An urban infill project by from Ibarra Rosano Design Architects in Tucson respects the private courtyard-based architectural traditions of the region.
At the heart of each of the Six Courtyard Houses is a private courtyard.
The project is sited in a desert town that is plagued by sprawl and lacking in public transportation.
The architects demonstrate the possibilities for higher density, urban infill desert development that is respectful of time and place.
It takes cues from Tucson’s architectural past; plastered masonry walls, central courtyard, and minimal western exposure.
Each of the six looks out onto its own private courtyard.
The courtyard is a traditional concept long employed in hot arid regions.
But the vernacular tradition is updated in this modern interpretation.
A gigantic metal door is hinged from a perimeter wall.
The same internal pivot point is repeated in the entry door.
Bath rooms look onto small private outdoors spaces, giving one the sensation of bathing outdoors
The project is marked by a cool and clean cut aesthetic.
Its tall windows and clerestory windows bring in light in abundance.
While central courtyards, low-rise masonry construction, and thoughtful solar orientation are part of the historical architecture of the region, this project is a new and updated version.
Located in Kumamoto, Japan, is a curious structure from Sou Fujimoto Architects.
The unique house is sited in an area of great natural beauty.
The building looks as artless as a child’s play with blocks.
According to the architect, it was conceived by just mindlessly stacking 350mm square.
Across a rope bridge from some equally curious buildings, the structure seems strangely appropriate.
At night, it is lit up from within unevenly like a jack’o'lantern
Its guiding principle was the creation of a harmonious entity before various functions and roles differentiated.
It is of an existence akin to primitive conditions before architecture.
The floor levels are relative and spatiality is perceived differently according to one’s position.
There are no separations of floor, wall, and ceiling.
A place that one thought was a floor becomes a chair, a ceiling, a wall from various positions.
Rather than just a new architecture, says the architect, this is a new origin, a new existence.
Designed by Jonathan Segal, Lemperle Residence is a striking entertainer’s home overlooking the Pacific Ocean in La Jolla, California.
The three-storey structure looks like a series of glass boxes set one atop the the other.
Beautiful custom seating is simply low flat slabs of thick creamy-white cushions.
On the ground floor, the public area includes a glassed-in walkway suggesting a pool.
While atop it on the second floor the master bedroom overlooks the ocean from above.
A must for any luxury master suite, its bath overlooks the ocean.
Behind it, in the masculine all-wood bathroom a shower is built in to an alcove in the wall.
On the top deck, a dip pool under a sky frame allows for oneness with the vast sea beyond.
On this public floor, designed for entertaining, lolipop-inspired gel seating seems attached to the floor by a suction-cup.
Altogether a glamourous and luxurious retreat.
Dark hardwood floors have been in vogue for several years now, but the problem is that many of us still haven’t figured out how to show them off to best effect. Yes, dark hardwood floors can feel elegant and sophisticated but they also can feel… dark. Pair dark wood floors with dark heavy furniture and you could be in for a very gloomy existence.
So if you’ve got dark hardwood floors, or are contemplating getting them, here’s what you should keep in mind to prevent the darkness from overtaking your space.
Keep the walls light and bright.
As you see above, dark hardwood floors shine in bright, white spaces, where the contrast comes off as chic. This Georgetown townhouse, also pictured below, keeps the walls very white or a pale cream for an airy feeling. You’ll also notice that when dark wood floors are used in kitchens, they are usually paired with white cabinetry to lighten up the whole effect.
Here’s another interior, this time a very modern one, that uses dark wood with bright white walls.
Sometimes, what really helps to offset the heavy feeling is going with a cheery color on the wall. For example:
Lean toward the minimal
There’s something else we’ve noticed about homes that have used dark wood floors well —- they tend to go light on the furnishings. The star of the show is the dark wood itself, so too much furniture only detracts. Take a look at the spaces we’ve featured so far on the page. Not one of them is overburdened with too much furniture. And the furniture that is used is relatively small in scale.
Warm things up with rugs.
Although it’s true that the dark floors are the star of the show, they can be a rather overbearing star, prone to scratches and specks of dust. One of the best ways to counter these issues is to show off your rug by a throwing a colorful area rug over it. A beautiful oriental or kilim rug has the effect of making your dark wood floors that much more dramatic. Plus, they protect your floor from scratches and prevent the build-up of dust and dirt.
Opting for a light color rug is another strategy for offsetting the heaviness of the floors.
Don’t be afraid to mix up your woods.
Just because you have dark hardwood floors doesn’t mean that every other wood surface in your home has to match. In fact, that would be a recipe for disaster. Take a page out of the book of the kitchen, below, which has mixed dark wood floors with birch cabinetry.
And in the cottage below, homeowners have mixed dark wood floors with a lighter oak table and painted wooden chairs for a breezy, beachy, informal look.
Think all light furniture would look strange in a room anchored by dark wood floors? Think again!
The home above also makes use of the fuzzy white rug trick, to lighten up the solemnity of the wood.
So you see, dark hardwood floors nee not be forboding or heavy in feeling. Lighten up, keep furniture at a smaller lighter scale, and your dark hardwood will be the star of the show.
Flanked by a huge bookcase, a library is completely open to the garden, and overlooks a reflecting pond.
Seen in the background here, what seems to be a “library” is open on three sides.
In fact, that room is a place to sleep, yet its integration into public views completely preserves its privacy in a way that is almost magical.
While it is completely open air, the bedroom pavilion overlooking the pond is to one side of the house.
Brazilian architect Fernanda Marques has created an unusual home that is totally open to the outside.
An overhead tent of a glass roof is used to shield its inhabitants from direct rain overhead, but that is all.
Sunshine rakes rough stone walls that warm in the sun, and bring textural contrast with limestone floors stretching throughout.
With simply a hanging canopy above, daylight plays much more than the usual supporting role.
With her intense use of daylight, the architect has conjured a bookish escape from the frenzy of urban life in Sao Paulo.