Posts Tagged ‘house’


Architecture Monday

July 17, 2017

I don’t think it’s a surprise at this point that I’m a fan of Snøhetta.  And this lovely cabin design is just another example why.

Check this out.  There’s a nice play at work here between a long rectangular bar and a playful roof whose base (but not ridge!) has been rotated in relation to that base bar.  This opens up a whole bunch of spatial magic.  Just from the outside, there’s something fun about it, with roof lines going this way and that, and every side looking different and intriguing.  I also like how the play of angles is reinforced by punctuating each end of the rectangular bar by a prominent and solid concrete box that does double duty to store wood or outdoor gear.

All of this really sings by the generous porch, where the interplay creates a deck that opens outward and upward towards the landscape beyond.  Inside, the windows reach all the way to the roof, bringing scads of light in and letting your view wander out.

All throughout the play of angles create little nifty moments and opportunities, from the small covered entry on the one side, and the expanding bedrooms on the other.

At its core, this is a very straightforward three bedroom cabin, designed for a multitude of locations.  With some equally straightforward but carefully considered design moves, Snøhetta has created a cabin far beyond the ordinary.  And, most excitingly, it’s also a prefab, so we can all get one!  Got a spot?  Call in an order and have it shipped your way…

Great, great work.  Gapahuk by Snøhetta.


Architecture Monday

June 26, 2017

This is a fun little idea, taking the idea of shutters and writing it large across the facade of the house.  Opening a few, most, or all playfully changes the look and feel of the house, shifting throughout the day.  Even when completely closed, the cutouts (which derive from symbols used to identify boats and gear in this traditional fishing town) keeps things warm, illuminated at night like a giant tea light lantern.

The reverse, of course, also works, cutting the glare and heat-ray effect from direct sunlight and casting a delightful patterns within.  (Though I do not know why they do not have any furniture…)

House 77 by dIONISO LAB


Architecture Monday

June 5, 2017

Short and sweet tonight, which almost describes this little house in Japan – just swap out short with tall.  Definitively sweet.  A house born of constraints.  When you don’t have much land upon which to build, and said land costs a fortune, you gotta get creative and make the most of what you’ve got and use those very constraints to push yourself to generate beauty.

A long, tall, slightly curving space dominates the house, a cathedral-like space that ends in a remarkable window with an even more remarkable curtain.  Off of this nave spirals the working centres of the house, interspersed with gardens, all equally and generously glazed.  It’s simple, lovely, poetic, and crafts a delightful place to live in a mere 645 square feet (60 square metres).  And at the very top, you sleep in a treehouse.

Nicely done.  O House by Hideyuki Nakayama Architecture.


Architecture Monday

May 29, 2017

Came across this house in a news story the other day, and it caught my interest not only for its Art Deco styling, but moreover for the fact that the current Prime Minister of Canada grew up in that house (!).

There’s a lot of interesting bits to this house.  Let’s start with the art deco styling, for it is a very nice example of said styling.  There’s a good balance between the near-featurelenssness of the blank walls (I say near-featureless, for the oversized blocks themselves become sculptural, and the elaborate articulation around the corners does likewise) and the, well, art:  the statue nearly hidden above the door, the frieze above the window, and the planter box that rests below.  Those big blocks aren’t just treated as building materials either – everything is built up on a modulus by those blocks.  Check out how each element fits within or between the joints, including the mullions of the very grand window.  Overall the proportions are very fine, creating a rhythm and unity between not only the two prominent boxes that make up the front of the house, but also the relationship from body (the door) to entryway to great hall (5/3 and 13/8 – roughly the same, and close to the Fibonacci sequence).  And the small copper flashing that caps the facade rounds out the composition in just the right way.  It’s quiet yet striking at the same time.

At the back, things get interesting.  The terrain drops steeply away, and so the staircase inside leads down, rather than up, to the rest of the house.  It was also built directly pressing against an existing building, happily coexisting and creating its own flair in a way that isn’t diminished by, or diminishes, what was already there.  It doesn’t need a giant estate or tall fences to be a mighty fine building.

