Contrasted against the sunny, arid landscape in Portugal is the House in Quinta Do Carvalheiro. The home is designed by Italian based firm Giorgio Santagostino and Monica Margarido, also known as GSMM Architects. The form of the residence is directly related to the topography of the site. The structure is kept small so as to limit human intervention in the landscape. All of the rooms are arranged around a central patio. This patio connects the home to the outdoors without expanding the structure’s rectangular footprint. Large windows embrace the exterior while opaque walls protect the home from overheating at the sunniest points. I love how the house sits low on the horizon. At certain angles the landscape appears about to engulf the residence and pull it back into the ground. House in Quinta Do Carvalheiro achieves a perfect balance of man and nature. Photographs by FG + SG Fotografia de Arquitectura.
MiniMod takes pre-fab living to the next level! Designed by MAPA Architects, this intelligent structure is a lovely solution for alternative and sustainable living. The prefabricated modules are completely customizable, allowing the user to design a dwelling focused on their needs and preferences. After construction, the modules are transported via truck to their final destination. MiniMod is composed of a steel frame with natural recycled pine on the interior contrasted with painted pine on the facade. Several green technologies are featured in the dwelling; among them is a rainwater filter, ventilated facade, green roof, and LED lighting. The single module in the photographs is located in Brazil. Off-site and no waste construction allow the home to leave a minuscule environmental footprint. The 26 square meter floor plan includes a bedroom, living and dining rooms, and a kitchen and bathroom. Floor to ceiling windows and a covered patio connect the home with the outdoors. MiniMod has it all: the elegant design proves that prefabricated living can be beautiful and good for the environment. Minimal in aesthetic and minimal environmental impact, MiniMod is truly a win for contemporary living.
Hideg House is a sculptural form emerging from the rocky landscape. Located on the site of a former quarry in Koszeg, Hungary, this wooden structure is the first realized project of the young firm Béres Architects. After three long years of construction, Hideg House is a modern vacation home which merges the natural and built environments. The single story design features a dark timber frame punctured with windows and natural wood cladding. The rooms are placed to the far sides of the home, while the voided center is a covered patio. The interior is bright, white, and simple. It is a welcome contrast to the dark exterior and busy terrain. All of the rooms are arranged to maximize the views of nature. The cabin overlooks the best of both worlds: one side faces the exposed rock face of the former quarry, while the south side offers a panorama of the forest. I love the juxtaposition of this design. Pairing nature and man-made structures side by side results in a captivating aesthetic.
Look carefully or you might miss the tiny Yokaya restaurant and residence in Fukuoka, Japan. This humble white rectangle is nestled on a busy street between several tall condo buildings. Designed by rhythmdesign, the structure is a mere 135 square meters and houses a restaurant on the ground floor with an apartment above. The front facade is entirely opaque on the upper stories, while a cutout on the ground floor invites passerby into the restaurant. Wood and concrete are the main materials used in the interior. In the restaurant, the simple design allows the food to take center stage. The apartment above is arranged with a similar aesthetic: built in storage keeps the space uncluttered and the furnishings are limited to essentials. I love the modest design of this duplex building. The clean lines of the architecture and precise use of materials come together quite elegantly. Yokaya is quiet and reserved, but it is its little form that stands dignified on this bustling street.
B House is one of the few landmarks on the soft, rolling meadows of Segovia, Spain. Designed by CH+QS Arquitectos, this home was inspired by a prominent color in the natural scenery: yellow. This environment is speckled by yellow in every season. Flowers, wheat, leaves, sheep and sun brighten the terrain with their pleasant hues. B house accentuates these hues using warm wood and soft lighting. The structure is small, almost miniature. Eliminating unnecessary space allowed the architects to shrink the home’s footprint. Indoor and outdoor common areas are situated in the center of the home, with oversize openings framing the views to the east and the west. The private functions of the home are pushed to the outer edges, while the basement den accommodates the children’s playtime. House B is a humble home which enhances the beloved fields that surround it. The architecture emerges from the ground almost organically. With a bit of imagination it’s easy to picture the home growing from the earth along with the yellow trees and flowers. Photographs by FG + SG Fotografia de Arquitectura.
This sleek home is located on a sandy site in Comporta, Portugal. Designed by RRJ Arquitectos, this structure meets the needs of living in a harsh environment. Sun protection is a main concern in the scheme of House in Comporta. The single story home sits low on the site, maximizing coolness and minimizing sun exposure. The thick, concrete walls guard the home from the sun at the most vulnerable points. All the windows are recessed in the facade for extra shade during the brightest parts of the day. Clean lines, white walls, and hardwood floors are featured on the interior. I love how this home merges perfectly with its environment. The concrete facade appears to emerge directly from the sandy floor. The home is also sized so as to enhance the view of the trees and sky, rather than distract from them. House in Comporta is a perfect example of a structure inspired by the unique characteristics of its site. Photographs by FG + SG Fotografia de Arquitectura.
