A 1970 home gets a modern, light-filled revamp in Santiago

February 12, 2019 by  
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When a family with three children sought a modern refresh for their aging home in the commune of Las Condes in Santiago, they turned to local architecture firm Cristobal Vial Arquitectos to lead the redesign. The house — which belongs to a set of 25 one-story homes originally designed by architects Christian de Groote, Victor Gubbins and Hector Mery — already enjoys access to two gardens, one to the north and the other to the south. The green renovation emphasized these garden views by stripping away unnecessary additions, and in the process created a more open and contemporary living environment. The green  renovation and expansion of the home, dubbed the Golfo de Darien House, covers a total area of 213 square meters. The original structure — reinforced masonry, slab and reinforced concrete beams — was kept while many of the timeworn modifications added over the years were stripped away. Even the chimney was removed in favor of a floating concrete wall that does double duty as a space divider and shelf. Two “light yards” and a new skylight funnel greater light and sense of spaciousness indoors. To further update the 1970 home and improve the building’s energy efficiency , the architects installed a new heating system that uses a high-efficiency aerothermal heat pump and radiant slab system. Thermopanel crystals were added to all the openings. Related: Crusty old Swiss barn transformed into a modern solar-powered home “The consolidation of the three courtyards of the house, allows a fluid journey, in a same level,” the architect said. “For the intermediate courtyard a wooden deck is projected, which gives greater warmth and permanence to the space. The predominant materials used in this work are wood, stone, glass, steel and exposed concrete , always trying to put in value the original structure and adding a contemporary language that not only accounts for its interior, but more well of a whole that integrates the vegetation to the work.” + Cristobal Vial Arquitectos Images via Cristóbal Vial

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A 1970 home gets a modern, light-filled revamp in Santiago

Solar screen brings beauty and heat relief to a Vietnam home

December 27, 2018 by  
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When a client approached Vietnamese architecture firm Duc Vien LE for the design of their house in Da Nang, Vietnam, the architects knew early on that the region’s intense summers would prove a major challenge. Rather than rely on energy-intensive air conditioning, the architects mitigated the region’s extreme solar radiation with the addition of a west-facing solar screen that not only brings in cooling breezes, but also adds visual interest to the front of the house. Named the Filtered Wall House after the decorative screen, the dwelling also follows passive solar principles to optimize thermal comfort. Located in the central Vietnamese city of Hòa Quý, the Filtered Wall House spans a footprint of 125 square meters on a long and narrow site stretching east to west. Due to the limitations of the shape of the site, the architects made access to natural light and ventilation—particularly in the middle of the house—a design priority. To this end, the firm inserted a skylight above the stairwell, as well as a small atrium in the front of the house behind the west-facing “filtered wall”. “Creating a buffer space on the west side of the house is the main means of the design,” explains Duc Vien LE. “The west facade of the building is a wall with filtering function. It can block most of the sunlight while allowing cool wind to enter the inner space. The existence of the filtered wall and the buffer space greatly reduces the influence of solar radiation on the main space. In the facade design, the change from densely to sparely was designed according to different shading requirements. Different brick types, colors and compound mode are integrated to create a transitional and presentable architectural appearance.”   Related: Lego-like kindergarten sparks creativity with a playful brick facade Inside, the contemporary home features crisp white walls and an open-plan floor plan to maximize sight lines and a sense of spaciousness. The communal living areas are located on the ground floor, which comprises a living room in the front of the house that transitions to a reading room, dining room, kitchen, bathroom and a rear garden. Two bedrooms, a family room and a prayer room are located upstairs. + Duc Vien LE Via ArchDaily Images via Duc Vien LE

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Solar screen brings beauty and heat relief to a Vietnam home

