G house, a stunning minimalist private residence nestled in Afeka, northwest of Tel Aviv, is the result of the collaboration of Axelrod Architects and Pitsou Kedem Architects whose work may already be familiar among our readers. Their masterful attention to detail reveals itself in the frameless, flushed architecture. The intersecting beams, columns and planes of this project deliver the sunlight in an almost abstract way, penetrating the volumes and reflecting across the glass and walls on the inside. The roof floats over and cantilevers over the structure, providing much needed shade for this home. My favorite part of this project is the narrow, vertical stairwell, the ‘slice’, that faces the street not only serves as egress, but emphasizes the dramatic volume of the interior with the massive height and extensive use of glazing . The back of the house now has a clever way of letting light in. As the architects describe it: The ‘slice’, containing stairs to all floors, is punctuated by a linear skylight and a ribbon window that dramatically illuminates the stairwell. The result is a spectacularly unifying element in what would have simply been the backside of the building. Photography by Amit Geron.
House K may look small from the street, but this intelligent design is large enough to house two families. With a maximum width of a mere seven feet, House K stretches into the sky to create additional square footage. Designed by Hiroyuki Shinozaki Architects, this home achieves a comfortable living space by utilizing towers and space-saving staircases. Two thirty foot towers are connected by a central hall. Each tower holds the living areas for one family, allowing for privacy as well as connectivity. I appreciate this housing concept: two distinct but coupled spaces allow for an extended family to live in sync. The combination of wood and concrete is also lovely: the wood evokes the memory of traditional Japanese homes, while the concrete is distinctly modern. House K’s thoughtful design is a solution I hope we can see more of in multi-family housing.
Ma House is another lovely response to the tricky housing situation in Japan. Located in Aichi, Japan, this narrow home is so close to its neighbors that the outer walls nearly touch. The architects, Katsutoshi Sasaki + Associates, react to the challenging site with a simple and airy design. The home has few interior walls and limited furnishings. Combined with high ceilings and natural light these elements allow the home to feel much larger than its actual footprint. I am continually fascinated by the smart designs that emerge from the strenuous housing conditions in Japan. Size does not equal style: Ma House proves you don’t need a lot of space to live beautifully.
Standing out in stark contrast amidst the traditional Japanese architecture in the city of Kanazawa, Takuro Yamamoto Architects designed the White Cave House for a client who wanted multiple external spaces of terraces and courtyards reflected in a minimalist architecture. The monolithic volumes conceal a courtyard with a shallow reflecting pool, a covered garage which is the ‘cave’ connected garage for the client’s multiple cars to the living spaces, designed with functional minimalism. My favorite detail of this project has to be the fact that the experience of a courtyard in a climate with heavy snowfall is a luxury. As described by the architects: We designed Cave unstraight because it prevents passengers outside from seeing through, though it is not closed. By this arrangement, Cave takes a new turn for each part letting in the sunshine while protecting privacy of the courtyard, the terrace, and the internal rooms. Cave also serves as a route to remove snow from the external spaces in winter, otherwise you would be at a loss with a lot of snow in the enclosed courtyard. The accessibility for the garage doubles as a way to remove snow from the courtyard, a clever solution by the architects without compromising...
Located on a lovely strip of beach in Spain is the DBJC House. The home was built to maximize its relationship with the sand and sea. The structure sits low on the site, almost becoming a natural part of the rocky coast. The walls are nearly all open to the landscape: some physically, others shielded from the elements by frameless sheets of glass. The main living area is located closest to the sea, while the bedrooms sit further back on the ground and upper floors. The rooftop is home to a simple terrace, allowing for an unimpeded view of picturesque scenery. DBJC is another gorgeous work by Alberto Campo Baeza, a Spanish architect widely recognized for his prudent designs. I am a huge fan of Alberto Campo Baeza. His designs possess an air of timelessness achieved through excellent choices in form and material.
Slip House is a unique entity on a street full of traditional English houses. The three story building is comprised of rectangular forms covered in translucent glass planks. Completed in 2012 by Carl Turner Architects, Slip House is designed with beauty and sustainability in mind. The structure features a green roof, rain water harvesting, and a ground source heat pump. Slip House’s smart design makes it one of the most energy efficient houses in the UK. I love the sculptural quality of this building. The forms and materials are simple yet captivating. Slip House serves as a lovely model for residential architecture that is aesthetically impressive and energy efficient.