House in Daizawa is located in a residential neighborhood in Tokyo, Japan. Designed by The Archetype, lead by Nobuo Araki, this structure aims to maximize outdoor space while creating a private environment for the residents. The home is situated in the middle of the site, allowing for a roomy patio in the front and a lovely backyard garden on the southern half of the lot. Concrete walls on both ends of the site separate the home from neighbors and the street. The interior features an open floor plan with large windows and hardwood details. I love Nobuo Araki’s simple yet thoughtful design. The outdoor spaces are perfectly framed by the concrete walls and large windows of the house. Inside and outside, the structure evokes a sense of seclusion reminiscent of a country dwelling. In a city as busy as Tokyo, the peaceful House in Daizawa is truly an accomplishment.
This beautiful vacation house has been built by Florian Busch Architects in Niseko, Japan. It is perched on a sloping lot overlooking Mount Yotei. Two blocks of the building are shifted in a perfect way to accommodate this challenging landscape. The structure is reinforced by a concrete shear wall and covered with light wood on the outside. The warmth of wood and coolness of concrete create an exciting textural dynamic in the interior. The lower level is comprised of bedrooms and private bathrooms, the upper one opens up to a living/dining area with the kitchen. The heated pool on the roof completes the design. Like the building itself, the interior is unadorned and simple. Well thought-out furniture pieces blend in nicely with the structural elements of the house. Nothing is there to distract from what this place is really about – stunning views of the mountain, serenity and peace.
House F for a Violinist is another gorgeous build by one of my favorite Japanese firms, Hiroyuki Shinozaki Architects. The small, dark structure is situated on a narrow plot in busy downtown Tokyo. The architects responded to the site’s slim condition with a three story home, which uses height and depth to meet the needs of the occupant. The ground floor is a covered entrance, which also functions as a carport. The second and third stories contain the living and sleeping spaces, as well as a practice studio for the resident’s musical needs. I love the dark silhouette of this thin home. The arched opening on the ground floor and the large windows above add visual interest to the facade while serving practical purposes. This lovely structure is simple and beautiful, and looks great when illuminated at night!
This two family dwelling is located in Minamikarasuyama, Tokyo. Atelier HAKO Architects formed the two homes in one building on a narrow plot. Concrete is the primary material used in this structure. A concrete facade ensures privacy for the dwelling while projecting a sleek and modern aesthetic. The pattern of dots on the concrete are a result of the fabrication process. In this home, however, they form a simple, lovely pattern on the exterior and interior walls. Louvered screens cover the large windows: they filter the light and create additional privacy for the residents. Each story of the building contains a home with all the necessities for a small family: bedrooms, bathrooms, and a main living area with kitchen. The interiors are divided by white walls that compliment the exposed concrete. Floating staircases lead to a glass-covered terrace on the upper story. Dwelling of Minamikarasuyama is an elegant solution for a multi-family home in a crowded city.
Casa V is a redevelopment project by architecture team Dosis de Arquitectura of an existing house that was constructed in the early 1960s. A stunning volume of curved walls and stark white embody this holiday home for the owners for half a century. As the years went by, the growth of the family could not be contained in the original house hence the work to adapt and expand on the multi-generation, multi-purpose building. Casa V was already located on a breathtaking site in La Coruña, Spain. The structure is reminiscent of Corbusier’s nom de plume: A house is a machine for living in. Form follows function - it exists to serve its purpose of facilitating activities within and to experience the views of the landscape. The present architects have continued the legacy as they so eloquently describe it: Spaces are defined by the unfolding of matter in space-time, which topologically adapts itself to what happens inside. The new house is formalized by the continuous flow of a completely neutral wrap – no edges, no color, no texture – and, within this wrapping, life, action, is the protagonist. Dosis de Arquitectura have aligned the design language – the characteristics of the wrap and typography of the architecture - with...
Rainha House is designed by the Belgium based studio Atelier d’Architecture Bruno Erpicum, or ABBE for short. The small, rectangular structure is home to a family in Portugal. Glass and concrete are the primary materials used in this residence. Polished concrete can feel cold and sterile, but this is not the case with Rainha House. Hardwood floors and well-placed lighting add warmth to the space and balance the coolness of the concrete. The full length glass windows bring in sunlight and connect the home with the natural environment. I love the use of concrete in Rainha House. Exposed concrete is a pure and beautiful material; it elevates this home from a basic structure to a fine work of art. Rainha House is an elegant dwelling perfectly suited to its inhabitants and environment.