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The Courtyard House Maximizes a Dark Forest Site

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NO ARCHITECTURE has created a lovely house with a central courtyard reflected in the hexagonal cut-out in the roof.

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The roof cut-out uses passive solar gain, allowing light and air inside, to a potentially dark site.

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This central courtyard brings light down into the center of the home and is conceived as both uniter and divider creating space and privacy within.

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Highly polished concrete floors throughout reflect the surrounding forest.

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The courtyard, while continuing the surrounding indigenous landscape, also supplies a convenient kitchen garden for the family cook.

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The design provides the privacy needed for family life while respecting the natural surroundings.

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Other than the hexagonal cut-out, the straightforward and unassuming design predominates.

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The Courtyard House is designed in such a way that any room can be a living space during the day and a sleeping space at night.

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In this way it can be a house that offers a tranquil setting for introspection and work without a feeling of being overcrowded in a small space.

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An Eccentric Skiers Getaway in China – Snow Apartment

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Now here’s a strange sight! And is that… a ski rack?

The Snow Apartment by penda is located in Zhangjiakou, Hebei, China in a famous skiing region north of Beijing.

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Inspired by a melting snowfield in spring, when nature slowly revives from winter and offers a contrast of cold and warm, white and colored, the apartment is entirely white and wood.

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A series of skylights offer the only daylight – as if we really have been buried in a snowdrift.

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The plastered walls of ‘snow’ are suspended just above the floor with brilliant white LED under lighting – further suggesting spring melting.

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To build the soft undulating ‘snow’, local craftsmen hand-plastered over wooden forms.

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By ancient tradition, craftsmen in the north of China are familiar with the exacting techniques required to generate these sorts of handcrafted plaster curves.

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A network of heating pipes is inside the thick plaster and emits a gentle radiant warmth through the thick plaster walls.

These cozily warmed walls of ‘snow’ are enjoyed by the client and his guests after a cold day skiing.

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The layout of this strange folly is on a grid, with the extensive plaster form work attached to the wooden base.

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Most of the bedrooms get some sort of a skylight like melting snow.

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With seven bedrooms and several bathrooms, the very eccentric Snow Apartment provides room for the client and his friends to gather at a ski weekend-getaway that is really quite unique.

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A Perfect White Villa for Sublime Relaxation Outside Tokyo

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A wraparound S shape defines this small but sweet all-white villa an hour from Tokyo on the Boso Peninsula by Kiyonobu Nakagame & Associates.

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The serene simplicity of white concrete reveals the elegance of the S shape and establishes a peaceful counterpoint against the balmy blue skies just east of the capital city.

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The very well-stated design consists of one continuous wall that is folded in different directions to set up the various views.

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The utmost in serene minimalism continues in the single master bedroom suite upstairs.

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Here a deep soaking tub for relaxation within the vast ocean views occupies one corner.

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On the ground floor the sun penetrates deep within the floor-to-ceiling glazing.

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The isolated, simple setting is reflected in the villa’s elegant and minimal design so the viewer is able to fully experience the vast panorama of the Pacific Ocean.

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A very elegant residence, utterly basic and spare.

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Design Dilemma: Red 101

contemporary exterior how to tips advice

Got a hankering for red? We do! Red is bold and modern. It’s snazzy and snappy. Best of all, it can be the easiest way to wake-up an otherwise boring room.

But red can go wrong too. Use too much, and you lose the cool factor. Use the wrong hue, and it just doesn’t work. Here are a few things to keep in mind about RED.

1) A little bit goes a long way.
The best thing about red is that you don’t have to use much of it to get the most dramatic effect. In fact, just one red object in a room can have much more impact than a whole lot of red scattered around a room. For instance, in the home above and below, just a few red lampshades placed in windows make a bold, and very cool, statement to the entire neighborhood.

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And in the bathroom below, just one red faucet (and a red towel) make a truly modern statement.

contemporary bathroom how to tips advice

In the neutral bedroom below, one red nightstand provides plenty of pop.

contemporary bedroom how to tips advice

2) Get your red right. Bright orange red reads modern, darker, maroon-like, burgundy reds summon up the traditional. If you’re going for a more traditional look, your red might look something like this:

traditional living room how to tips advice

Deeper, darker maroon reds suggest coziness. This is a color we associate with autumn and settling by the fire. It’s a hue we often see in oriental rugs. It works well in Victorian settings with lots of wood paneling and often gets paired with deep blue or golden yellow. Here’s another example in a Maryland Georgian home that veers more toward the transitional:

traditional dining room how to tips advice

On the other hand vivid tomato reds and reds veering into orange work better in modern, clean-lined homes. Here’s a vivid tomato red, used with discretion in an otherwise clean-lined room:

modern living room how to tips advice

And here’s an example of the red-orange hue in a very contemporary home:

contemporary living room how to tips advice

3) If you want to make a very bold dramatic statement, consider an accent wall or red kitchen cabinetry. The beauty of the accent wall is that it can easily be repainted. As the walls below:

contemporary living room how to tips advice

And look how cool, modern yet classic a red kitchen looks:

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Or here:

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And if you’re not brave enough for kitchen cabinets, a sideboard painted a bright red can be a great, more flexible alternative:

transitional dining room how to tips advice

4) There’s no need to scatter. While it’s tempting, once you get the “red” bug to scatter multiple red accents around a room, the more modern way to decorate is to concentrate the red in just one or two pops. Below is a bathroom that looks great but might look better with one or two fewer red accents:

contemporary bathroom how to tips advice

And here, a slightly more modern use of red, by concentrating all the color on the floor:

eclectic bedroom how to tips advice

So are you ready to paint the town red?

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Shatotto Creates Another Astonishing Edifice of Concrete and Water

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As in their  Concrete House of Green Water, here  SHATOTTO Architects are working just with concrete and water to create another stunner  – this one in the tropical southern city of Chittagong, Bangladesh.

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The heavy southwest wind from the Bay of Bengal and the year-round scorching sun are two major considerations for the deeply shaded and water-cooled design.
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Lush tropical vegetation is the perfect counterpoint to the simple formed concrete structure.
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Almost the entire second floor consists of water, both to cool the home, and for a more direct cool-off.

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Viewed from a diving platform over the pool, one is conscious of an amazing concrete ceiling, two storeys tall, shields the pool from the hot sun.
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A colorful wall next door is cleverly included into the aesthetic.
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The perfect color balance of rust-colored concrete pavers, the bisque wall, the dark teak wood diving platform and the pool, provide the perfect jolt of color within the very incognito exterior.
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The architects use a series of layered exposed concrete parasols against the sun and levels that contain water, cooling the air.
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The monumental concrete edifice is not out of place in its urban setting.
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A series of shadowed passageways cool the walker underfoot.
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A stepped series of green roof gardens make their home in these concrete cliffs and caves.
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To the street, the house is nothing but the most mysterious presence.
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A marble stair entrance that is grand and also scrupulously correct in its textural balance of glass, dark tropical wood, lush greenery and concrete meets a door of lovely proportions.
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From here it provides just a fascinating glimpse of an interesting and complex design.