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|David Simister Architect||
Good progress after only five weeks on site, bad weather and floods!
Built as an escape from everyday life, this off-grid cabin by Maguire and Devine Architects celebrates the Tasmanian landscape and is a reminder of simple pleasures. This off-grid modern-day log cabin draws inspiration from the client’s past, who was born in Taiwan and grew up experiencing Japanese architecture built during the occupation. Through this, she developed a strong love for minimalist design and envisioned a holiday home where “stuff” would not clutter her time of relaxation. The brief was to “design a building as a piece of furniture,” in which all furniture was to be built in, aside from the low dining table and mattress in the loft bedroom.
Architect: Maguire + Devine Architects
Location: Alonnah, Bruny Island
This post-war end of terrace house has been completely refurbished and extended with a contemporary loft and a modern rear extension by its architect owner. The project delivers a high quality transformation inspired by the post-war utilitarian design of the original building. Purchased in May 2017 we immediately set about a full refurbishment and extension project which included the full landscaping to both front and back gardens. In terms of massing we extended out the back as far as was reasonable and created level access to an excavated garden. The loft has been fully extended with a crisp modern full-width flat dormer.
Keeping true to mid-century modern ideals simple lines, pure form and function prevail. The design authentically expresses the construction and materiality without decorative ornamentation. The ground floor extension is built in a light cream brick, which contrasts with the dark blue painted original brickwork. Glazing to the garden is slim-lined, full height and width, and expressed as a plane, with thin capping details to disguise mass. The spruce deck and pine rafter warm-deck roof construction is exposed and co-ordinated with discreet lighting, making positive architecture from the original challenging ceiling heights. The original floor level was excavated down one step and carried through in to the garden for a seamless connection.
The extension forms part of an open plan kitchen, dining and living room, with a tough long-lasting concrete polished floor. The kitchen is simple white cabinetry with shop sprayed flush panel doors. A custom oak island forms the centrepiece to the room with Flos Aim pendant lights above. Utility services are hidden away behind bi-fold doors, clad in painted vertical tongue and groove timber, which is a continuation of the under stair storage, housing cloaks and shoe storage.
The vertical circulation has been enhanced with a new custom painted steel screen guarding and balustrade, inspired by mid-century geometric room dividers. This in turn is co-ordinated with a crafted ‘journey’ of connected birch ply elements; a coat store (adjacent to the re-located front door), a ceiling cladding detail and the main element - a bespoke stair case to the loft. The circulation remains compact and efficient, these elements bring a sense of materiality and joy.
The rooms throughout the house have been treated individually with colour or materiality; dark green to the sitting room, pastel shades to bedrooms, unpainted plaster to the master bedroom, with tile and terrazzo to the bathrooms. The front sitting room was extensively refurbished with a new projecting box window seat, log burning stove, fitted cabinetry and a log store. The dark colour emphasises the cosy sanctuary and the room offers a contrast to the light-filled family orientated spaces of the home.
The architect (Hyoungnam Lim, Eunjoo Roh in studio_GAON) writes: The House of Prajna seems like a vessel heading for the woods, embraced by the forest, with the pentagon shape of building site reminding of that of ship. On the bow of ship shape, a persimmon tree over hundred year old branches its arms toward the large sky with hollowed trunk. Although this house is a result of intentional design, I feel like it is already been completed by thousands of interactions of invisible components. Every time I visit, I feel like appreciating the work of someone else’s.
The house is located in Gwacheon near Seoul. Gwacheon has been playing a role of government city, and praised for an ideal place for living. Other houses in the district, line along the street a bit apart from each other, and the surrounding woods enclave the town like a blanket. The site feels cozy.
At first, the owner of the house, a middle aged couple, said in tranquil but clear tone that they have four family members, have a dog and want to have a separate workroom distinctive from the living place. They bought the land ten years ago, and other lots around the site have been already filled out. Lastly, they wanted to preserve the awesome persimmon tree.
