Sitio Da Leziria is a former mews located in the highly agricultural region Alcácer do Sal of Portugal, which has now been redesigned into a contemporary residence by the architects Atelier Data. The project conserves the significance of the horse stable typography: the ‘horse path’ as an axis and for circulation; service walls that once provided sustenance for the horses now hold the modern day services of bathrooms and closets – and translates it into with minimalist architectural details and aesthetic. I appreciate Atelier Data’s sensibilities in approaching the project: The conversion of the mews into housing, gave us the opportunity to think about domestic space and also to test the way that people can inhabit again ancient rural areas. This project is the result of the first phase of a wide strategy that aims to revive an old agricultural land, combining new agricultural techniques with a new way of living. I love the fact that they decided to use resistant and affordable materials as well as that fit both the logic of the modern usage of the building and the old mews, preserving the vernacular architecture as well as the details such as inviting the artist João Mouro to create the...
House Floradas is designed around interactions. The home is structured so each occupant knows where the others are located: allowing them to seek interaction or individuality. Designed by Obra Arquitetos, House Floradas is located in São Paulo, Brazil. The home consists of three stories with strategically placed openings. The openings on the exterior flood the home with light, while the interior voids distribute light and connect the internal spaces. House Floradas is a simple home with a big voice! The binding concept of interaction is brilliant for a family home. This concept is apparent throughout the structure, allowing for an elegance often found in form-follows-function design.
The lovely Casa da Agudela is located in a sunny, residential area of Portugal. Designed by Rui Cerqueira Barros, this structure first appears as a sleek, dark volume nestled in a busy neighborhood. The facade features an original take on the traditional pitched roof vernacular: the asymmetrical slant forms the ceiling of the uppermost and middle story. These upper floors contain the bedrooms and an office, while the ground floor houses a living room, kitchen, and garage. Casa da Agudela is undeniably modern, yet I love how it still fits in with the more traditional surrounding homes. The facade is gorgeous. I enjoy how the windows are set in a little, as if they were carved from the exterior material. Overall, Rui Cerqueira Barros has designed a beautiful and practical home that is sure to please.
The Kfar Shmaryahu House is a two story family home located in Kfar Shmaryahu, Israel. Designed by Israeli architect Pitsou Kedem, this home is a dynamic structure, dictated by the needs of the client and the hot Israeli climate. Timber screens cover half the exterior, sitting flush against the white walls. The screens act as light filters for the large expanse of windows hidden behind them. When desired, the screens fold open, transforming the look and feel of the structure. The first floor features an open floor plan, which contains the kitchen, living and dining areas. Four bedrooms rest on the upper story. This home is truly an example of form follows function. The need for shade and privacy dictated the structure’s main distinguishing feature, the louvered panels. Yet style was not sacrificed for function: the Kfar Shmaryahu House is a perfect blend of the two.
Ryusenji House by Tomoaki Uno Architects cuts quite the brutalist and impassable figure. Located in Nagoya (Japan) this house is the ultimate expression of the raw beauty of concrete. Both internal and external façade elements and partition walls all comprising this similar grey hue, the shades of intensity determined only by the concrete’s play and relativity to light. At an initial glance, Ryusenji House could be mistaken more for an urban sculpture than a place of residence. A far cry from the over-adornment of trinket-ry commonly found. For this reason, I am very drawn to this space. The absence of furniture, and place-makers for human interaction, allows, I think, for the materiality to be showcased. It also creates an opportunity for the port-holes and vistas that penetrate the concrete shards to be featured. These details are beautiful and should be celebrated. Its positioning in amongst subtle architectural endeavours typical of Japanese architecture is a very bold move by Tomoaki Uno Architects. A move that I think has paid off immensely.
Narrow House, located in the small city of Bilzen in Belgium, is a wonderful collaborative design between the architects Bassam El Okeily and Karla Menten. You will have already noticed how the dynamic facade stands out like no other, with two balconies of irregular geometry covered by glass, which produces impressive and distinct light effects in a multitude of colours at night. Narrow House was built for a couple and features three levels; these being the ground floor, a library, and the third level a studio for one of the individuals who is an artist. Narrow House also features a backyard to complete this vibrant home. I continue to be surprised with the facade. Wonderful.