Lovely.  Designed by architect Ernest Cormier as his own residence, later bought by then Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau.

(And as another interesting side note… Ernest Cormier also designed the stately Supreme Court of Canada Building (!))


Architecture Monday

May 22, 2017

I went and saw a lecture by one of the members of MAD Architects the other week.  Overall I found their work a bit hit or miss.  They seemed to operate at their best when working on more intimate scales and close to the ground.  Which is exactly what their new residential/mixed-use project in LA is.  They didn’t present it at the lecture, but I like it.

The view as you (would – it’s not yet built) approach tells a lot of the story, the podium of vines and succulents and greenery rising above a transparent facade of shops.  From the back, a path wends from the ground up to the top of the verdant podium, atop which perch a cluster of white villas.  Balconies and windows set into the greenery let you know that these houses have, of a fashion, a basement, set deep into the podium. It’s living space all the way up and down.

But it’s the courtyard, hidden at the centre of the project, where the full story unfolds.  There is a gaggle of housing types here, from townhouses to villas to studios to condos, and they all coalesce and interact around this courtyard.  There’s an intricate interplay of forms here that create little niches and pockets of space for balconies and porches.  Each unit has it’s unique identity while in dialogue with the greater whole.  It looks fun and playful.

This isn’t ready to break ground until October, so I won’t be checking it out on my upcoming trip to LA, but in future years, when it’s done, I’ll definitively swing on by.

8600 Wilshire, by MAD Architects


Architecture Monday

May 15, 2017

A little classicism for your abode?

If you like, here’s a nice (not-so little) farmhouse that pulls from the classical language to create a lovely building.  No columns or fancy friezes here, but the extra-tall movable shutters create a strong vertical pull that nicely reads column-like without falling into pastiche, and plays well with the horizontal siding that covers the rest of the house.

Rising two stories, those shutters are nifty.  They slide over the windows during the hot months, cutting glare and heat (the latter by a significant amount) while still letting natural light through.  Come winter months, they can perform reverse duty during the nights, helping to keep the heat in.

This lets the house be generous with windows in a place where they can be a liability in both summer and winter, which lets there be glorious views of the intense skies and beautiful foggy mornings.  And sometimes a visitor…

Pretty sweet.  A nice use of the principles of the classical form to create a simple farmhouse that treads lightly on the landscape it welcomes inside.  I like it.

Pennsylvania Farmhouse by Cutler Anderson Architects


Architecture Monday

April 10, 2017

Sometimes, when you have a rock, you need to embrace it.

And that’s just what this house does.

Built around this large boulder that was existing on the site, it could be a gimmick house, the rock being no different than a fancy staircase of marble or an out-of-place chandelier.  Instead, there’s a wonderful balance and duality that is created that has the rock both be the metaphorical and physical heart of the home while also, in a way, disappearing into the background.

The simple and elegant frame is the key here.  Lightweight and straightforward, the corrugated metal roofing, the thin steel framing, and especially the increadibly generous amount of glass play off the ruggedness of the rocks both inside and outside of the house.  These clean and repetitive lines are a perfect foil to the natural rough textures of the desert landscape, heightening the experience of one another.  At the same time, the rock within unites with the view of rocks out the window, joining the two together, and it is in this way that the  still proudly jutting rock that the house envelops fades away.  Coupled with the large sliding panels that open up corners of the house completely, the space inside expands outwards towards the mountains on the horizon.


While the house is small, it never feels small.  Beyond the indoor/outdoor connection mentioned above, the elegant built-in furniture keeps everything tidy and makes the most of its small size.  Pinwheeling around the boulder, the furniture here too maintains a duality of keeping the rock at the centre while orienting the activities and attention to the rugged beauty just beyond the building’s confines.

Plus, there’s just something playful about a window that seems to merge effortlessly into the rock, with bright yellow curtains that are also cut to seamlessly snuggle up to the rock face.  That light switch, however, I would not have placed it there…

The conceptual foundation of an architectural design can be anything, even “a rock”.  Follow through with skill and care, and you end up with glorious space that is a delight to be in.

The Frey House II by Albert Frey.