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Singapore Colonial Conceals Modernised Minimalism

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A surprisingly light-filled townhouse is squeezed out beyond a traditional colonial facade by noted Singapore architects ONG&ONG.

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The sullen earthy moss-colored trim is redolent of the dampness prevalent in urban Singapore’s moist and warm climate.

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Within the narrow space, the only option for light will be from above.

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The architects use a central light well to flood the new interior with light.

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This double-height atrium in the central space gives the illusion of larger spaces.

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All the rooms look out towards this central source of light and air.

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To maximize use of the space, the kitchen cum dining room is placed right at the front entrance.

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Even with the front door open, however, the kitchen opens out on the front garden as if it’s its own private garden.

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All white, with hanging black stairs, and with the business end of the kitchen recessed into the wall, the space is not at all too intimately ‘kitcheny’.

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Conceived as a rental for two couples, the residence is harmonic and neutral.

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At the very top floor a bedroom in the airy top floor space gets lit from skylights above.

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Behind the bed is this elegant and enchanting attic bathroom.

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A second floor living room moonlights as a second bedroom.

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This second floor living space/bedroom faces to the front out over the street.

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Its bathroom is designed with no less attention to detail, pairing tiny turquoise mosaic tile in a perfect symmetrical space with a niche to each side of the cabinet.

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This is versatile and elegant rental suited to two couples who are friends, or – with two beds in the second floor bedroom – to a young family.

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Magnificent Achitectural Beauty a Window into Geologic Time in Arizona

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An utterly sleek and perfectionist place is crafted by Wendell Burnette Architects in the timeless Arizona desert.

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The plinth was cast in place with one material throughout.

The architects intended that “a wall, a floor, a ramp, a step, or a bench could be experienced as part of one contiguous stone.”

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By working the surfaces of the plinth “in order to reveal the composite qualities of the material, sand, conglomerate gravel, pebbles, broken stone, in a cement matrix.”

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Fire, set within an arid stone environment, is used as a feature.

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The local hard aggregate cast stone forms the polished interior floor surface as well as the exterior.

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Between glass surfaces, small courtyards with sand, the finest of the aggregates used.

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Massive rammed earth walls are backed up against leather furnishings.

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An artfully placed cactus becomes like a sculpture in the courtyard.

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The interior detailing is as precise and scrupulous as the exterior architecture.

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The fascinating textural palette bounces a rough rammed earth wall against a rusty leather headboard and polished copper cabinetry.

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Deep within the dark opaque stone of the residence, a translucent blue shower appears suddenly like gift.

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The surprise of a glimpse of translucence picking up light hidden behind a black toilet and bounced off a rammed earth wall.

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Altogether, an impeccably put together project, crammed with well-conceived textural experiences.

The architects succeed in their mission to “provide a window into the geologic time” of the extraordinary site.

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White and Natural Concrete for a Unique Extended Family Home in Singapore

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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.

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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.

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Inside, wide open clean white space easily accommodates the large extended family, which has lived on this street for forty years.

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The site had housed the multi-generational family but needed to be completely redesigned to meet their changing needs.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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The extended family is now gracefully housed on the bottom two floors within the narrow and difficult site without feeling cramped.

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At the top of the four story atrium, a walkway connects to the roof garden, while completely blocking the building to the side.

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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.

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The use of natural concrete offset by the green of the jungle and polished with white is refreshing, cool and civilized.

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White concrete also freshens a garden scene against natural concrete through a window.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Huge White Frames Modulate Light Within the Cosmic House

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The strange overlapping layers that define this unusual “Cosmic House” by Fukuyama-based UID Architects are integral to the design.

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A mixture of enclosed and open spaces across two levels create an intimate relationship with daily and seasonal changes.

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Open and closed rectangles define an ongoing series of ever-shifting spaces.

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The effect can be almost symphonic.

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Here, a high frame centered over two lower ones creates a long skylight.

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Within another series of frames, a living room steps down from a higher garden courtyard.

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The shapes form terraces that extend inside and living rooms that open out to the many small gardens.

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The surprise of sunlight that washes these frames suggests a kitchen set in a natural forest glade.

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Each of the spaces is intimately connected with nature.

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Yet there is also a connection with other people and the city – but in the distance.

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The lovely quality of the light within the frames is peaceful and diffused.

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Each of the frames highlights different sounds, scents, light and breezes around the site.
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The result is a completely unique home with an intimate relationship with its setting.

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Magical Site for Stone Minimalism on the Rio Coast

It’s not often that an architect gets to choose the perfect site as part of the design process.

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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.

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Set in Rio’s almost fairy-tale landscape, Casa AL was clad in traditional plaster and local stone.

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The architect was sure he could design to take full advantage of the views despite the very steep site.

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The view is just breathtaking, so the architect aligned all the living areas to make the most of that.

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So the house spans three storeys in the front to accommodate the steep site.

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“We chose the land together so, for me, it was clear that in the end we would count on the scenery,” said Arthur Casas.

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The stone middle storey, built out from ground level at the rear, opens out to a raised terrace with panoramic views.

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At the rear of this middle floor, a peaceful secluded courtyard hosts an entrance from the hillside.

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The glass panels slide open and disappear into the sidewalls to allow the living room to extend out to the terrace and swimming pool.

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A stone wall hides the entrance bridge onto the middle floor and the secluded garden courtyard below.

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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.

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This timber third storey appears as if balanced on the stone walls of the entrance courtyard.

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Where stone is used, it forms both the interior and exterior wall.

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Guest bedrooms on the ground floor open out onto the strip of garden landscaped to frame the stunning sea view.

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Brazilian Teak, an extremely resistant timber, is chosen for use in interior furnishings and is hardy enough for outdoor use as well.
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The utmost in minimalist luxury, the bathroom features a glass wall dividing wet from dry areas.
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A truly unique home, that combines a magical site with a design that simply makes the most of it.