Hoedemaker Pfeiffer have designed a new home in the Pacific Northwest that was inspired by a treasured stone and wood home lost to fire decades earlier in the hills of Appalachia.The architects designed a main house and a guest house that take full advantage of the sweeping views of Puget Sound in Washington State, with the main home sited on a small plateau high on top of a steeply-sloping hillside. A pair of thick stone walls in the main home separates the main level into public and private realms and flanks a central stone staircase. Light wood, a sloped ceiling, and plenty of windows, ensure that the interior is bright and welcoming. There’s a built-in window seat for taking in the views, while doors connect the interior with the deck. The deck provides expansive views of Puget Sound. The master bedroom in main house has a similar design to the kitchen, with a window seat, a high sloped ceiling, and access to a deck. Also in the master bedroom is a simple, contemporary room divider that separates the closet from the sleeping area. The master bath occupies the stone bar at the rear of the main house but projects beyond to afford a view to the water from the bath and shower. The guest house features a dining room that was conceived as a three-sided glass object floating in a forest of trees. Below the dining room, there’s an alfresco dining area that’s lit from lights underneath the cantilevered dining room above.
KOTO [ KO-TO ] The traditional Finnish word for ‘cosy at home’ is made up of the design husband and wife design duo Johnathon Little and Zoe Little. Having spent the past decade in Oslo where Johnathon previously worked for Snohetta, Johnathon and Zoe wanted to acknowledge, not only the enduring minimal aesthetics of Scandinavian design they became attached to but the Nordic lifestyle and the value of a healthy work-life balance.
‘We are creating beautiful small buildings that allow people to connect with nature and embrace outdoor living.' Our ambition has been to create a lifestyle brand that is centred around the Nordic concept Friluftsliv (pronounced free-loofts-liv), an expression that translates to “open-air living”.
Norwegian poet Ibsen described the term as the value of spending time in the remote outdoors for spiritual and mental wellbeing. KOTO are challenging how we think about buildings in the landscape from every angle, from construction to how they are used and the environmental impact at every step along the way. We have created an ‘off the shelf’ housing solution, that addresses the demands of our changing mindsets towards house buying.
‘They are a sculptural interpretation of the small buildings that you see across Europe, from Bothys to Alpine huts and Norwegian Hytte. These small pitched roof buildings are an integral part of the landscape and provide warmth, shelter and an opportunity to fully immerse in nature. That is the heart of the ethos at KOTO .'
Partnering with manufacturers Kudos has brought an exceptional level of experience and craftsmanship to the finished product and builds on years of their development of low energy, timber frame buildings. Koto’s modular concept allows for flexible living. 1, 2, 3 or 4-bed combinations with additional ‘add-ons’ including outdoor showers and saunas. Thinking about each living space as a separate design exercise has allowed us to create unique experiences in each space.
Throughout the buildings, expansive concealed storage walls maximise floor space and maintain the clean aesthetic. The space is flooded by natural light, cosy nooks and generous bespoke window seats, maximising use of space whilst connecting the user to the outside world. Although working with a relatively small footprint, the tall diagonal ridge opens up the spaces dramatically.
Each bedroom is designed to feel like a private retreat within the landscape, key pieces of furniture all from Hay have been curated to create a calm, minimal environment. Occupants can enjoy flexible space, to sleep, to relax and to disconnect. Features include concealed storage walls and fold down beds. Even though each ‘pod’ boasts a large glazed facade, they can be orientated in such a fashion they will always remain private. Continuing the Nordic aesthetic, each cabin has a Morsoe wood burning stove and neutral interiors create calm and elegant spaces.
The interiors in the ensuite bathroom give a striking contrast. Dark colours and copper Lusso fixtures bring a feeling of ‘noir opulence’, enveloping and awakening all senses. The black outdoor shower and add-on sauna cabin all add to the ‘spa' experience. The collection of KOTO buildings within the landscape can be ‘added to (or taken from)', reconfigured to the needs of the client and the constraints of the site. They are designed to last a lifetime and can even be relocated to a totally different site years later.
