Author Archives - Courtney
Golf House, built by BAM! Arquitectura in stunning Belen de Escobar, Argentina, is an impressive stacked dwelling built with the aesthetic of a businessman whose primary hobby is golfing in mind!
Besides modelling the house after the style of a successful person who might golf in his spare time, designers of Golf House worked with another main goal: to explore the possibilities of material and volume and create a space that hits the perfect balance mark between opposing concepts. This resulted in an impressive structure that, according to the architects, exists in the spaces between heavy and light, closed and open, industrial and comfortable, impressive and simple.
The overall effect is an outward structure that stands out against its surrounding landscape without overpowering it. This is nice since the Golf House, unsurprisingly, is actually built on a natural terrain that gives it a lovely view of a golf course with its own lagoon.
Despite the heavy presence of concrete and the near severity in visuals created by the slate colours, the straight lines, and the clean, modern surfaces, the house does not feel cold or unwelcome. Instead, the strong presence of nature both in- and outside the home gives it an atmosphere of comfort and relaxation. For example, several glass walls open entirely so that concrete indoor spaces lead into green spaces filled with natural light and light breezes. This creates space, blurs limits, and allows the landscape to feel like its pouring into the manmade structure in a beautiful way.
The way the top floor of the house appears stacked on top of the concrete base serves to allow visitors to take in the view from a new height, providing them with a whole new perspective on the surrounding area. At the same time, the very square shape of not only the building itself but the windows therein frames the view in a way that focuses their vision and lets them appreciate the aesthetic contrast between the rolling green terrain and the business-like spaces in the home.
Every space in Golf House has been carefully planned out, placed, and decorated. Designers state that the goal here was to create a feeling of receiving a tour of the home as you walk through it; perhaps one that mirrors the owner’s daily experiences. First, you’re greeted with a formidable structure that has a modern, solid looking entryway and simplistic decor leading away from the front of the house. As you travel back and up, however, you see how these business-like elements of home and life melt away into more open rooms with more natural decor elements, blending golf and nature into the aesthetic the way hobbies and downtime complete the life of a person once they’ve left work.
This sense is particularly notable if you pay attention to the windows as you make your way through the house. You’ll notice how their structure and placement changes. Small skylights that lighten darker, concrete spaces give way to larger, more frequent windows filled with sunlight until you’ve reached the back of the house. On either floor, you’re faced with entirely glass walls that make the lovely natural view feel like it’s pouring into the house. The windows give you a full progression!
Part of the reason the modern looking house doesn’t appear to entirely interrupt its lovely green surroundings is the raw state of the materials that were used to build it. Designers conceived the house in a way that allowed them to leave material elements, such as concrete, wood, and glass, in a nearly pure state, making them low maintenance and linking the spaces inside to the landscape outside.
You might not notice on first glance, but the roof of this modern looking, concrete building actually might be the element that ties it into its surrounding landscape most! This is because it was built with green sustainability in mind, so it actually contributes to the running of the house. The “green” roof features local vegetation growing right on its surface. This brings all the benefits of increased oxygen production and CO2 absorption while it prevents the overheating of the roofs, reduces the temperatures inside on warm days, and provides fantastic thermal insulation in the colder seasons.
Photography by: Javier Augustin Rojas
Vila Ipojuca House, created and designs by 23 SUL, is a beautiful stacked structure located in Vilo Ipojuca, Brazil that feels simultaneously like a functional residence and a stunning holiday escape.
According to designers, this refurbishment of an old residential building was created explicitly with the needs of a couple of creative industry professionals and their young daughter in mind. Within their redesign, architects strove primarily to increase the amount of natural lighting and ventilation in the house, thereby providing all the spaces throughout with a freeing feeling of fluidity.
Rather than doing away with older spaces from the original building all together, designers chose to take advantage of their slightly more closed of structure by turning them into a music studio. The rest of the residence (i.e. rooms that had previously been used as background spaces rather than primary living spaces) were refurbished to be more functional and comfortable for dwelling in.
In order to open the spaces outside the home’s heart up and give them a feeling of free movement, multiple spaces were integrated into each other, creating a sense of multi-purpose. The kitchen, for example, was built as a space that flows into the living room, which in turn freely extends into an outside area with a small swimming pool. This lets family members and visitors flow comfortably throughout the house in a way that feels uninhibited and good for communication.
To further bright up the spaces surrounding the darker rooms at the heart of the layout, pink granite floors were installed along with light plywood panelled furniture. These contrast well with the concrete blocks and stark white walls. Several glass panels and sliding doors were also added, letting balconies open right up into the breeze, which is comfortable in the daytime or at night.
Designers also gave residents the option of opening up several rooms for fluidity or closing them off for privacy; this is achieved by sliding sets of shelving from place to place on rails installed in the ceiling. The guest room, for example, can be opened up and made into a relaxing reading nook or social place when no one is visiting and then closed off via sliding shelves to make it more of a private getaway for guests when they’re ready to sleep.
As if these features weren’t unique enough, designers actually used metallic reinforcements building into the existing concrete of the original house to create a whole, brand new third floor! Here, they constructed a barbecue and outdoor eating area, a laundry space that doesn’t interrupt the flow in the rest of the house, and an experimental atelier that might be used for all manner of things, making it an extremely diverse space. The effect on the outer structure is to make the stacked floors look almost like a treehouse getaway in the middle of a city.
