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
Categorized “Architecture & Interior design”
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.
Stein van Rossem’s London Tower Apartment in Antwerp is a deliberate and beautiful fusion of contrast. Comprised of rarely specified dark-coloured fixtures with a white-based palette, this apartment is sharp. The materiality and clean lines of the form work create clearly defined surfaces, spatial arrangements and flanking architectural moments. Brussels-based and with a completed portfolio of works throughout Europe, the Stein van Rossem studio is one of a consistent and strong minimalist authority. Although their work displays an obvious controlled restraint, there exists a delicateness to the connections and junctions between materials. There exists an almost obsessive thoughtfulness, which is by no means unappreciated. This London Tower Apartment is a beautiful muse for minimalism and pragmatism combining.
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.
This beauty salon is located on a busy 6-lane street of Osaka, surrounded by the hectic life of the megalopolis. 10 years after opening of the place, the owner decided to embark on a remodel and bring the appearance in sync with the business’ aesthetic identity. Architect Tsubasa Iwahashi was hired to make this transition happen. On March 30, 2013 the salon was reopened with the new minimalist look. The wide entrance allows to see the serene interior, offering a beautiful combination of white with light wood elements. The space is divided in three areas – reception, styling and a hidden section for beauty procedures. The austerity of the overall design reflects the owner’s philosophy. It also cleverly distinguishes the building among its surroundings.
Sackler Crossing is another wonderfull project by John Pawson, the minimalist architect who has been featured a number of times here on Minimalissimo recently. Located in the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, in southwest London, it was developed as part of a new route and won the RIBA National Award in 2008. Pawson writes: Set low to the surface of the lake, its serpentine form seems to float across the water, allowing people to experience the surrounding landscape from new vantage points. The walkway is fabricated in only two visible materials, each chosen for their hardwearing qualities. The deck is formed of granite treads, laid like railway sleepers between bronze uprights that serve as a balustrade. There is not much more to add, as this just a great example of simplicity and elegance.
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.
Building an art workshop on a small site of 27m2 in Mexico City was not the only challenge faced by Frente Arquitectura. Within the constraints of the space, the architects had to design this Mini-Studio to avoid the harsh direct sunlight and heat of the climate. This has resulted in an amazing volume that not only emphasized the double height space but also delivered a sculptural interior that breathed life in its asymmetrical architecture as well as into the quality of the light and shadows throughout the day. With a careful control of perspective and using trapezoidal shapes, vanishing points are emphasized, amplifying the space scale. The beauty of this project is how the fluidity of the architecture balms together so you can’t tell where exactly the wall ends and the ceiling begins, where interior ends and exterior begins. The orthogonal stair rail provides the datum within the space that somewhat lets the voids and angles play off on. It is a sculpture that has a purpose and a workshop I personally wish I could have an opportunity to work in. Mini-Studio won FRENTE Arquitectura the AZ Awards in Toronto for design excellence, the Jury’s Prize as well as the...
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.
John Pawson’s latest unveiling; Palmgren House is steadily purest to his collective body of work. Located in Drevviken, Sweden this house engrosses both an enclosed courtyard to the rear and a terrace, to the front. It aligns with the shore of Lake Drevviken and when the lake freezes over, the site is blanketed in snow, and the pale volume is all but invisible. Whether ironic, purposeful or accidental, the selection of the site to align with the minimalist palette of the build is also nothing short of considered; a nod to Pawson if there ever needed to be one. Completed recently in 2013, Palmgren House is uncompromising in its dedication to both the contemporary architecture and minimalist movements. Pawson is minimalism and this much awaited piece fits seamlessly into the collection. The pale tonal palette of white hues, together with textbook minimalist lines brings this house together with the landscape and its context. Like learning a new language effortlessly, Pawson has an ability to educate, excite and inspire through his resulting forms and spaces. The restrained consideration and the seemingly invisible effort in execution all seem to create a sense of calm through space. Palmgren House is a great example...