Located on the coast of La Lucia, Durban, and surrounded by protected milkwood trees, this home has been ‘wrapped’ with a series of bronzed anodised aluminium screens – a simple yet visually spectacular solution to combat the unpredictable environmental conditions of the area. The screens can be configured to cocoon the structure entirely or in part, allowing for ease of access to the outdoor timber pool deck. Adding to its ingenious design are the patterns on the screens, made to reflect the property’s milkwoods when shut. Stefan Antoni Olmesdahl Truen Architects, www.saota.com.
Architects built a home that floats among the branches of a large sapote tree, respecting the pre-existing natural environment of the site. Two exterior areas can be defined between a cosy and intimate central courtyard, with boundaries between outdoors and indoors virtually non-existent. Sticking to tradition, all exterior walls and the small circular pool are finished with polished white cement prepared with ‘chucum’ water, a traditional technique used in the area. Estilo Arquitectura, www.estiloyucatan.com.
SHELL BE RIGHT
A series of rectilinear open shells has been used as the exterior of this house, which frames the views of a public park hidden behind its facade. The shells are stepped away from the street, which breaks up the scale of the building and allows daylight into the home. Thin steel members act as the structure, as well as the walls, floors, ceilings, roofs and windows, with clear glass panels used for the front and rear enclosures. Chang Architects, www.changarch.com.
Nestled on the banks of Lake Lucerne, Switzerland, the facade of this home resembles an oversized game of Connect Four. A regular pattern of large circular openings gives a decidedly sculptural appearance to the entry of the house, echoed in smaller circles shielding the balconies. Circles are also employed throughout the interior, specifically to
the screens and ceilings. A white, minimalistic approach to furnishings places extra emphasis on the remarkable view of the lake. Philippe Stuebi Architekten, www.philippestuebi.ch.
A MOVING EXPERIENCE
A prominent concrete staircase leads guests up a hill to a holiday house in Corsica. Tucked below the main terrace is a guest suite with private bath and cellar. The home’s main-level living area is sheltered behind sliding glass walls that open onto a patio, the flat layout of which boasts unhindered coastal views from inside and out. Less obvious, and built into this home’s interior, are two moveable walls that can be removed from the kitchen and bedroom, transforming it into one large, open-concept floorplan. Philippe Stuebi Architekten, www.philippestuebi.ch.
This design was originally made for two different sites – one in Pszczyna, the other on the outskirts of Berlin. The round shape of the structure allows it to fit on a site of any proportion. It consists of two storeys, the upper level accessed via a central stairway. The interior plan is flexible and interchangeable, depending on the wants and needs of the family. The roof can be altered to suit changing environmental conditions. KWK Promes, www.kwkpromes.pl.
This coastal abode in Vietnam employs a material palette of wood and rock to emulate a rural lifestyle. Similar to the layout of a traditional small village, the home is made up of several different spaces that are isolated and connected via a dual-pitch roof. The main living areas feature stone walls and wooden furnishings; the bedrooms, stark white walls and beautiful wooden floors and ceilings that inject a contemporary style into the design. Each room is smartly placed to have garden or sea views. A21 studio, www.a21studio.com.vn.
GET THE POINT
In contrast to the usual snow-capped rooftops in Hokkaido, Japan, this home’s 60-degree sloping roof prevents it from being ‘snowed under’, rather letting heavy snow fall straight to the ground. The design makes for a comfortable interior space, with large glass windows enabling a vast amount of light to flood into the home. A white and black colour palette delivers a sense of modernity within. International Royal Architecture, www.iraap.jp.
WOODEN? YOU KNOW IT
The material palette of off-shutter concrete, Rheinzink roofing, timber cladding, stone and exposed aggregate for this holiday-cum-family home in South Africa was chosen by the architect to ensure that the building would fade into the landscape as it ages. It was important to the client that there was a smooth connection between the site’s sweeping views and the building itself. To combat the home’s tendency to catch the intense rays of the sun, a mid-level horizontal sunscreen was added to the double-height glass facade. This is further protected by a timber screen that hangs into the space, acting both as a sun shield and an intricate feature. Stefan Antoni Olmesdahl Truen Architects, www.saota.com.
