelier, graces the neighborhood with a sense of drama and originality. The building boasts beautiful large glass panels on both extremities, albeit hiding inside a striking concrete monocoque and panels from passers-by. The living room sets the tone for the rest of the house, an obligatory passage way and link throughout every ambient. It’s interesting to note the modular-like quality the project defines every function, from the kitchen to the bedrooms. The sense of perception and depth is toyed with on this modernist project, presenting an aesthetic parallel to German Expressionists set designs in movies. The theatrical strength of the concrete walls are clear, with unusual angles and shadows drawn all through the day. The gallery stands tall and absolute as a firm minimalist presence, even if future owners take the interior design to a rustic or traditional style. It sets the mind at ease knowing the owners are more than satisfied with sharp contemporary design to furnish it. This house is in good hands. Photography by Shigeru Fuse.


Located in Texugueira, a village in the north of Leiria, Portugal, this house is a 233 square-metre minimalist residence designed by portuguese studio Contaminar Arquitectos. Texugueira House is made up of three volumes of different shapes and sizes, with narrow terraces slotted in between. It features a retaining wall that extends north to south along the eastern boundary of the site. A corridor follows this wall and forms the house’s main axis. The three blocks all sit in front of this corridor. The first volume is empty at the ground level, providing a covered area for leisure or parking. A studio is located at the upper level, with a small terrace that opens over the landscape, allowing natural light to enter the space. The central volume features the main entrance and the social area including the living room, with a large window over the green surroundings, and the kitchen connecting with the garden. The third volume contains a more secluded and private area, with two bedrooms on the ground floor, which are directly connected with the contiguous garden spaces, and with a balcony suite on the upper floor. This is a remarkable house that includes beautiful details throughout, particularly the use of cork — the typical...


The small and secluded Bolton Residence is located in Eastern Quebec. Designed by the Canadian based firm Naturehumaine, this elegant home focuses on nature and simplicity. The structural form takes its shape from the traditional barns in the region, yet this vernacular is interpreted in a distinctly modern way. Two large rectangles, positioned one on top of the other, form the structure of the home. The top rectangle cantilevers slightly out from the lower, allowing the house to feel as if it is floating along the mountainside. A dark exterior distinguishes the structure from its often snowy landscape. On the interior, long and narrow windows wrap the living room, flooding the home with stunning views of its mountainous setting. The fireplace is uniquely positioned in a media cabinet, which also provides storage. Accents of wood and black create a dynamic interior, bringing depth and light to the small space. This color scheme continues in the bedroom and in the dark tile of the bathroom. Bolton Residence may be small, but it is not short on style. Photography by Adrien Williams and David Dworkind.


Lebanon-based architect Paul Kaloustian took advantage of the height a dense pine tree forest offers, and opted to invert the thumb-rule of broad and horizontal modernism. Designing a residential house infused with a courageous vertical visual identity; often found in museums and university campuses. Taking concrete and applying an interesting curve was vital to inject an unusual shadow play and amplitude of the surrounding woods into the domestic area, such a manoeuvre is often let in the sole hands of wide glass façades. Kaloustian sets this project apart, daring to narrow each room and let the focus be the height feature and achieve an unexpected sense of openness considering the size of each area. Two extra elements are worthy of mention: the interior design selection with raw wood material and an explicit minimalist intention; as well as the very competent and alluring photography of said project, it is an achievement in itself as well. A clear example of what contemporary architecture can achieve deconstructing old-school modernism with maturity and an authentic visual statement.


Israeli architecture studio Pitsou Kedem continue to impress with this 700mq family home completed in 2014. The White Gallery House is a private residence situated in a white box with large windows as decorative elements and a large open space that seems a lot like an art gallery. Vertical lines open like geometric slashes connecting the house to its surroundings, to the garden and to the long and narrow swimming pool that stems from inside the house. The openings make it possible to look out into the surrounding environment if you are inside, or look into the house if you are outside. They allow natural light to penetrate the structure or artificial lighting to seep out into the surroundings during the hours of darkness. These vertical openings also serve as a reminder of a modern stilt house when you see them from the outside through the surrounding trees. Photography courtesy of Pitsou Kedem.