Located at the heart of an apple orchard, in the region of South Tyrolean Dolomites near Bolzano, stands a curious and eye-catching mirror structure. Celebrated architect, Peter Pichler blurs the lines between a relevant contemporary construction on the countryside and art installation. A valiant move for a region known for rejoicing long-standing traditions. The premise of the project is a Vacation Home, taking into account the surrounding area and the upmost comfort and privacy for the guests. The front of the house showcases an honest modernist façade, with clean geometric lines. The interior design follows the cue with a strong white color dominance, with the occasional raw wood on walls and furniture. It’s worth mentioning the house boasts a floating illusion above the ground thanks to well-placed foundations — the light-project for the night time is exquisite, taking the striking mirror walls a step further. It may not be an explicit intention, however I find the gorgeous Mirror Houses to be a crossbreed of flawless architecture and a site-specific that would fit art magazines effortlessly.
Located in Valencia province, Spain, lies House in Ontinyent — a private residence designed by Borja García, a local architecture studio. It is connected to the recently renovated original headquarters of Gandía Blasco, an outdoor furniture and textile factory. The house is an extension of the building and reflects the same values and aesthetics, externally and internally, with the use of white and neutral colours ensuring that the house conforms to the company’s contemporary design principles — simplicity and refinement. Borja García explains: The core of the project is a large open space on the ground floor and a sculptural staircase made of concrete that guide visitors to the upper floors. The materials, with an absolute use of white, are always naked and honest. The basement, a large sheltered space between concrete walls, connects the house with the pool. The pool, built in white concrete also represents a large water plane floating with the rest of the field. I appreciate the choice of the owner, José Antonio Gandía Blasco to link his work and his life in a unique concept — a sort of landmark for a small town. Photography Courtesy of Borja García Studio.
Cement as a material for a luxury residence. The young Mexican architect Abraham Cherem of Cherem Arquitectos, recently completed the design of a residence on the outskirts of Mexico City. House P was built for a well-known football player, Aarón Padilla and his family of four, who wanted a concrete home that blended well with its surroundings. The project is based on the study of the house views and the circulation of the light inside. The architect created two large blocks of cement, creating a complex set of rectangles and curved walls. The goal was to minimize the view on degraded suburbs of the metropolis, focusing on the vast central patio. Inside, the walls are designed as cement curtains, which regulate the spaces and the entrance of light at different times of the day. Cherem Arquitectos used elements of modern Mexican architecture to design the courtyard, but were also inspired by the traditional Mexican patio, which creates a space to reunite elements in the centre of the house. I love cement houses integrated in natural surroundings. House P is the perfect place to live with a golf course as good neighbour.
Dar Mim is an understated white home located in the picturesque coastal city of Hammamet, Tunisia. The home is designed by the Parisian based firm Septembre, a firm known for consistently producing elegant and sophisticated designs. Dar Mim is a renovation of a traditionally styled home and courtyard. Septembre preserved the integrity of the existing home by barely touching the front facade and patio, and designing a matching extension in the back. The main living areas are situated around a central courtyard. The expansion in back features a guest suite with a separate terrace. A block and void system is used in the structure to filter light into specific areas of the home. All the building materials for Dar Mim were locally sourced. The wood and metal work was done by local artisans, and the plaster walls were made using old school techniques. These traditional materials allow this renovation to blend seamlessly with the older buildings in Hammamet. Overall, the excellent materials and thoughtful styling make Dar Mim a unique and successful design. Photography by Sophia Baraket.
Situated in a small village in Portugal is the Taíde House, a renovation of an old mill into a beautiful modern home. The house was thoughtfully designed by Rue Vieira Oliveira and Vasco Manuel Fernandes. The structure is relatively small, so as not to interrupt the surrounding environment. The kitchen, living room, and office are located on the ground floor. Two bedrooms sit on the upper level, accessed by a stunning floating staircase. When looking at the structure, it is easy to determine the old and new. The rough stone base is inherited from the old mill. Everything white is assumed new. The interior, all renovated, uses limited materials: white for the walls, hardwood floors, and marble in the bathrooms. The result is a truly minimal design. Each element of Taíde House is expertly curated, creating a home that falls nothing short of perfection. Photography by Fernando Guerra FG+SG.
World renowned architect Tadao Ando is a clear trailblazer and vanguard. Early on it was clear his approach was on another level, and although he’s honed his style throughout the years, his first housing project still holds relevance. The Row House is a seminal work for contemporary and minimalist architecture. Located on a working class neighborhood in Osaka, the Row House imposed its first challenge off the bat, with a narrow, but not necessarily small space to work with. Ando’s response was a symmetrical composition, with simple forms and concrete as its main building material. Simple geometry is cleverly used to create an ample space for movement and transitions between each rooms, resulting in a self-sufficient living space. The visual revolution that was imposed in this wood-clad district isn’t the only innovation by Ando; the surrounding traditional houses are anything but private, with open windowpanes and gaps, and thin materials that makes for lousy sound isolation. The project in hand proposes a windowless façade and complete openness to the sky in the middle. Privacy is one of the main rewards for its residents, a change in the daily life, a concrete transformation of social patterns.