The prefab Plugin House turns ruins into livable dwellings in just one day

December 14, 2018 by  
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Beijing-based design studio People’s Architecture Office has proved yet again its knack for innovation and socially conscious design with its recent project, the Shangwei Village Plugin House. Made with a modular building system of prefabricated panels, these customizable homes can slot into existing structures to make formerly uninhabitable spaces both livable and attractive for far less than the cost of a typical renovation. The experimental dwellings were installed in the Chinese village of Shangwei near Shenzhen and can be assembled with unskilled labor using just one tool in less than a day. The local government, the Shangwei Village Cooperative, along with local nonprofit Leping Foundation and Future Plus, tapped People’s Architecture Office to renovate a series of centuries-old structures into houses for supporting a budding community of local artists and craftspeople. Having been left vacant for decades, the structures had become uninhabitable ruins with caved-in roofs. Since renovation could adversely affect adjacent buildings, the architects decided to rehabilitate the spaces by inserting new construction — with added structural reinforcement — inside the existing structures, a typology that the firm calls the ‘Plugin House.’ “Industrial manufacturing allows the use of high quality materials that drastically increase energy efficiency and economies of scale ensure the Plugin House remains inexpensive,” the architects explained. “Although the Plugin Panels are mass produced, each Plugin House is customized to fit its particular site.” The Huang Family Plugin House, for instance, slots into a tiny 160-square-foot space. The space-saving construction features a mezzanine bedroom with a corner window cantilevered over a collapsed wall as well as a new skylight where the original roof once was. The Fang Family Plugin House, on the other hand, is slightly larger at 215 square feet. Related: Hydroponic gardens and a “mini mountain” promote fun and well-being in this creative office The architects added, “For both locations, the Plugin House System raises living standards by adding efficient mini-split units for heating and cooling, modern kitchens and off-the-grid composting toilet systems.” + People’s Architecture Office Images by ZHAN Changheng and People’s Architecture Office

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The prefab Plugin House turns ruins into livable dwellings in just one day

The Screen House comfortably and sustainably connects with the outdoors

October 23, 2018 by  
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When Camberwell-based design practice Warc Studio Architects was tapped to renovate and extend an existing Edwardian residence in Victoria, the Australian firm also wanted to open the house to greater connection with the outdoors. To mitigate the site’s potentially harsh western aspect and hot summers, the architects strategically constructed an externally operable screen that inspired the project’s name, the Screen House. Passive solar principles were also applied to keep the home comfortable year-round as were other sustainably minded design decisions, such as low-VOC finishes, formaldehyde-free plywood and the inclusion of a compost and vegetable garden. Completed in 2016, the Screen House began with the renovation of an existing detached weatherboard Edwardian residence. The architects upgraded the bathrooms and private areas while simultaneously improving internal circulation and making room for greater landscaping and a new swimming pool. To make the most of the newly added gardens and swimming pool, the firm designed an addition to house a new open-plan living room, kitchen and dining area overlooking the landscape. The main corridor that connects the extension to the existing house provides immediate views to the rear garden from the front entrance. “Windows, cabinetry, walls and ceilings were strategically placed to unveil views and openings to the outside,” the architecture firm explained. “As the the occupants proceed toward the rear, a series of views unfold: the North garden framed by cabinetry; glimpses of the sky through a strip skylight ; views of trees through high level windows; screened views to the western outdoor areas.” Related: An energy-efficient extension in Melbourne captures the owners’ adventurous spirits Timber hardwood screens envelop the rear additions to mitigate unwanted solar gain without compromising views and can be manipulated to maximize seasonal variation in passive solar radiation. To minimize energy needs and waste, the Screen House has also been equipped with high-performance insulation, double glazing, rainwater harvesting and hydronic heating underfoot. + Warc Studio Architects Images by Aaron Pocock

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The Screen House comfortably and sustainably connects with the outdoors

Kengo Kumas competition-winning aquatic center connects land and sea in Copenhagen

March 28, 2018 by  
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Kengo Kuma & Associates beat out the likes of BIG and 3XN Architects in a design competition for a new waterfront cultural center that will form part of Copenhagen’s artificial Paper Island (Papirøen). Chosen unanimously by the jury, Kuma’s winning scheme will offer leisure and recreational facilities housed within pyramidal volumes echoing the roof profiles of Christiansholm island. The buildings will also be built of brick in reference to traditional Danish craft. Revealed earlier this year, Kuma’s designs for the Papirøen Waterfront Culture Center were created in collaboration with Danish subcontractors Cornelius Voge, Soren Jensen engineers and Niels Sigsgaard. The 53,820-square-foot complex will be developed as part of COBE’s competition-winning masterplan for Paper Island . The masterplan and the waterfront cultural center are slated for completion by 2021. “The new Waterfront Cultural Center with Harbor baths at Paper Island is to highlight the significance of water in the history, culture and vibrant urban life in Copenhagen ,” wrote Yuki Ikeguchi, Partner in charge. “Our focus in design is to create an experience, and not just a standalone object, in the form of the landscape, art and architecture that are unified and defined by the water. Our design proposal strives to offer the diverse experiences of water in various states and conditions such as reflection of light and shadow, steam and flow that appeal to human senses.” Related: COBE Architects to transform Copenhagen’s Paper Island into a bustling cultural hub The cultural center is located on a corner site and will offer expansive views of the water inside and out. Skylights punctuate the cone-shaped buildings to let natural light into the ground-floor pools. The perforated brick facade also allows diffused light inside. + Kengo Kuma & Associates Via ArchDaily Images via Kengo Kuma & Associates