The facade of Can Durban is fiercely unbarred. Nearly every wall of the Spanish home features massive windows or long stretches of terrace. Designed by the Belgium firm Atelier d’Architecture Bruno Erpicum & Partners, or AABE, Can Durban aims to unite the natural and built environment. The frameless windows provide a transcendent vista of sea, sky, and plain. The stone retaining walls and rugged floor embrace the harsh Spanish climate. Can Durban is formed of two structures: the larger one is the residents’ living areas, while the smaller is a guest house. A partially enclosed courtyard sits between the two. The house is furnished sparingly: custom woodworks and figural sculptures comprise most of the interior objects. Can Durban is a gorgeous dwelling which successfully integrates natural and man-made beauty. Photographs by Jean-Luc Laloux.
Drawer House, designed by the prominent Japanese designer Nendo, responds to the limited housing situation in Tokyo. Using the concept of drawers, Nendo has designed an elegant home that allows functional elements to slide from the wall into a central living space. Several rooms worth of objects and furniture store easily in the back wall of the home, therefore only the “drawers” necessary for the task at hand are visible. The facade of the home is composed of a simple wood screen that filters light and maintains the residents’ privacy. This straightforward yet unexampled interior design creates an uncluttered space, while allowing the residents to live comfortably in a very small building. Drawer House is yet another impeccable work in Nendo’s extensive portfolio.
This two-story house has beed completed by Case Design Studio in Ueda Nagano, Japan. The site surrounding the building is a part of a peach and pear orchard, which provides a beautiful green panorama. This backdrop of cultivated greenery emphasizes the laconic color scheme of the house, ranging between black and white with ochre yellow accents. The ample terrace creates a secluded frame, separating the building from the open fields. I love how light is organized in this project. Open lower level almost becomes one with the outdoor space, while the second floor has more private feel, achieved by a narrow window frontage, overlooking the tops of the fruit trees.
Called Kiritoushi House, this small structure in Japan doesn’t reveal much from the street. The front of the home features a dark facade broken only by a sculptural cutout that holds the entrance. Designed by the Tokyo firm Sugawaradaisuke, the house is designed to allow the residents to live in tandem with the surrounding environment. The dark facade allows the home to sit unobtrusively on its site. A large opening in the back of the structure brings in light and connects the home with the outdoors. The simple forms and materials of the Kiritoushi House create a lovely design that is artful yet not overly fussy. I love how the home appears guarded at the entrance, yet is entirely open in the back of the site. Overall, this is a handsome structure that works beautifully with the natural environment.
With the growth of population and the lack of land, Japanese dwellings have become a device that’s made to adapt. Four meters wide, the Shiga based Promenade House by Kouichi Kimura Architects uses its elongated massing to make up for the narrow width. The corridor formed by the proportion is broken up with footlights in response to the light shortage. It then opens up to the backyard fully to mirror the entrance – a poetic visual connection. The minimal exterior of white and grey is brought into the interior, reflected through the white walls and concrete stairs. Wooden floor and furniture accents the otherwise stark ambience. Similar to many Japanese residential projects, the project’s lower and upper floor is linked again by a simple ladder. The hallway above divides into two, with one leading to a green space, literally, that is the washroom. The other leads to the bedroom and the child’s room, accompanied with skylights. The other end of the hallway is also painted green to weave together the front and back. With a small color manipulation and the clever execution of a long space with different widths, Kouichi Kimura Architects was able to create an experience of discovering...
This beautifully linear house has been completed by mA-Style Architects in Shizouka, Japan. The building consists of two volumes connected by a wooden patio. On a sunny day, the sliding glass doors can be opened, and the entire footprint of the house can become one room. The different levels of the interior are accessible via ladders that are minimal and transparent. I like how fluid the layout is. Every room, aside from kitchen and bathroom, is interchangeable and can be used as the mood or necessity dictates. Designers elaborate: Although Idokoro is merely somewhat ambiguous, it produces various scenes. Idokoro also brings various expression and sense of distance to space. Another interesting element is the combination of different wooden textures. Artfully alternated and put against the white backdrop of the walls, they create perspective and warmth. These wooden frames also pay stylistic homage to traditional Japanese architecture.