Mass Fradette Residence is a refined modern home in Greenfield Park, Canada. The home was completed in 2012 by Montreal firm Jean Verville Architects. Three interlocking volumes comprise the home’s structure. The volumes contain the garage and entrance, main living area, and upstairs bedrooms. The facade is covered in soft white wood cladding, with strategic openings for windows and outside access. The ground level features an open floor plan with long expanses of floor to ceiling windows. These windows overlook a garden, connecting the home with its surrounding natural environment. The interior is covered in a mix of matte and glossy white surfaces. Overhead lighting keeps things clean and minimal by eliminating the clutter of table and floor lamps. Polished concrete provides a modern, durable surface for the floors. This material continues on the exterior to form the back patios. Three bedrooms and bathrooms are located on the second story, accessed by a dramatic white and concrete staircase. An upstairs terrace provides a private outdoor space for sunbathing or stargazing. I’m obsessed with the unique geometry of Mass Fradette Residence. The blunt angles and crisp white surfaces are undoubtably modern, yet not without an element of playfulness.
Located in Hanekita, Japan, the new double-family residence by Katsutoshi Sasaki + Associates is designed to have a playful attitude toward the distribution of lights and shadows, public and private, as well as interior and exterior. Katsutoshi Sasaki found his namesake architecture firm in 2008. With many notable projects published in numerous renowned publications and websites, surely, House in Hanekita will not be excluded. To accommodate programmatic necessities, the architect divided the second floor of the main loft to thirteen rooms superimposed by a 3×3 grid with spandrel walls, creating a flexible interconnected series of spaces that deal with private and public boundaries. Complemented with two indoor gardens (yes, on the second floor!), the main loft is separated from the other with a light well. On the ground floor, which holds two kitchens and dining rooms, the two lofts share the same entrance and private gardens. The interior of this residence is covered with pale-colored woods, creating a lighter and spacious environment that further emphasizes the occasional pouring sunlight. Minimally, the clean cuts of every corner give off a sense of care from the designer. I especially love the simple additions of greens, harmonizing the interior wooden material with its...
House in Possanco is a contemporary home featuring a captivating array of architectural gestures. Designed by the prominent Portuguese firm ARX, this weekend home is located in the arid landscape of Possanco, Portugal. The structure is defined by a pure white facade with strategic carvings, which create windows and skylights. The pristine sheets of white are expertly constructed, allowing the entire building to exude the air of designed precision. Four patios cut through the bold form and are situated throughout the home. A triangular cantilever juts from the side of the building. It is an exciting piece, and it plays with the viewer’s sense of scale and structure. The interior is void of decoration. Instead, long and uniquely formed shadows are splashed along the walls like artwork. The highly geometric roof adds visual interest to any of the home’s interior rooms. The many windows and openings ensure plenty of natural light and views of the exterior landscape. The abstract nature of House in Possanco pushes the viewer to explore further. This is not a structure that can be admired casually: it requires one’s keen attention and an appreciation for the modern and spectacular. Photography by Fernando Guerra FG+SG.
Home 11 is an elegant dwelling in Amsterdam. The structure was previously a large garage. i29 Interior Architects renovated the garage into a modern apartment for two people. The color palette is defined by three materials: white sheetrock, natural oak, and gleaming black surfaces. The elevated kitchen is composed of wooden cabinets and a black island. Step down into the living room and you’ll find an oak wall with black shelving and a small fireplace. The doors to the bedroom and bathroom blend with the wood-clad walls. Skylights run across the ceiling and provide a plethora of natural light. To connect the home with the outdoors, i29 Interior Architects included a small outdoor patio and designed the living room carpet in a green mossy pattern. Home 11 is an incredibly posh dwelling. The materials and furnishings combine to give the home a luxury feel. The skylights are a wonderful addition. Never underestimate the power of simple materials, natural light, and great design. Photography by Ewout Huibers.
Plywood House is a distinct home refurbishment tucked among London’s traditional Victorian row homes. The exterior is comprised of brick and concrete punctured by single framed windows. These materials are splashed throughout the interior as well. Concrete and brick are wonderful raw materials that add visual interest inside and out. However, the most distinguishing feature of this home is its namesake: plywood. Plywood is one of the simplest yet most versatile construction materials. In Plywood House, it is used instead of sheetrock to form the walls and ceilings. The soft wood casts a warm light throughout the minimal interior. Designed by Simon Astridge Architecture Workshop, the living spaces of Plywood House are distributed across two stories. The first floor holds a cast concrete kitchen, dining, and living rooms. The master suite, structured entirely with plywood, fills the second story. I love when modest materials are allowed to take center stage. Plywood House creates a beautiful aesthetic from an often overlooked construction material. Perfect!
Aroeira III is an elegant dwelling located on a sunny, arid hilltop in Portugal. The home is designed by ColectivArquitectura, a small architectural office located in Lisbon, Portugal. The thoughtful design seeks to maximize sun exposure and work with the sloped landscape. The structure is u-shaped and divided among two low-lying levels. This building is refreshingly honest about its structure both inside and out. The reinforced concrete foundation is visible throughout the exterior, while steel support beams puncture the wood and glass facade. These classic materials continue on the interior. Exposed concrete walls and floors are juxtaposed with wood panelling and stairs. The floor to ceiling windows keep everything bright and airy. Aroeira III embraces a design that is as beautiful as it is timeless. This is surely a home that will be admired for years to come. Photography by FG+SG Architectural Photography.