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Kengo Kumas competition-winning aquatic center connects land and sea in Copenhagen

Hairy micro-office teleports you to a world of calm

January 18, 2018 by  
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We’ve seen our fair share of unusual architecture , but this “hairy” building is a first. UK-based 2hD Architecture Workshop designed a surreal structure called “Mission Control” that’s entirely clad in brown bristles and appears to be mysteriously void of any doors or windows. Created as a micro-office and haven for concentration, the workspace located in a Nottingham garden is described by the architects as “an exercise in teleportation, designed to take us from the everyday hurly burly to another world, one of calm, quiet, and focus.” Built to replace a derelict glazed shed of the same size, Mission Control was constructed as a freestanding workspace extension of 2hD Architecture Workshop’s home office . Unlike the collaborative home office environment, Mission Control functions as an isolation chamber for uninterrupted concentration. The architects describe the short walk from the home office to the new micro-office—a distance of 13 feet—as an important “ceremonial commute” for leaving distractions behind and getting into the working mindset. “We built this custom-designed structure as the antithesis of a ‘contemplation space with landscape views and flowing inside-outside space’,” said the architects. “In contrast, we needed an almost monastic cell, removed from physical context and worldly distraction, where we could retreat to immerse ourselves in brain work.” Related: You can build one of these tiny backyard offices in less than a week for under $7000 Interlocking natural coco-fiber broom heads cover the outer facade of the 75-square-foot micro-office and create a visually seamless surface with a well-hidden door. The “hairy” exterior sheathes a pitched structure with a sloping roof made with polycarbonate and punctuated by an operable skylight to let in natural light and ventilation. Inside, whitewashed plywood clads the walls and ceilings that are wrapped with sheep’s wool insulation. Two back-to-back desks are placed beneath the low ceiling. + 2hD Architecture Workshop Images by Thibaut Devulder and Tom Hughes

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Hairy micro-office teleports you to a world of calm

Dark unused garage is transformed into a cozy light-filled studio in San Francisco

July 31, 2017 by  
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The garage is the last place most people want to cozy up in, but that’s not so for the lucky owners of this beautiful garage-turned-studio space in San Francisco. Local architect Beverly Choe transformed an old, unused garage into the Clifford Studio, a dreamy, light-filled work studio and reading nook. Filled with suffused light and lined with timber, this adaptive reuse project is the perfect cozy hideout brought to life with minimalist decor with splashes of greenery and warm textures. The architect reimagined the garage, formerly a carriage house, as a “box for suffused light” painted shades of blue on the outside. A long skylight spans most of the building and natural light is filtered through the exposed beams that help minimize glare. Large glazed openings at the front and back of the studio let in more natural light and frame views of the outdoor sunken courtyard and garden. Board-formed concrete planters along the western and eastern sides of the courtyard relate to the timber-lined interior, creating a natural outdoor extension of the studio. The courtyard’s sunken profile also helps make the building appear taller. Related: Small and windowless garage in Lisbon transformed into an elegant modern loft Completed over the course of a year-and-a-half, the converted garage makes the most of a small space with the solid oak casework that forms walls of shelves, furnishings, and hidden storage. A blue-tiled bathroom is hidden off on the side of the oak paneling. The minimalist interior is open and airy and allows for flexibility of use, from a reading room to artist’s work studio. The architect treated natural light as a crucial material in the design process. + Beverly Choe Via Dwell Images by Mariko Reed

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Dark unused garage is transformed into a cozy light-filled studio in San Francisco

Gorgeous Japanese-inspired reading nook breathes new life into a Frank Gehry-designed home