Photography - Joe Laverty
architect: mw works
location: Key Peninsula
area: 2,200 sq ft
photography: Jeremy Bittermann
Nestled into a forested slope along the eastern edge of the Case Inlet, this small retreat opens to a western view of the Olympic Mountains and the Puget Sound. Anchored by a weathered cedar clad bedroom wing, a bold concrete cantilever projects the living and dining into the forest and toward the view. An ipe deck slips from inside the kitchen into a meadow to the south, separated only by large sliding glass doors extending the sense of interior directly to the outdoors. A broad flat roof hovers high above the living spaces creating the feeling that one is sitting outdoors amidst the trees. Smaller, thoughtfully placed apertures define the exterior of the bedroom volume, along with a single large opening belonging to the master bath to give the users a ritual of bathing within the forest. A balance of simple lines and rugged low maintenance materials, this modest retreat is a welcome sanctuary from the city.
American studio Walker Warner Architects has created an auxiliary dwelling for a northern California residence that consists of gabled volumes wrapped in reclaimed wood.
The project, Portola Valley Barn, is located in the town of Portola Valley, which lies just south of San Francisco. Built on a four-acre (1.6-hectare) property with a main residence, the new building houses guest quarters, an office, and spaces for entertaining and relaxing.
Encompassing 5,200 square feet (483 square metres), the dwelling consists of gabled forms that stretch across a clearing in a grove of trees. The volumes are loosely arranged around a terrace and verdant lawn. "The compound comprises three primary structures – a spacious home office, a home theatre and a luxurious guest suite – connected by interstitial entryways containing a kitchen and powder room," described Walker Warner Architects, a San Francisco-based studio.
The landscape was designed by Walker Warner Architects in collaboration with Janell Denler Hobart. Plantings include California lilacs, coffee berry and strawberry trees.
Photography is by Matthew Millman.
In Villa Rotonda, completed July 2010, the archetypical “house with saddle roof” has been abstracted to its vernacular essentials. The design of this house in Goirle is a collaboration of architects Pieter and Thomas Bedaux of Bedaux De Brouwer Architects. In the design they quietly continue the legacy of their grandfather Jos. Bedaux who started the firm in 1937. Yet, the building also showcases the minimalist modernist twist which they are better known for these days. The house is situated near a busy round-about with lots of noisy traffic. Measures had to be taken to guarantee a comfortable and quiet living space. This basic constraint became the leitmotiv for a building with two opposite characters; a closed-off protective side and an open inviting transparent side.The protective side is apparent when looking at the house from the round-about. The street façade is entirely closed with the exception of a single window. However, this doesn’t prelude a dark interior. Right behind the façade a patio with a water basin cleverly allows light to enter whilst pushing the living area’s even further back; away from the busy street. A long wall wraps around the perimeter of the lot. This wall ensures privacy and encloses the spacious garden. It makes it possible for the residents to enjoy light, air and the outside. Here, the inviting open side reveals itself. The garden façade is rendered completely transparent, displaying a collage of lively spaces. Glass extends from ground level up to halfway the second level. A recess in the first floor makes it possible to experience the full height. The result of these spatial inventions is that the garden is pulled inside even more.The house is clad in a medium gray brick with dark gray slate roof tiles. A material pallet typical of the Bedaux repertoire. The characteristic front façade chimneys also remind of earlier designs by previous generations.
Bloot Architecture have designed a minimalist house extension in The Netherlands, that contrasts the brick architecture of a 1927’s house.The architects used retractable glass walls, so that the fig tree in the backyard could easily be viewed and enjoyed, and the natural light could be enjoyed year round. A new kitchen was created inside the extension, and the dark cabinetry is a strong contrast to the white walls, ceiling, and light concrete floor. Adjacent to the kitchen is the dining room. When the glass walls of the extension are open, the home owners now have a semi-enclosed outdoor space that allows them to enjoy the back garden. The fully glazed facade has a minimal roof ledge, and from the inside, there are virtually no visual barriers to the outside. The construction of the extension is kept out of sight but for one plus-shaped column, which makes the roof of the extension appear to float.
This is stuff I like, old and new, that I hope you do too.