Casa S (2010) by João Cassiano located in Aldeia Nova de São Bento, Portugal | The Hardt
Casa S (2010) by João Cassian located in Aldeia Nova de São Bento, Portugal. The surrounding atmosphere is not the gentle countryside, but the bush, dense of rockroses and sparse cork trees. The white house on top of the hill is an opposition to such harsh atmosphere, on a dominating attitude, just like the traditional archetypal “monte alentejano”. The living room exposes North and South glass transparency hidden in the shadow, sheltered East and West by two volumes, opaque white buttresses that enclose the kitchen to the sunrise and rooms to the sunset. To synthetically define the action on this territory, and the concept of the project, we would speak of the “void” between the two massive wings (East, West), the living room on central axis, a comfortable square space with two opposed fireplaces, where the landscape comes in, framed by the white walls.
The room’s wing is the dominating prism opposed to the aridity of the ground and the vastness of the landscape. On the first floor, only one room, the absolute refuge inside the shelter is the bedroom with a view over Spanish hills. The H shape plan reflects day and night uses, with the square living as “go-between”. The whole composition is based on the dialectics of pairs; two buttressed wings, two chimneys, two patios (North and South), two windows. The volume of white massive expression is hardened by the window openings, used recessed or outwards projected off, to guarantee throughout the day, evolving black shadows on white surfaces, the metaphor of the Mediterranean.
The Riparian House (2015) by Architecture BRIO located in Karjat, India | The Hardt
The Riparian House (2015) by Architecture BRIO located in Karjat, India. Not a long drive away from Mumbai, a mountainous landscape rises up, called the Western Ghats. From this UNESCO world heritage area, numerous rivers and streams find their way down through an undulating landscape eventually feeding into the Bombay bay. The Riparian House is placed just below the top of a hillock at the foothills of the Ghats. The top of a vegetated roof merges with the top of the hillock, hiding the house from the approach on the east side. Inside the house, one can nevertheless enjoy the views to the north of the Irshalgad hill fortress and towards the west the sunset while the river winds its way across the agricultural fields.
Since the most of the site is steeply sloping with a 1:4 gradient, the vegetated roof gives the house an additional usable area. From the top it seems to be an extension of the natural landscape, enhancing the understatedness of the house. The green cover serves to keep the house below cool due to its insulative properties. Along the central axis of the house landscaped steps lead you along a coarse stone wall towards the pool deck. The second set of steps connects to the main level of the house where the axis culminates via the dining room and kitchen into a light-filled courtyard. The experience of being inside the earth is enhanced through the stone boulders which were discovered during the excavation process and retain the earth. The kitchen occupies a central position along with the open to sky courtyard and is flanked on either side by two bedrooms at the two far ends. These spaces are embedded in the earth with windows bringing in ample light from above and the riverside. A master bedroom, bathroom, dining, and living area sit along the front, a more open face of the house. Both the living room in the western corner of the house and the master bedroom in the northern corner enjoy panoramic views of the river.
Galvanized steel mullioned windows break down the scale of the front façade of the house. A rhythmic row of bamboo poles is placed at close intervals in front of the house to create a layer of privacy without obstructing the spectacular view of the river and the mountains beyond. The bamboo enclosure creates a dialogue between the interior and the dramatically changing landscape. The natural landscape changes from a dense brightly green colored jungle-like forest during the monsoon months to a pale brown shrubby wasteland during the dry and hot summer months. The building has to respond to these extreme conditions by allowing enough shade and breeze during the summer and providing a waterproof indoor environment during the stormy monsoons. The screen of columns creates an ever-changing pattern of light and shadow throughout the seasons and times of the day, making the building a ‘sensor’ of light. The walls are built in Indian limestone in a coarse pattern, which makes the house seem to rise out of the ground giving it a solid base. This is contrasted by the lightness of a suspended timber deck verandah which surrounds the house on three sides. The covered verandahs allow for comfortably ventilated and shaded semi-indoor spaces. Internally the timber floor continuous as a border around various patterned natural stone floors. In front of the living room, the deck extends to form a large outdoor deck with a panoramic view of the surrounding landscape
Damushan Valley Teahouse (2015) by DnA located in Songyang Damushan Tea Valley, Lishui, Zhejiang, China | The Hardt
Damushan Valley Teahouse (2015) by DnA located in Songyang Damushan Tea Valley, Lishui, Zhejiang, China. The tea gardens in the Damushan area of Songyang are situated in a hilly landscape before the backdrop of imposing mountains. The tea plantations extend over the ridges of the hills in smooth sweeps and have shaped the landscape space with their linearly planted bushes for centuries. The Xujing pool was constructed between the tea plantations for irrigation purposes in 1968 and was later equipped with a circular path for pedestrians.