June 16, 2017 by  
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A slice of reading heaven has been inserted into this Frank Gehry -designed home in Los Angeles’ Sawtelle Japantown. Local studio Dan Brunn Architecture gutted and renovated the 1970s house named Hide Out with a minimalist aesthetic that pays homage to Gehry’s original design. Commissioned by a pair of art collectors, the stylish home disrupts its art gallery-like feel with large walnut surfaces that add warmth and even carve out an enviable reading nook by the garden. Formerly owned by the Janss Family, the 3,600-square-foot Hide Out house was overhauled to create an open-air area on the first floor for displaying the work of the new owner, artist James Jean. Since the Janss Family discarded some of Gehry’s signature details in the original construction of the home, Dan Brunn Architecture used the renovation as an opportunity to bring back those lost architectural details. In addition to the oversized rectangular skylight in the center of the home—the only major architectural detail from Gehry’s design that the Janss retained—the architects added dynamic shapes and a simple material palette typical of Gehry’s style in the 1970s and 1980s. The renovated Hide Out features a simple material palette of walnut , concrete, and glass and is filled with natural light from the rectangular skylight and new glazed openings. White walls and pale concrete floors are broken up by eye-catching walnut surfaces, such as the handcrafted and beautifully sculptural walnut staircase at the heart of the home. The open-plan layout is decorated with minimal furnishings to keep focus on the art. Related: How Frank Gehry’s provocative designs go from concept to reality In reference to the home’s surroundings in the Little Osaka neighborhood, the architects drew inspiration from Japanese design for multiple aspects of the home, including furnishing. The reclaimed timber coffee table, for instance, was custom made with traditional Japanese joinery. Traditional Japanese tearooms provided inspiration for an inserted walnut volume that functions as a reading nook, meeting space, or meditation room. The room overlooks a garden planted with traditional Japanese species of bamboo, gingko, and maple. + Dan Brunn Architecture Via Dezeen Images © Brandon Shigeta

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Gorgeous Japanese-inspired reading nook breathes new life into a Frank Gehry-designed home

Spherical timber teahouse hides in the treetops of Austria

May 19, 2017 by  
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Teatime is served with a side of enviable treetop views at the pod-shaped Teahouse Riedenthaln nestled in an Austrian garden. Architecture firm a-lp architektur designed the curious igloo-shaped timber hideaway as a modern interpretation of the traditional Japanese teahouse . The 10-square-meter elevated space was largely built from recycled oak wood offcuts. Located in a private garden, the spherical room serves as a place to drink tea, for hosting regression therapy clients, and as a possible sleeping area. A ramp leads up to the low and narrow entrance that opens to a light-filled and surprisingly spacious interior. Natural light fills the cave-like space through a large painted skylight and two rectangular windows. Related: Cocoon Tree: A lightweight, spherical treehouse for sustainable living The tiny teahouse retreat is raised on four black-painted pillars, made of tree trunks. Locally chopped oak timber was used as the main material for the teahouse. The wood cladding was recycled from the small timber offcuts of a local wine barrel-maker and assembled in stacks of over forty layers. The furniture, which includes a counter with a sink, window seat, and sleeping area, is also made from oak timber. + a-lp architektur Via ArchDaily Images by Christine Leuthner

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Spherical timber teahouse hides in the treetops of Austria

Circular home boasts 360-degree views so owners can watch their dogs

March 27, 2017 by  
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The biggest motivation behind this circular home’s 360-degree views isn’t the beautiful landscape—it’s the homeowners’ dogs. Dutch architecture firm 123DV designed 360 Villa, a contemporary dwelling in the Netherlands that shows how architecture can be inclusive of humans and animals. Commissioned by a couple who own a pair of beautiful Alaskan Malamutes, the custom home is wrapped in glazing to allow the couple to stay in constant contact with their dogs both in and outside the home. Surrounded by a sloped lawn, the 85-square-meter 360 Villa offers ample space for the homeowners’ two Alaskan Malamutes to play and release their high energy. To give the dogs space and the constant contact they need with their owners, 123DV designed the home with a circular plan and wrapped it in a “continuous window” to provide visual contact between the dogs and couple. The roof extends over the edge of the home to create a wraparound canopy that provides shelter from the rain and sun. Related: This house has a special staircase designed just for dogs To preserve privacy, the architects built up the land into a hill on the street-facing side of the villa so that the owners can see their dogs without needing a full-height window . Despite the small footprint, the 360 Villa feels spacious thanks to the large windows and the open floor plan. The open-plan kitchen, dining room, and living area take up around two-thirds of the interior and open to an outdoor deck. The bedroom and bathroom can be closed off from the living room by sliding doors. A large circular skylight in the middle of the home lets in additional natural light. + 123DV Via ArchDaily Images © Hannah Anthonysz

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