Author Archives - Courtney
Located in the woodlands of Canada, La Bincole is a stunning house that combines rustic styles and traditions with modern design and building practices, all thanks to NatureHumaine.
Rooted in ideas of timelessness and minimalism, this cabin is perched picturesquely on a mountain. With its angular shape and unique appearance through the trees, the dwelling lets its beauty shine without detracting from the breathtaking natural area surrounding it.
For safety, this home is anchored into the raw, rocky foundation upon which it sits. This Makes if a safe place to be even in the harshest mountain snowfalls so typical of Canadian winters. It might look like a small place, but it’s solid and sturdy too.
The home consists of two main modules. In the first of those, you’ll find spacious living and common areas, while the second module houses two wonderfully lit bedrooms. What’s really interesting about the modules of the house, however, are the angles. Designer built the floors and ceilings to mimic the way the slope the house is built upon cascades downward, giving the sensation that the house might really be leaning into that stunning view despite its genuinely solid nature.
Perhaps even more impressive than the angles of the floor and ceiling is the strategic nature of the windows. On the south side, the home’s windows are intended to give visitors the best possible view without catching all the sun and getting too hot inside. If you turn west from there, you’ll find a windowed door from the kitchen onto an outdoor wooden platform, both of which showcase the beautiful mountain sunset perfectly.
On the outside, the house was built using a burnt wood facade that adds a weather beaten look to the newly finished structure. The natural colour scheme and appearance on the outside is only emphasized by the pre-woven hemlock planks you’ll find in partnership with the burned wood.
Inside the house, all other windows not mentioned previously do a stellar job of showcasing the view surrounding the entirety of the house as well. In fact, the large windows in the family room, living room, and master bedroom, are so crisp and lovely that they almost feel panoramic. This gives most spaces in the house a feeling of inviting tranquility. This is what the designers called a “contemplative space”.
If you can tear your eyes away from the windows and the view for a moment, you’ll notice a floor made of ceramic with a concrete finish. The consistency with which this kind of flooring was used throughout the house was intended by designers to “unite all the spaces” and remind those standing on it of the solid, natural rock foundations upon which they re really standing, down underneath the cabin into the mountain itself.
Photographs by: Adrien Williams
The stunningly minimalist and cleanly designed OAV offices, recently completed by Fran Silvestre Arquitectos, are located in the heart of Valencia, Spain. This office space is small but effectively built, with a rectangular floor plan that makes communication between parties easy and open.
The OAV office are built in the centre of a residential building, but they’re laid out such that they don’t take up too much space from the building’s tenants. The offices are wonderfully open concept but they still span two rooms splitting off the main hallway.
Designers laid this office out with the idea of “working up against the wall” in mind. This meant that they wanted to keep work spaces organized to one area while leaving the rest open for communication, meetings, breaks, and more social aspects of work that might take place outside one’s desk.
Aesthetically, the decor of the office area is minimalist and industrial, sticking to whites and greys in colour scheme and shining surfaces or concrete structures. Besides the central storage unit, shelving and so on is hidden behind discreet sliding doors in the hallway, keep everything very neat and organized looking indeed.
The organization of work desks and valuing of open space isn’t the only thing that keeps the OAV offices feeling spacious despite the smaller area. Designs affixed lights in high places, letting clean, white light beans shine down from the ceiling to reflect off the clean surfaces and keep things bright and wide open looking.
Between the clean lines, minimalist materials, open spaces, and emphasis on organization, the OAV offices present a clutter free space that’s nearly free of distraction, letting employees serve their customers with a discreet sense of tranquility.
Photographs by: Diego Opazo
If you ask us, the stunning Brick Aperture house designed by Kris Grennan Architecture is aptly named! Like cameras of auld, its square shape and strategic window placement allows light to flow into the structure in a way that’s sure to brighten each day.
Located in Sydney, Australia, Aperture House is a single story dwelling that sits amidst a small row of period houses. It stands out from the others as a freestanding cottage, providing great contrast along the street since the row is bookended by large commercial buildings. Despite having been recently refurbished, several of the more classic details in the home still remain authentic, showing off historic looking features that are typical of Inner West Sydney.
