Villa E is a luxury Moroccan home designed by Studio KO. Studio KO is formed of architects Karl Fournier and Olivier Marty, and the firm is based in both Paris and Morocco. Their architectural style expertly blends eastern and western design. Villa E is a lodge located at the base of the Atlas Mountains in Morocco. Viewed from below, the home appears to be a castle or fortress looming above the rugged countryside. But step closer and you’ll find a warm and comforting home with a distinct style. The facade is of Villa E is covered in Ouriko stone, a red, brick-like stone which is locally sourced and characteristic to the architecture of the region. The windows are carefully placed to create the most airflow and eliminate direct sunlight. In a hot climate such as Morocco’s architects must tailor their designs around the powerful desert sun. The interior features high quality materials such as marble and slate, as well as traditional Moroccan furnishings and artwork. And of course, every room with an oversize window is arranged to maximize the stunning view of the mountains. Villa E is perfectly suited to its harsh environment. I love how the design can be traditional and contemporary, luxurious and minimal. Every element pairs together effortlessly for...
International Royal Architecture, or I.R.A., have designed this bright and modern dwelling in a residential neighborhood in Japan. The home is called House of KKZ, a name derived from its proximity to the Kamikitazawa Railway Station in Tokyo. The structure is a straightforward white cube with cut outs for the windows and doors. KKZ is by no means large, only 110 square meters, but the thoughtful design results in a lovely living space for a family. House of KKZ is a spilt level with several loft spaces. The varying levels allow the space to feel large and open despite the building’s small urban footprint. Small, narrow windows are placed close to the ceiling on each level. These windows bring natural light inside while maintaing the residents’ privacy. White walls and light-colored wood contribute to the sunny feel of the interior. Built in furniture and storage keeps the home free of clutter.
A gorgeous white dwelling sits beside the sea on the island of Hong Kong. House W was designed by local Hong Kong architecture firm Cheungvogl. This modern home is constructed to utilize its scenic setting. The home is composed of three tall stories with large windows on each floor. The height and windows allow the residents to gaze out at the sea and passing ships. On the other side of the home doors lead to a garden terrace. Two main materials are used in the interior: rough, exposed concrete and crisp white walls. I love the simplicity of House W. The design is clean and contemporary, a perfect contrast to the lush landscape along the sea. A minimal house in a beautiful setting allows the mind to rest and reflect. House W is the perfect place to escape the busy city of Hong Kong.
Casa Spodsbjerg is a family summer home on a rocky beach in Denmark. Completed in 2010 by Arkitema Architects, this house is designed to take advantage of the views and characteristics of its site. The structure is composed of two staggered volumes on a concrete foundation. One volume houses the living rooms while the other holds the bedrooms and bathrooms. The living room utilizes floor to ceiling windows to achieve an unbroken view of the sea and beach. The bedrooms are on the second story and are more shielded, allowing for a quiet and peaceful place to rest. Casa Spodsbjerg uses a limited number of materials in its design. Concrete is used for the base and internal forms, the floors are a light hardwood, and the ceilings covered with a warm, slatted wood. This home is the perfect beach dwelling. I love how the two forms work with the geography of site to maximize the views of the surroundings. I particularly enjoy the way the materials work together in this structure. The light hardwood floors blend with the exposed concrete and are reminiscent of the sandy shore outside. The slatted wood ceiling warms the space and gives it a more natural feel. What more could one want in a...
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.