Photography by: Pedro Kok
By Courtney • Nov 22, 2018
Located in Tel Aviv-Yaso, Israel, The breathtaking Pavilion House by Irene Goldberg + Pitsou Kedem Architects is a stunning open concept dwelling that beautifully combines relaxing outdoor scenes with indoor living spaces for a zen atmosphere and natural aesthetic.
This wide, one-level home sits on a platform that is slightly raised above the ground. This leaves space for an underground level, giving the whole thing the look of something like a “tent on stilts”, according to architects. The concrete ceiling is held in place by metal beams and these are what the main space of the house is built around. Far from looking overly industrial, however, the house is sunny and filled with a pleasant breeze thanks to countless wide windows in the walls and “ribbon windows” neat the tops of the beams, which make the ceiling appear to float instead of seeming heavy.
Perhaps the most unique element of the house is the way natural light emanates into the main rooms through a rectangular courtyard built into the heart of the house. This courtyard section is completely open to the sky and breeze. The spaces surrounding it feature glass doors that can open entirely, giving plenty of air and natural sunlight to even the basement level.
In order to delineate the house’s different areas effectively and save it from looking entirely open concept, designers built four thick, concrete walls to make up the outer facade of the house. This balances all of the interior natural light and makes it feel like a private have at the heart of the house near the pool. For visual interest, the facade walls are covered in a thing layer of slate planks which overlap slightly, as though they’ve been piled high to create the wall.
Inside, the slate, concrete, and glass elements are balanced with wood accents and features that suit all the natural light that pours in, perfectly balancing out the otherwise modern feel. Of course, the most intriguing element of the house’s layout is the pool, which features entirely glass sides and sits above ground, making swimmers look as though they might be floating tranquilly in thin air.
Photography by: Amit Geron
By Courtney • Nov 21, 2018
The incredibly unique and visually impressive Studio Loft by Yerce Architecture + zaas is a redesign project in Turkey that involved turning and old residential building into a stunning new photo studio and artistic workspace.
What’s perhaps most unique about this transformation from apartment to photography studio, private house, and art gallery is that the new interior takes advantage of the original loft structure, rather than abolishing it or changing the layout inside completely. Because it is located on a busy residential street in a heavily populated area, the goals of the redesign included modernizing the space in order to make it more productive, but also to do so without interrupting the quite, green street outside.
Though the photo studio aspect of the space’s functionality was the main priority, designers agreed that the apartment had a lot of potential and that they should harness that and arrange it in such a way that the whole flat could also be used for much more. While it was integral to create a space in which the client, a well known photographer in Izmir, could both live and work very comfortably, all parties quickly agreed that integrating the concept of art exhibition into the space could be an important aspect of its purpose as well.
Inside, the ground floor was built to fulfill all the needs of a functional photographic studio, with the added bonus of space for photo exhibition, meaning the client might display his own works or host events to display the works of other artists. The upper floors, however, were reserved for a more unique purpose that isn’t always found your average photo studio. Upstairs, visitors will find a peaceful office space, a fully functional kitchen, a cozy sleeping space, and quiet resting zones. The whole place has a wonderful atmosphere of productive work and self care balances.
Because the original goal of the space was to maximize creative areas for photo shooting, the upstairs floor still has a mezzanine space that might serve as a workspace as well. This is part of why the loft structure of the original apartment was kept true; the loft allows working, living, and exhibiting spaces to be intertwined in a way that’s at once organized and calm. It’s a true multi-functional area with a permeable atmosphere that works with the ebbs and flows of life, work, and the goals and needs that change along with each.
In order to really emphasize the exhibition aspect of the new studio, designers made sure the lovely glass walls out front open the ground floor right into the sidewalk. This creates a wonderful fusion of the inner workspace with the urban space outside on the bustling street and plays on the curiosity of passers by to keep the exhibition space lively. Closing the folding glass doors establishes boundaries with the public once more to keep the living space private and cozy when necessary. This fluid structure also gives the gallery a comfortable, social setting rather than feeling stuffy, formal, and removed from the world like some artistic galleries.
Photography by: Emin Emrah Yence
By Courtney • Nov 20, 2018
Located in Dulwich in the United Kingdom, Tactile House is a lovely split-level family home that recently underwent a found floor extension, a loft conversion, and some interior sprucing up, all thanks to the visions and precision of Thomas & Spiers.
According to the designs, the ground floor of Tactile House is a veritable playground of textures. Part of their goal with this structure was to combine a variety of materials and styles in a way that would blend well with and prioritize interactive family living. This can be seen in action in the way a semi-closed playroom with a colourful set of storage drawers built right into the wall is set aside from but still visible and accessible from the kitchen and family room through a slatted wall.
Throughout the house, visitors will see all kinds of materials at play. These include but are not limited to painted steel, exposed brickwork, varying ceiling levels and textures, plywood, and rope used as curtains. The goal of using so many materials in different ways was to establish different areas of the house to be specifically (and quite obviously) for playing, resting, eating, entertainment, and so on.
On the upper floors, the bedrooms and bathrooms are quite modern. These were reconfigured to appear modern but still cozy, as evidenced in the contrast between the glass walls and the cozy reading alcove built into one wall. Everywhere you go inside the house you’ll find an emphasis on the ability of natural light to reach just about every space. This aim can be seen particularly well in the kitchen and living room where the entire wall is comprised of a collage of windows. This wall keeps up the priority on designating space without cutting anything off by making the entire stunning backyard visible from where one might relax or eat a meal.
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