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.
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.
Lush tropical vegetation is the perfect counterpoint to the simple formed concrete structure.
Almost the entire second floor consists of water, both to cool the home, and for a more direct cool-off.
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.
A colorful wall next door is cleverly included into the aesthetic.
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.
The architects use a series of layered exposed concrete parasols against the sun and levels that contain water, cooling the air.
The monumental concrete edifice is not out of place in its urban setting.
A series of shadowed passageways cool the walker underfoot.
A stepped series of green roof gardens make their home in these concrete cliffs and caves.
To the street, the house is nothing but the most mysterious presence.
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.
From here it provides just a fascinating glimpse of an interesting and complex design.
It seems that everyone has been obsessed with granite countertops in the last few years, but there’s another countertop surface that deserves some attention for both its beauty and durability. We’re talking glass!
Although we’re used to thinking of glass as something delicate and fragile, it turns out that glass, when used as a countertop material, can be surprisingly resilient and far more practical than you might imagine. And there are some other benefits as well.
1. Glass countertops come in a surprising array of colors and textures.
There ‘s no limit when it comes to color scheme or application. You can opt for clear glass, textured glass, colored glass in transparent, translucent, and opaque varieties. The blue textured look of the countertop above, by CBD Glass Studios looks just as if you were looking to the bottom of a swimming pool, with the added advantage that the textured finish makes dust, fingerprints and small scratches nearly invisible.
You can also create a dramatic effect by using lighting, as seen in the countertop below.
2. They are very easy to clean and completely non-porous.
In the kitchen, understandably, cooks are always concerned about germs and bacteria. The great thing about glass is that it’s a breeze to keep clean, and thus the perfect choice for chefs looking to keep a spic and span kitchen.
3. Glass countertops can take the heat.
Although the use of hotplates is recommended, glass is naturally heat resistant so hot cookware can be placed on its surface without the kind of damage that could occur on many other types of surfaces.
4. The edges can be curved or contoured.
You are not limited in terms of shape or form with glass. Not only can edges be contoured in any way you like, but the glass can be designed into organic forms, as in the island above, also by CBD Glass Studios.
5. It can open up a room, providing an airy feel that reflects light.
Glass countertops bounce light around the room but are transparent. The combination of these two properties gives rooms an open, airy, modern feel that can even make a space feel larger.
6. It’s a high end look.
Let’s face it, granite has become so ubiquitous it’s lost its cachet. Glass, on the other hand, is still very uncommon in most kitchens. When you see it, it automatically suggests a custom kitchen with a unique personality.
7. It’s recyclable.
And here’s an important advantage in our book. Glass is not a synthetic material and it is not using a limited resource, like marble or stone. It can be recycled again and again to create even more beautiful glass countertops.
Like any surface, glass does require some care. On slick, untextured glass, dirt, dust and debris will be visible, as will waterspots. Some acidic substances and corrode the glass, and of course, glass can be scratched, chipped or broken under pressure. Still, the same is true of many stones. All in all, glass is a unique countertop material with many more advantages than disadvantages for the discriminating homeowner and definitely worth considering for your next kitchen remodel.
MAMM Design have renovated a dark two-storey attic in Amsterdam to build a home for an immigrant family of four, used to brighter light.
They opened up the attic ceiling, exposing the giant rafters – allowing the light to flood the entire open space.
The most unusual idea: right in the center of the new open space, a box containing the kitchen is sunken into the stairwell, a window to its side.
As one climbs up the stairwell, looking to the right, one sees through an open frame into this sunken kitchen.
Sharing the central tower stairs with the kitchen is the bathroom and toilet, utilizing the existing plumbing.
The new home is housed in the top two floors of part of this 85-year-old building in the Netherlands.
Obviously, the exterior cannot be altered, but there are many changes made within the shell of the existing building to protect against the gloomy weather of Amsterdam.
The light from the existing skylight works overtime by opening up the floor to let it light two floors.
The architects placed new grating stairs and small landings around the central stair-tower to create some places to stay at various levels.
Parents can oversee a colorful vignette of the living room from the bedroom, brilliantly daylighted from the central skylight.
All the balustrades are kept safe with rope nets, a cheerfully childlike touch suggesting an industrial gym.
And at the very top of this gloom-dispelling new attic home, a playroom for the two young children.
Or perhaps you prefer an even larger space, with a Manhattan style feel. Replete with custom wood cabinetry, the Brickell condo below features two master bedrooms, a master sitting room, a master roof-top terrace, two family rooms, a wine storage unit, and white marble floors, all for about $2.5 million. And remember, you’re not just buying a space, you’re buying a lifestyle. In the Brickell Key One, where this unit is located, you can enjoy a game of hoop on the building’s courts, a barbecue in the building picnic area, a jog along a nearby jogging path, a romp with the kids in the child play area, or a swim in the association pool. There’s also an exercise room, tennis courts, hobby rooms and extra storage.
If there’s one thing that is almost universally desired when it comes to interiors, it’s natural light. Buoyant, life-affirming, natural light is a mood booster and does a world of good for interiors as well. Any room is going to look larger and feel airier with loads of light streaming in. Alas, not all of us are lucky enough to have rooms with much light. In fact, some of us, living perhaps in basements or converted apartments, may not have windows at all!
If that’s the case, not only are we missing out on light, but also the interest that a beautiful natural view can provide indoors. Are you stuck in a windowless room? Below are a few clever ways to provide the feeling of a window and some light, even so.
1) Add hidden sources of light.
Creating light sources that can’t be seen — a floor lamp tucked behind a couch, or upward lights placed behind a beam — can help provide a room with an indirect glow that can mimic the sort of indirect glow rooms get from windows.
Below, a windowless bathroom makes excellent use of this approach:
And here, an entertainment room area has no window. But hidden lights casting light upwards over the seating area create just that natural sort of glow that a window might otherwise provide.
2) Consider recessed lights with a dimmer switch.
Similar to the effect above, carefully placed recessed lights can provide a room with a soft glow that is unobstrusive and that really helps open up dark and dim spaces. The key is to make sure your lights have dimmers so that they need not be blasting at full power all the time. Full power light will destroy that soft natural glow.
They can be particularly effective when combined with uplights, as you see here:
3. Add your own window.
Just because a room doesn’t have a window doesn’t mean it has to stay that way. Add a transom window over a door, which will allow you to steal a little light and air from any adjacent room receiving light and air. In the bathroom below, the owners also installed frosted glass in the door to steal a little more light from the hallway.
And this bedroom below steals light from an adjacent sunny window by creating a huge high “window”.
And below, this basement gym receives a little light, air and interest from two windows and a paned door which help brighten things up considerably:
4. Add under cabinet lighting.
It’s a great way to provide that indirect light source that immediately brighten up a room, adding light and depth to dark corners. The dark kitchen below gets a big benefit out of under cabinet lights.
5. Add pops of color with a good dose of white.
Windowless rooms have a way of feeling quite depressing. Counteract this effect by brightening up things with bright accent walls that are complemented by pale colors. The basement kitchen below receives a huge dose of cheeriness from the electric orange cabinetry and the distressed baby blue door. The bright white of the walls helps to cast light about the room.
The distressed blue door actually hides the refrigerator!
6. Add art.
Large pieces of art can help stand in for a window, providing a room with both color and interest. The same Toronto basement above makes good use of this principle.
And another view from the same apartment:
And some other cheap tricks for windowless rooms?
- Add a large mirror, which will help bounce light around a room and provide a point of interest.
- Consider adding drapes over walls to mimic the effect of drawn curtains.
- Add french doors
- Keep your walls white and bright.