There’s a lot of great design bits here, let’s step through some of them!
Using the natural slope of the site, rather than digging into it or obliterating it, the cantilevered design also creates a double and rather stylish carport, split by the entrance stair. (On which I really cannot help but notice the distinct lack of handrails…)
A combination of voids and extrusions creates a great mix of indoor space and outdoor courtyards and balconies. Besides being lovely, this also allows in tonnes of light.
The main framing of the house is a series of large timbers arranged in a grid pattern that is exposed, creating both a steady rhythm and also a sense of continuity throughout the house and rooms. It’s also a sculptural element in its own right heading down the spine of the house.
The second floor is more like a series of lofts, allowing first floor spaces to not only gain awesome height and light, but it also sets up for cross-level views.
Very nice design. It’s not a big house (it’s about the same as mine) nor an “extravagant” one, but it feels way more expansive and expressive and a joy to live in than the common suburban product.
House in Umegaoka by Container Design
Coming upon this the cube house (that I visited couple of weeks ago) in Toronto is bound to launch some question marks into the air. In the middle of a pretty industrial area, surrounded on many sides by busy roads and freeway bridges (though one side of this triangular property does face old-style connected houses), with nary a front yard or even mailbox… is this really a house? Does someone even live there?
Yes, and yes. And, while it looks in rough shape for its mere 26 years of age, and despite its very odd and rough location, it’s quite cool.
Built back in 1996 and inspired by Piet Blom’s complex of Cubic Houses in Rotterdam, it is only one of the gaggle of them originally planned buildings that was built. As an aside, today its Rotterdam counterparts are super well known and popular and have become a tourist attraction in their own right. But for what’s likely a myriad of reasons it, unfortunately, never took off here. While the base is a bit inelegant, with awkward siding and windows below the cube, it still manages to create a nicely sheltered private balcony, leaves more of the site as open space, and creates an intriguing skyline.
But oh my, the interiors! The pure cubistic form of the exterior belies the space within, as each 42’ cube is split into three floors. And with each cube balancing on its point the space inside is decidedly sculptural, accentuated by the light from the corner windows. This explodes to the extreme on the top floor in each cube, where the ceilings soar upwards to a luminous point. It is not unlike how it would be living in the upper gallery Liebeskind’s addition to the Royal Ontario Museum! (Though this house predates the ROM addition by some years…)
I really dig it, especially those dramatic upper floors. There’s been a redevelopment proposal recently entered into the city for the property, and I really hope that the house will be moved and preserved rather than simply torn down.
The Cube House by Ben Kutner and Jeff Brown.
There’s something cool about rooms that blow away the corners. FLW often did so in his houses, but it’s a fairly common technique that breaks down the confines of a room in a most peculiar way (especially given how accustomed we are to rooms having definite corners). This little house takes it to a very nifty place, a square where all four of its corners can, through pocket sliding doors, be completely dissolved.
With a few more years planting and growth, each bit of the house could open into set of interconnected lush gardens (a hint of which is in the pictures below).
A small house that uses its neat concept to create something above the ordinary.
The None Angle House by Benoit Rotteleur Architecte.
It’s not often I’ll be in wonder at a simple house product, but I am totally enamoured with this delightful fire orb. Running on bio-ethanol, it’s clean, cute, and cozy.
Check them out (along with wall- or ceiling-mounted options) at the aptly named LeFeu.
I guess I’ve got a bit of a house theme going here right now, so might as well keep it rolling with this one. Rather sitting within the landscape, it rests lightly atop it… including with 100% more sheep!
I’ve seen a few houses that use this concept of huge sliding doors to turn the main living spaces into one large breezeway, and that opening to nature can be downright delightful indeed. Especially if, as here, the back deck saddles up to a lovely tableau of mossy rock. Equally nice is that the finish on the inside mirrors the one on the outside, further breaking down the boundaries between the house and the landscape in which it sits.
I don’t know exactly what it is about this room, but I love it. Like living in a sauna, with great clerestory lighting.