The Takanawa House is a simple concrete form nestled in a busy Tokyo neighborhood. Designed by Hiroyuki Ito of O.F.D.A., the strong exterior of this three-story structure hides an intelligent interior layout. The house is split distinctly in half by a central glazed staircase. The staircase connects the two halves with cantilevered concrete landings. The interior rooms are painted an airy white, and strategically placed courtyards ensure the home receives plenty of natural light. From the outside, the Takanawa House seems like a straightforward design. The thoughtful, playful interior is a secret world hidden within the exterior concrete box. I love the layout of this space: it is both simple and complex, open and protected, light and dark. Much like the staircase that connects the interior forms, each element of this home is connected through a thread of perfectly executed design.
Mur House by Apollo Architects & Associates in Yokohama City, Kanagawa is the perfect combination of pure lines and stripped-back Japanese simplicity. Conceived to house the client’s expansive art collection, the Mur House acts as an innocent bystander to the human animation anticipated unfolding within. Typical of Japanese residences, it is clear the architectural collaborative intended, through glazing, to frame the external world. From within, this house looks out, from a place of calm white-ness out onto the urban stage that surrounds. After entering this house, a long approach awaits and functions as a switch of in and out, whereby connecting spaces act as rooms, connecting the various destinations. The journey between these spaces is a continuation of this calm. At just over 80sqm and completed in 2011, this timber structure dwelling creates a distinctly bold silhouette. The combination of operable and fixed façade elements creates hubs of privacy, mixed with subtle porthole vistas from the outside world. The contrast between these elements creates, I think, a perfect haven in amongst high-densification.
The Ridge Road Residence is located on the Mornington Peninsular of Australia, within the Moonah Links golf course. Studio Four developed the design so that it addresses the existing site conditions and promotes environmentally responsible practices in its architecture – the adjacent tea trees that provide shade to the exposed living areas, full-height and completely operable windows for natural ventilation, various water-saving storage features and renewable timber as its main construction material. Above all, its minimalist aesthetic is what appeals to me most. I like how it sits low in elevation with terraced decks created from simple volumes so it blends in with the topography, and that the distinct separation of private vs public is complimented with such beautiful, seamless architectural details and contrast of white and black. Photography by Shannon McGrath.
This proposed project from Spanish architectural bureau Pereda Pérez Arquitectos answers two major design concerns. Firstly, due to building restrictions in Villarcayo, Spain, the house can only have ground floor. Secondly, the owners, a young expanding family, wanted to have a master suite, another two bedrooms and a bathroom, kitchen, garage, and a place for the children to study and play. All in a relatively small one-story building. The solution architects suggested is beautiful as it is convenient. All private rooms of the house are pushed to the blind concrete sides, freeing the open area in the middle for the living space. This airy central room also boasts access to the garden and great light. The concrete floor and ceiling repeat the textures we see on the outer walls of the building, bringing unity and coherence to the structure.
Look closely, or you might miss the charming La Marseta Country House. Designed by Sonia Miralles Mud and photographed by David Frutos, this Spanish home nearly blends entirely into the landscape. The structure of this house is formed from a long concrete ramp. The upper level of the ramp is a rolling garden, while the lower level contains the interior dwelling spaces. I love the relationship of this structure and the environment. The shape, soft colors, and rooftop garden create the feeling that the home has grown from the land itself.
The Tokyo-based architecture firm Shinichi Ogawa & Associates recently completed the Library House, a stunning minimalist residential project designed with a 6 meter high wall of bookshelves for the client who is an avid reader. What I love most about the architecture is that as austere and private as the exterior looks with the lack of windows and openings, the interiors are not compromised in terms of light with the use of skylights, open courtyards and tinted glass. The details in the architecture – the frameless doors, the bookshelf in the wall, the opening of the skylight – makes this a really successful minimalist design.