From the street, industrial concrete with wild grasses growing out of the ledges intriguingly suggests an overgrown ruin that has been taken over by wilderness.
Formwerkz Architects completely rebuilt an older semi-detached house creating light, spaciousness and privacy for a large extended family in Singapore despite towering neighbors next door.
Inside, wide open clean white space easily accommodates the large extended family, which has lived on this street for forty years.
The site had housed the multi-generational family but needed to be completely redesigned to meet their changing needs.
A large skylight pours light down four floors into this open central atrium on the ground floor, while a brief jungle to one side conceals the looming neighboring building.
Though there are tall buildings on each side of the narrow site, making windows impossible, even this ground floor of the four story house is abundantly lit.
Floor to ceiling glazing slides open out to the side garden, and the grand piano is an elegant touch in the resulting jungle pavilion-like space.
The extended family is now gracefully housed on the bottom two floors within the narrow and difficult site without feeling cramped.
At the top of the four story atrium, a walkway connects to the roof garden, while completely blocking the building to the side.
Living rooms are open to this central garden atrium as if overlooking the outdoors.
The walkway to the roof garden is natural concrete to contrast with the white concrete denoting ‘interior’space.
The use of natural concrete offset by the green of the jungle and polished with white is refreshing, cool and civilized.
White concrete also freshens a garden scene against natural concrete through a window.
Not only does the central atrium bring the outdoors in, but a stepped roof garden on top also re-utilizes the entire footprint of the house on the small lot.
The terraced rooftop provides a small ‘mountain’ to climb to a park-like place ‘to sit and have a conversation while looking out in the same direction, sharing the same moment,’ say the architects.
Even at street level, white fencing subtly civilizes the industrial heft of the natural concrete building.
A very confident redesign, with a very fresh and youthful touch.
The strange overlapping layers that define this unusual “Cosmic House” by Fukuyama-based UID Architects are integral to the design.
A mixture of enclosed and open spaces across two levels create an intimate relationship with daily and seasonal changes.
Open and closed rectangles define an ongoing series of ever-shifting spaces.
The effect can be almost symphonic.
Here, a high frame centered over two lower ones creates a long skylight.
Within another series of frames, a living room steps down from a higher garden courtyard.
The shapes form terraces that extend inside and living rooms that open out to the many small gardens.
The surprise of sunlight that washes these frames suggests a kitchen set in a natural forest glade.
Each of the spaces is intimately connected with nature.
Yet there is also a connection with other people and the city – but in the distance.
The lovely quality of the light within the frames is peaceful and diffused.
The result is a completely unique home with an intimate relationship with its setting.
It’s not often that an architect gets to choose the perfect site as part of the design process.
Given just that opportunity, the Brazilian firm Studio Arthur Casas Chose this idyllic place between the mountain and the ocean in Rio de Janeiro to site a home for an old friend.
Set in Rio’s almost fairy-tale landscape, Casa AL was clad in traditional plaster and local stone.
The architect was sure he could design to take full advantage of the views despite the very steep site.
The view is just breathtaking, so the architect aligned all the living areas to make the most of that.
So the house spans three storeys in the front to accommodate the steep site.
“We chose the land together so, for me, it was clear that in the end we would count on the scenery,” said Arthur Casas.
The stone middle storey, built out from ground level at the rear, opens out to a raised terrace with panoramic views.
At the rear of this middle floor, a peaceful secluded courtyard hosts an entrance from the hillside.
The glass panels slide open and disappear into the sidewalls to allow the living room to extend out to the terrace and swimming pool.
A stone wall hides the entrance bridge onto the middle floor and the secluded garden courtyard below.
A grassy roof topping the middle stone floor becomes a garden for the timber-clad small third storey housing just a master bedroom and home office.
This timber third storey appears as if balanced on the stone walls of the entrance courtyard.
Where stone is used, it forms both the interior and exterior wall.
Guest bedrooms on the ground floor open out onto the strip of garden landscaped to frame the stunning sea view.
Brazilian Teak, an extremely resistant timber, is chosen for use in interior furnishings and is hardy enough for outdoor use as well.
The utmost in minimalist luxury, the bathroom features a glass wall dividing wet from dry areas.
A truly unique home, that combines a magical site with a design that simply makes the most of it.
Australian firm Dunn & Hillam created a home that is self sufficient in energy and water, with solar panels on the roof supplying electricity, and banked in a battery rather than connected to the distant grid.
The clients love the desert, its vast views, and its warmth.
The butterfly roof is for draining the maximum amount of rainwater to the tanks below.
As well as natural steel and natural concrete blocks, part of the exterior is compressed fiber-cement boards that need no maintenance.
Fiber-cement boards are well-equpped to handle the UV attack from the sun.
Altogether, a very practical home that truly makes the best of living in such a challenging – and rewarding – climate.
August is the month in which half the world takes to the road. Planes, trains and automobiles are one way of getting around, and so are RVs. It is that last mode of travel, combining living and moving, that’s got us thinking about tiny houses, since trailers, campers and motor homes are nothing other than tiny little houses on wheels.
With the tiny house movement sweeping the country as a way to keep mortgage, utility and other living costs down, and with so many of us traveling around in campers these days, we’ve decided to look at three of the coolest tiny little houses out there. One is actually mobile. Two aren’t. All take care of the little details to make the spaces not only simple, but comfortable.
The tiny house below comes from the Tennessee Tiny Homes, and it’s quite sleek. Check it out:
Above, you get an overall view of the living room, replete with entertainment center, and a full-fledged but tiny kitchen. Who says you can’t have style and polish in just a few square feet? Below, another view of the living room. Notice there’s room for artwork on the walls, and shelving. The couch turns to a bed when needed.
A view of the kitchen with granite countertops.
And there’s even a bathroom:
An exterior view:
And here’s another tiny home, two-story, done up in Japanese style. An exterior shot:
The upstairs is outfitted with tatami mats.
Here’s a view of both the upper and lower level:
And another view. The space is warm, welcoming, natural, and represents great Japanese style!
Here’s the ladder to the upper level:
And there’s even a Japanese style soaking tub:
And finally, here’s a tiny house with an open, loft-like feel. An exterior view:
The living room:
And there’s even a wood-burning stove:
More of the kitchen:
And another view of the living room. Totally comfortable!