A straightforward idea rendered lovely with solid design.
Refuge by CH+QS
I really like this for its simplicity and effectiveness: Take boxes, pinch into truncated A-frames, twist upper part to create sinuous geometry, raise off the ground on a cedar box, and add rooftop decks. What you get is a sinuous set of sculptural apartments that reads both inside and out.
Nicely done. Canyon Drive by Lorcan O’Herlihy Architects [LOHA]
It’s not quite a hobbit hole… but it is an underground house. One that, with its sunken courtyard, perhaps has an even more dramatic entry than a simple round door in the side of a hill.
How this came to be is kind of fun: the owners enjoy hang gliding and from that vantage point gave a lot of thought of how the house would appear from the air. Also, they didn’t want to cut down too many of the avocado trees on the property, and who could blame them? Avocadoes are awesome. Hence, the buried house.
Now, it’s not 100% buried, for one façade does indeed get exposed, with a slope partially carved away to reveal the house just like that hobbit hole front door. Between that face and the entry sub-subterranean courtyard, coupled with its narrow and linear layout and a few choice skylights, there’s plenty of light despite its buried nature. If the slope wasn’t there, I think it would’ve worked equally well (and I might even have preferred it this way) with two sunken courtyards. Definitively very cool how the very green roof is an extension of the field, littered with wildflower bushes and, of course, those avocado trees!
Very nice, a way of inhabiting the field rather than perching on it, living in the soil just as the nature around it.
Aguacates House by Francisco Pardo Arquitecto
Now this is one heck of a design constraint! A super narrow and super long trapezoidal lot in Tokyo, that is further constrained by setbacks from the property lines. Nothing like that kind of limitation to get the creative juices flowing, and the resulting lantern of a house is one nifty solution.
It’s cool enough on the outside, but to really get what’s going on within I find a section through the building tells the story the best:
The big move is to place most of the living spaces underground where the setback didn’t apply, thus maximizing the available width (still only about 10’ wide!). A long and linear (ok, natch, how could it be anything but long and linear on this property?) kitchen occupies the middle of the basement, with a living room up front and the washroom in back. Upstairs is the bedroom with (again) a linear hallway leading to the back door. What makes this all work, however, is that the building skin is made of translucent panels, and the floors above are of metal mesh, allowing light to suffuse and penetrate all the way down to the basement living areas.
Unfortunately, I can’t find any photos looking towards the living room or the bedroom area, which is too bad as those are likely some of the most powerful places within the house. But the experience of being in this luminous cathedral-ceiling like house has got to be pretty neat no matter where you are.
I love it, a great example of taking something that seems unusable and turning it into something of wonder. Great work.
Lucky Drops by Atelier Tekuto
They say California is in love with their cars… which leaves lots of extra car and road bits around… so why not get playful and use them into your architecture?
Road signs for fences and railings and siding, hatchback glass for awnings, station wagon tails for a a gate, plus repurposed sheet metal and more!
Something fun by Leger Wanaselja Architecture
A play of light and shadow, a patter of falling rain, a breeze that flows throughout, and a house that organizes itself around a covered courtyard pool, with geometric perforated concrete panels that lets all the above happen.
And geometric boldness pretty much rules the day all throughout the house. There’s lots of cool stuff going on, as the house pulls and stretches this way and that to catch the light or a breeze. Or to catch a tree, embracing a towering royal palm tree that becomes another courtyard.
The great hall, no surprise, is really the centerpiece, opening without barrier to the pool with the three skylights (two angled to catch the morning sun, the other to catch the evening) being just the beginning as the concrete screen above the pool further lets the light dance about. As a bonus, the cross-ventilation from this open screen above the pool, plus those on the front and back of the house, keeps it cool and pleasant and lets everyone be late into the evening before any lights need to be turned on.
Great designs embrace their context, and this house does so in spades. Great work, and looks like a very fun place to live.
Casa Delpín by Nataniel Fúster