The read of the house is comprised entirely of stunning glass windows, from roof to ground. This adds a more modern look to that angle of the dwelling, letting the front blend a little more into the aesthetic of the street. To ensure that the house doesn’t get too warm or bright for comfort in direct sunlight, the yard is flanked with several stunning, large trees that provide just the right amount of shade for comfort. They also improve the view out the kitchen and master bedroom windows!
In their redesign, architects worked with the primary goal of providing considerably more floor space than existed before. Though they wanted to keep the front of the house, with its more traditional rooms, largely the same, they worked to make the back of the house slightly more modernized and open concept, letting light spread throughout and making the whole place feel much bigger and more breathable. This process was helped along by the addition of several gorgeous skylights that make the ceilings feel high and free.
To balance out the modern feel inside the house, design teams stuck to a more traditional looking brick finish on the outside. Combined with the three chimneys of the original house and the very square shape, this red brick saves the structure from looking overly minimalist and adds a homey touch. They even made sure to use local recycled bricks to reduce the project’s environmental impact.
The bring theme we’ve mentioned above actually continues inside the house as well! Material continuity is achieved without detracting too much from the clean, white aesthetic of the modern looking interior redesign through simple brick painting. This lets the home feel updated while still enabling a visual dialogue between Aperture House and the other houses along its street. This was important to designs because it upheld the local tradition of masterful brick craftmanship that is so evident in the heritage structures of the surrounding neighbourhood.
To suit the painted white bricks on the inside, the updated parts of the house stick to a sleek, simple colour scheme. The white is speckled with pops of stark black and natural wood accents, just to save it from looking too overly modern compared to the outside of the house. In combination with the red brick and windows, the overall aesthetic is one of successful redesign and satisfactory upcycling, rather than replacing the old with the new entirely.
By Courtney • Nov 15, 2018
In Helsinki, Finland, SevilPeach recently completed a transformative refurbishment in order to create a high concept new office for Artek HQ Helsinki. The new office is located on 4th floor of classic 19th century structure that was once an elegant apartment building. It is conveniently located in the heart of the city’s centre, surrounded by amenities. Once comprised of small rooms that say off long, dark hallways, the layout has been restructured for a brighter, more open concept space.
For architects and designers, the challenge was to transform the environment into one they believed would promote democratic interaction, productivity, positivity, spirit, and a little bit of company and client product placement. The team also wanted to increase the level of sunlight flowing into the space.
SevilPeach and their team worked shockingly fast on this project. They had only 7 months to finish the space entirely, from conception to completion, so efficiency in their process was key. Although they gave careful consideration to construction and detailing, some decorative elements were left with an appealing raw or “as found” quality. Rather than looking unfinished, however, these characteristics simply make the finished space look authentic.
First, crews stripped the space back to its barest structure and raised the ceilings in order to let in more light, allowing the space to feel open and airy. The goal was to make a blank canvas out of something with a history, taking it back to a clean slate state for designers to build something new on.
Now, the finished office contains two meeting rooms and five intimate work spaces. There is also a welcoming break area featuring comfortable seating, a kitchen, and even a library. This particular spot allows employees mental rest time without feeling bored.
The office’s hallways have been restructured such that communication and movement between work spaces is simple and effective. More access to outside areas and sunlight has been made a clear priority. These two things in combination, as well as the absence of unnecessary doors, makes the place feel free flowing and social.
Open work spaces and storage units containing diverse supplies let workers complete assigned tasks however they need to, encouraging them to stay focused by letting them go about their day in whatever way is most comfortable for them. Bright, solid primary colours and a combination of uncluttered, efficient areas and soft, comfortable surfaces makes the offices feel both productive but also habitable. It’s really a stylish blend of exposed and white painted industrial elements and friendly, flexible furnishings.
The formal meeting room continues the curtained theme. Long, richly neutral curtains give it privacy and a sense of calm but also an air of unique professionalism. Putting curtains in the place of doors, however, avoids cutting it off from the rest of the space entirely or making it feel secluded and intimidating. The curtains also give the place great acoustics.
Furniture styles throughout the office are largely reclaimed, wooden, or neutral. This creates an interesting contrast with the bright colours and industrial surfaces elsewhere. Products from the different companies and clients interacting in the space are represented in its decor, giving the area a harmonious contemporary interior style.
