Minimalissimo


Categorized “House”

Cardal Holiday House is a striking home built into the hilltop in Bemposta, Portugal. Designed by Cannatà & Fernandes, this building is defined by contrast. The upper and lower level are opposites in color, structure, and material. The lower level is a smooth expanse of concrete that juts out from the hillside. The second story is a light and airy form that appears to float stop the concrete which supports it. A parking garage and small garden are located on the ground floor. The main living areas are contained on the upper level, accessed by a dramatic staircase at the entrance. Cardal Holiday House is a gorgeous pairing of opposites.  The different forms and materials come together seamlessly and blend perfectly with the surrounding environment.


All four walls of the Light Walls House in Aichi, Japan are nearly void of windows. Yet the interior of this home is surprisingly bright. Natural light pours down from strategically placed skylights in the exposed wooden beam ceiling. Designed by mA-style Architects, the shady site made introducing sunlight into the home quite difficult. The well-designed skylights distribute and direct the light throughout the structure. Lovely light patterns are formed on the floors and walls, creating natural artwork that changes throughout the day. Freestanding white boxes, accessible only by ladder, form private spaces above the ground floor. Light Walls House solves a common problem with a beautiful solution. I love the how all the elements in this home work together to enhance the natural light. The hidden rooms and built in furnishings allow the home to maintain a sleek, pulled-together aesthetic.


With its breathtaking location directly facing Lake Maggiore and the surrounding mountains, this New Concrete House by Wespi de Meuron Architects protrudes stoically on a steep slope while connecting itself to existing and new construction on the same site. The minimalist design in concrete, while simulating the color of natural rock, reflects an organic presence back to the landscape while its volumetric openness exposes the warm oak finish of the millwork and furniture to the exterior. Sunlight pours through these seamless connections of volumes, blurring the lines of where the exterior starts and interior ends. The architect’s implementation of the continuous use of concrete to highlight different experiences within the house is what I love about this project, to say the least. The direction of the concrete slab towards the picture window subtly orients your eye towards the framed landscape while the concrete floor catches the gleaming sunlight and reflects it back up into the space. The calmness of that experience with the view of the mountains and the lake could be considered a cliche by some, yet it is a summer getaway desired by most. Photography by Hannes Henz


Migliari House is an impressive arrangement of white forms loacted in a suburban area of Brazil. Designed by Domo Arquitetos, the structure consists of several boxy forms, each of which contains a different space organized by function. The living spaces are separated by interior walls that feature cutouts, light wells, and large openings instead of traditional doors. The bedrooms are grouped together in the east wing of the home. The linear grouping of the bedrooms represents family union. The exterior is largely closed off from the street, allowing for an introverted space that emphasizes domestic life. The back of the home, however, features sliding glass doors that embrace the tranquil outdoors. I’m captivated by the concept of this home. I love how the different masses interact: their intersection creates exciting shapes and shadows. The division of space by individual forms is a logical and beautiful design for a family home.


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.