Posts Tagged ‘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

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Architecture Monday

July 2, 2018

This is a level of playful niftiness I can totally get behind.  It’s also a great thought provoker on how we can design more smartly and use less space/resources/etc by designing with (still playful!) flexibility in mind.  All in a small garden house.

Four elegantly designed wood structures interlock on a wood deck; two of the structures are quite solid, two are greenhouse-like windows from floor to the top of the pointy roof.  We can do the math, but there’s five basic configurations that alternate the position of shade and light, solid and void, view and privacy, and even open versus enclosed.

There isn’t much more than that, but there needn’t be.  With things closed up, it’s a cozy cabin perfect for huddling close to the fireplace on a cool winter’s night.  Push the glazed ends out, and you’ve got room for a ginormous dinner party.  Flip it around, and your daily living space takes in all the beauty of spring or fall.  Sleep under the stars, or sleep curled up in the corner.  Come summer, the house splits and you’ve got patio living at its finest.  Or zebra it all.  Rearrange to respond to whatever flies your fancy that day.

Very cool.  And very nicely done too.  I really like the intricate and beautiful wood trusses that form the greenhouse portions, and there’s something equally elegant in the pairing of the wood siding and steel roof in the cabin portions.  The wood stove is designed to mesh well (and be safe!) in all configurations, even providing an outdoor cook spot when the centre is open.  And like the house itself, the lot is both expansive and nestled, with a pond on one side and a copse of trees on the other.

I like this aplenty.  The Garden House by Caspar Schols.

Also, bonus video!

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Architecture Monday

June 25, 2018

The first word that comes to mind in seeing this house is “lantern.”  Maybe because of the warm glow amongst the dramatic skies of northern Nova Scotia, but also because of its vertically stretched proportions making it appears it has been set, gingerly, down on the land.  It catches the eye and marks a place without needing to invade or dominate the landscape.

Surrounded by woods and with views of the Gulf of Saint Lawrence, the board pattern that adorns its face matches the trees that encompass it in both colour and thinness.  I love the updated interpretation of the traditional east-Canadian windbreak, rendered in heavy, rusting, steel that marries well with the marbled patina of the wood slats.

Inside, all that height is put to good use, with walls and a mezzanine becoming like freestanding objects within the lantern.  The narrow strips of window and skylights casting a playful air throughout the space, balancing the large windows that let the view flow out towards the water on the other.

Well proportioned, embracing vernacular architecture, and ensuring a light touch that nonetheless creates something special and a joy to be in.  My biggest add or alternate would have been to add a hearth.  Overall, a wonderful cabin retreat.

Rabbit Snare Gorge by Omar Gandhi Architect and Design Base 8