Posts Tagged ‘house’

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Architecture Monday

March 18, 2019

I like it when a design finds a way to use building material in new and even mind-bending ways.  That double-take my mind makes as it tries to marry what it knows about a material (and how it’s used) and the different form that is arrayed before it is exciting.  Which is all preamble to say, “woah, check out the sinuous and curvy brick on this one!”

Used to screen a semi-private courtyard, the brickwork is definitively out of the ordinary.  With twists and turns it lets light and air through while maintaining a mediated visual connection.  There’s something fun about the peeks of greenery (and warm light at night) that pokes through what we’d usually register as solid brick.  There’s also a feeling of movement, like a sheet of rippling water.

I’m much less sanguine about the remainder of the house and find the nearly blank walls on either side of that sensual front especially unfortunate.  Except for the tie to the courtyard, the rest of the house doesn’t appear to pull much inspiration from the unique front either, alas.

But what a front!  A fancy façade though that is a treat to see and see through.

The Lipton Thayer House by Brooks + Scarpa

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Architecture Monday

February 25, 2019

Here’s a take on the idea of a shipping container home that I quite like.  Rather than mush all the containers together to create a single mass (much like a “regular” house), it uses the self-contained and nature of each container as a design starting point, creating a design that is both fun on the outside and works great to automatically create individualized spaces/rooms on the inside.

By laying out the three containers in a staggered formation and joining them with site-built connecting bits, each the interior gets to receive light from all four sides and the interstitial spaces can be used for a deck or a garden.  And since the containers have all their structure along the outer edge, it was easy to punch in a whole bunch of nicely appointed windows to take full advantage of the configuration.

Inside, those connective bits serve double duty, both as hallways and as either a home office or as the laundry/utility area (all of which can be closed off behind sliding doors).   It’s a very airy home, with the wood paneling letting the ample light diffuse all over, and the various bits of built-in furniture keeping things from getting too crowded.

The paneling both inside and out lets the home be well insulated, and it goes even one better, creating a floating roof that effectively creates a parasol to keep away the summer heat (just like this desert home I posted about a few years ago here).  Solar panels, water capture, gardens… this house goes all out.

I quite like it.  And while the shipping container bit is/was a great starting point (and an extra touch of sustainability) there’s plenty here that could be recreated with any style of construction (or pre-fab), creating something sculptural that perfectly shapes some fine living spaces inside.

Shipping Container Home By Modhouse.

Check out this bonus video by Living Big In A Tiny House!

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Architecture Monday

December 3, 2018

Ok, there is a lot of similarity in the house below and the amazing work by Ando I shared a couple of weeks ago… but the scales are vastly different.  Here, a tight three-house compound in northern Beijing with non-existent yards was reimagined into a single home.  Keeping and upgrading the existing house along the north side of the compound, new additions were added along the west and south sides to create a U-shaped arrangement that creates a generous courtyard.

I’ll admit, I can be a sucker for exposed brick (especially in adaptive reuse scenarios), and this project has them in spades.  But there are a lot of other great details as well:  the exposed log-structured roof in the renovated old house, the patio and rock garden in the courtyard, the expansive windows and rotating screens, and the LED light strip that illuminates the intricacies and texture of the old tile roof at night.  With the generous windows throughout, the house feels continuous even though it’s wrapped around a courtyard; the courtyard becomes just another room to look through.

Like with the Ando design, it’s a very interesting mix of old and new, both factually and figuratively.  There’s a historic ruggedness in the brick and tiles and iron-grey railings and window frames, accented by the smooth concrete and crafted wood paneling.

I especially like this bonus moment where the courtyard opens a vista that allows the profile of the house next door to mirror that of the mountain ridge in the background.

Overall it’s good stuff.  Not a total adaptive reuse, but still a partial one that makes most of what was there before.

Backyard by CCDI

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Architecture Monday

November 12, 2018

I’m not going to lie; this post is almost entirely driven by that first image.  Something about that lush greenery (it’s in Indonesia), surrounded by the solidity and blue-grey texture of the surrounding walls, with that pathway emerging to head over a bridge made of that same blue-grey stone over a pool of placid water to mark the boundary before stepping onto a terrazzo floor while a canopy of warm wood floats overhead, all counterpointed by that wood vase… yeah.  I dig it.

I also won’t lie to say I don’t have some concerns for this house’s location and size, perched on a steep hillside in what seems to be spectacular countryside.  So I’m a bit conflicted about this one, not knowing the full context and what may have been taken away to create these beautiful moments — sometimes just because we can build somewhere doesn’t mean we ought to.  And of beautiful moments, this house does indeed have plenty, with lots of lovely interplay between the surrounding vegetation and the built spaces of the house, with vistas and openings and courtyards and hanging gardens, oh my!

Inventive and a great blend of traditional house types with modern sensibilities.

The Chameleon Villa, by Word of Mouth Architecture

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Architecture Monday

October 29, 2018

Here’s something simple and fun:  start with a renovation, tack on a new bit onto the front of the existing building, and make it super playful in bold colour and with interlocking, triangular, operable, shutters.

Straightforward and effective all by humble means.  Nice!

Green Shutter House by OOF Architecture

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Architecture Monday

October 15, 2018

This is a little house that packs a big punch.  Nestled tightly on a small lot, it presents itself as a lovingly crafted wood box, with vertical slits the only indication of the jewels within.

Inside, weave themselves around three open-air gardens, bathing each room in ample light and serene views.  A hearth greets at the entryway, leading to the common area before spiraling off to the bedrooms and tatami room.  Though not big in actual size it doesn’t feel cramped and makes the most of its restrictive lot.

I especially like that tatami room, accessed through a narrow corner entryway to create an area secluded from the rest of the house yet still open to the greenery.  And at night, cleverly positioned lights create wonderful shadow play across the walls and floors.

It’s a spare aesthetic for sure, done well through meticulous craft.  Nicely done.

House in Akashi by arbol

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Architecture Monday

July 16, 2018

When I visited the Ennis house a few years ago, it was only for a drive by.  Being a privately-owned house, seeing the inside, and the results of the renovation being undertaken, was not possible.  UNTIL NOW… for it is up for sale!  And with that comes a real estate listing that includes a raft of pictures that shows that the inside of most glorious example of Frank Lloyd Wright’s textile block houses is as impressive as the exterior.

There’s a lot to see here, in many ways, quite literally, with the eponymous textile blocks (each concrete block being hand pressed in a mold designed by FLW) creating both a rhythm and a richness of texture over every surface.  This is further heightened by the wonderful designs and additions of the geometric stained-glass windows, mosaic hearths, wrought iron tracery, wood rafters, and even the custom furniture.  What makes this this a masterful design is that all this detail doesn’t devolve into a cacophony. It avoids any “visual barf” effect more commonly associated with gaudy ‘richness’.

The blocks also illustrate very clearly the proportions and divisions of space that render the house so successful.  Both the sculptural ridges that bisect the room height and the alcoves and offshoots that frame the walls and openings create divisions of space that are felt, giving the rooms multiple layers of scale.  Seated on the couch, the room can be at once snug and even intimate while maintaining a sense of expanse and wonder.  (It’s a bit like being in a small clearing amongst a copse of trees – you’re sheltered, but you can sense the greater world out there)

For me, this is the piece de resistance.  Eliminating a corner of the house, letting what ordinarily would be solid melt into a vista that perfectly frames the downtown.  In a town renown for its movies, that’s superbly well pulled off drama!

The Ennis house by Frank Lloyd Wright.  Definitively one of the great ones.  Fully restored, furnished, and on sale now at this link.

(If you buy it, please invite me over for a visit!)

All images by MLS listings