First envisaged as a small, one-room construction to complement a large outdoor barbecue, this design soon evolved into a single-storey residence for an elderly couple and their grandkids. In a similar vein to the self-built homes of the 1970s found in the area, the building has an exposed brick structure – a wall made of a low-density terracotta brick acts as the longitudinal axis of the dwelling. The thermo-clay, single-leaf wall has been left exposed, without cladding or any other finish, allowing it to blend in with the exterior clay bordering walls and acting as a feature alongside the barbecue. Pepe Gascón Arquitectura, www.pepegascon.com.
THE GRASS BEHIND THE GLASS
The architects of this home in Shenzhen, China, have created a series of spaces that are each orientated towards a central point. In the bathroom, the basin and the door are on the same axis, with the basin acting as the main focus of the room. Similarly, an ingeniously constructed green garden has been positioned so that, when viewed from the living room, the landscape is framed perfectly by the area’s large glass window. Design Systems Ltd, www.designsystems.com.hk.
Divided into three specific sections, this home in the woods near Utrecht in the Netherlands encompasses all things ‘garden’ across its three main floors. From the curved basement, stairs draw guests up through a wall of shrubs to the main garden – a large expanse of green grass surrounded by luscious trees. From the backyard, the grass appears to drop in a semi-circular formation in front of the home. The ground floor’s large windows present clear views of the lawn and foliage beyond, while the bedrooms of the top level are set among a delicate roof garden. Powerhouse Company, www.powerhouse-company.com.
It’s all about simplicity with this Dutch canal house in the centre of Amsterdam. To maximise space, the architects removed the floors in front of the large, high windows and reduced the home to two main ‘rooms’: the living and kitchen area, and the bedroom. The re-designed interior boasts paper-style black kitchen fronts, wooden elements, a marble bathroom wall and a dark glass storage room. Most of the 120sqm home has been left white, to amplify light entering the home and to create the illusion of space. Powerhouse Company, www.powerhouse-company.com.
SET IN STONES
Local stone found in the area has been used as a stunning feature element of this home, located on a sloping site overlooking the Mediterranean. From the streetscape, the stone wall hides the two storeys of the house. An entrance porch from the street divides the house into two parts, linked by a central courtyard. Shape is created through cantilevered balconies and overhanging terraces, and a large, flat and open platform provides ample entertaining space for the family and their guests.Pepe Gascón Arquitectura, www.pepegascon.com.
ALL UNDER ONE ROOF
Two homes for one family in the Yamagata prefecture, Japan, are seamlessly connected by their roofs – one dipping, the other slightly angular. Although their heights aren’t equal, the roofs are attached smoothly with Galvalume steel sheets. On one side of the building sits a single-storey house for the family’s grandparents, on the other a two-storey residence separated by a Japanese-style room and terrace that interlinks both together. Inside, exposed birch plywoods in each room support the roof during bad weather. International Royal Architecture, www.iraap.jp.
A green clearing surrounded by forest was the only brief given by the owners of this property near Warsaw. In response, the architects carved out a piece of the grass-covered site, raising it and treating it as the roof, while arranging all the rooms underneath. The ground floor was made to link with the grassy roof thanks to a stairwell central to the home. The only access to the roof is via the stairs, turning the grassy top into an atrium – a newly created space that has all the advantages of an outer garden while remaining a safe, internal zone. KWK Promes, www.kwkpromes.pl.
A cluster of five cabins fans out like a hand, spreading five fingers over this site in Denmark. The layout creates individual private spaces (essential for the independence of the family’s older children), which are united in the centre of this traditional Danish-inspired holiday home. Due to its positioning, each room has its own unique view of the garden. This classic cabin revival measures only 110sqm, meaning lower maintenance costs and ease of use, as well as a larger amount of flexibility for a growing family. Powerhouse Company, www.powerhouse-company.com.