Perhaps the office’s best feature is the explicit inclusion of art pieces, which work in partnership with the break room library to provide employees and visitors with fantastic access to education, resources, and artistic content. These things enhance their experience in the space.
Photographs by: Tuomas Uusheimo Photography
By Courtney • Nov 14, 2018
Located in Funabashi, Japan, the Triple Stilt House is a beautiful new family home, recently completed by Archidance. According to designers, the original intent of this project was to harness ideas of bodily expression in order to create a home that blends space with experience. This concept was carried out with a specific target audience in mind. Designers wanted the home to appeal to educated people who like to think about the world and structures around them but who are not architects themselves. The house was a collaborative effort, making it a fantastic blend of style thanks to the unique work and input of each architect, designer, and team member.
Within the concept of including experience in the structure, this house takes the subtropical climate it was built in into account. Designers created a semi-exterior living space with a unique shape thanks to the way certain portions of the house sit raised on stilts (hence the home’s name). Being able to pass effortlessly between outdoor and indoor areas incorporates fresh air and sunshine into the overall experience of being there.
After dark, the open layout of the home makes it resemble a Japanese lantern from the outside once the lights are turned on. The real beauty of this, however, is that the house actually takes almost no energy to run. This is thanks to a large but subtly placed solar panel and a fuel cell cogeneration system. These two features aren’t the only environmental factors designers took into account with this home, though. Despite the fact that the house isn’t located near the sea, architects noted that the stilted structure of the house reduces risks of damage or injury in the event of water based natural disasters, like hurricane flooding or tsunami.
Aesthetically, the house bears a contrast between its cleanly concrete exterior and its light, comfortable interior. The structure of the rooms is wonderfully open concept, making the whole place feel big and airy. Light woods are heavily featured, meshing well with light neutral colour schemes that keep things feeling inviting and relaxed.
From the street, this unconventional looking building brings a smile to the face of any passerby. The structure, besides simply looking interesting, bears an air of being quite welcoming and perhaps even intriguing. The exterior spaces are built such that family members might use them for all kinds of different purposes and activities, making the house look like a true home rather than just a piece of architectural art.
In every room, you’ll find a stunning abundance of light. Large windows work in partnership with the house’s semi-exterior floor plan to ensure that even the dullest weather brings a bright day to this space.
Take a look at the floor plans of Triple Stilt House:
Photographs by: Momo Kitagawa
By Courtney • Nov 13, 2018
The Sa da Bandeira building is a stunning apartment structure that blends old and new. Located in downtown Porto in Portugal, it was recently completed by PF Architecture Studio. It now contains six lovely 700 square metre apartments that feel bright and welcoming in every room.
Because it was previously a commercial service building, Sa da Bandeira has actually never been inhabited. It might look like the kind of typically beautiful 19th century residence that is so characteristic of downtown Porto from the outside, but the interior has a unique history. During its redesign, architects preserved several original decorative structure elements despite also adding new features. For example, the wood floors, oval skylights, and elaborately framed doorways were simply cleaned up and built around, incorporating them into the new apartments.
In addition to remodelling the existing interior, designers expanded one floor to create six newly renovated units. The building now features two apartments on each of its three floors. One of the most evidently unique features, noticeable immediately upon entering the building, is that the original entryway staircase was kept and redone. The apartments on the first floor harness the classic romanticism of 19th century architecture, while newly expanded floors higher up have a more simplified, modern feel.
Inside the units, the apartments were decorated with a pleasing visual aesthetic in mind. Designers aimed to maintain that original romantic atmosphere but also worked carefully to create a look that’s intended to be contemporary, eclectic, and strongly emotional. Some rooms bear patterned floors and graphic sections of wall paper or old fashioned looking alcoves. Others heavily feature pristine white surfaces, neutrally coloured furnishings, and accent pieces from the natural world. These balance the presence of wood in the floors, counters, and tabletops perfectly.
No matter which unit you visit, you’ll find wonderfully tall framed windows at the front of the building. These provide you with a lovely view of the street while also looking grand in their exterior from the outside.
Take a look at the floor plans for the various units:
Photographs by: Joao Morgado