At the edge of the pool, Xu Tiantian designed a teahouse for visitors, from which the view over the pool stages the scenic charms. The new building is embedded linearly between the edge of the pool and the boundary of the site in such a way that it was possible to preserve five large sycamores, which provide the forecourt with shade thanks to their leafy canopy. The difference in the height of the terrain between the path and the edge of the pool is now filled with the new teahouse, which disappears between the trees and the natural topography. The tea pavilion, which was erected using black-dyed concrete, consists of a series of different spaces. The two-story, open main room has a skylight and a glass front towards the pool.
The owner here imparts aspects of tea culture and a contemporary form of the tradition that also attracts interest in urban centers. Connected to the main room are spaces for private tea ceremonies. At the periphery follows the meditation room, through whose round opening, the sunlight reflected by the surface of the water enlivens the interior space. Small courtyards and views, which raise awareness of both the landscape and aesthetic phenomena of nature, interrupt the sequence of spaces. The building itself is so well embedded in the landscape situation that the spectacular view first becomes apparent from the interior: the pool in the foreground serves as a mirror for the tea garden and the mountain scenery in the background.
A House in Kisami by Florian Busch Architects located in Kisami, Japan | The Hardt
Tokyo-based architectural firm Florian Busch Architects has designed the A House in Kisami. Completed in 2011, this 2,196 ft² (204 m²) contemporary home is located in Kisami, Japan. Overlooking the ocean at the southernmost tip of the Izu Peninsula, about 180km south of Tokyo. Located at the end of a tiny mountain road leading up a coastal hill, the site is on a steep slope with stunning views and sounds of the sea. The ‘A’ House in Kisami is a private retreat overlooking the ocean at the southernmost tip of the Izu Peninsula, about 180km south of Tokyo. Located at the end of a tiny mountain road leading up a coastal hill, the site is on a steep slope with stunning views and sounds of the sea.
A young couple, both outdoor enthusiasts, asked for a simple retreat set on the outside that would give them and their children a stark contrast to their daily lives in downtown Tokyo. With most of the site sloped at 30 degrees and less than a tenth flat, the project started with carving out the mountain. Placing a small volume into the resultant trapezoidal carved-out void, and a larger one on top turns the mountain void into the center of the house: a spa zone in the mountain between the platonic volumes housing bedrooms on the lower and living on the upper level. When the spaces in-between become the building’s essence, it is hard not to realize that architecture is not about objects. The built only frames this essence: the exterior space that flows through the building, down the mountain and connects the A House with the sea.
2Verandas by Gus Wüstemann located on a lake just outside Zurich, Switzerland | The Hardt
2Verandas by Gus Wüstemann located on a lake just outside Zurich, Switzerland. Completed in 2012, the 11,840 ft² (1,100 m²) is on park-like grounds. The clients asked there architects for a solution for a house that made most of the big plot, wanting a view, but not ends up with a house on top of the hill and a rest of a garden down below. This is a house for a young South African family in Erlenbach, just outside of Zurich along the lake. The plot is in a suburban context and therefore quite dense with family homes typical for the area. The site is on a slope, with beautiful views of the lake with the evening sun. The clients asked us for a solution for a house that made the most of the big plot, wanting a view, but not ending up with a house on top of the hill and the rest of the garden down below. Our solution was to occupy the periphery of the site, with the main house on top of the hill and the pool house at the bottom; and with both houses connected through a solid stony promenade: 2 verandas. In occupying the periphery there is one veranda at the top, with the promenade alongside the easborderarder of the plot leading to the south end. There is also a small ‘park’ in the middle of the site.
The stony promenade connects the two verandas almost as a site of its own, where you walk or sit and enjoy the view to the lake or the park. The garden also moves up to the level of the living room and connects all levels of the house with the garden. This is a house for a young South African family in Erlenbach, just outside of Zurich along the lake. The plot is in a suburban context and therefore quite dense with family homes typical for the area. The site is on a slope, with beautiful views of the lake with the evening sun. The clients asked us for a solution for a house that made the most of the big plot, wanting a view, but not ending up with a house on top of the hill and the rest of the garden down below. Our solution was to occupy the periphery of the site, with the main house on top of the hill and the pool house at the bottom; and with both houses connected through a solid stony promenade: 2 verandas. In occupying the periphery there is one veranda at the top, with the promenade alongside the eastern boarder of the plot leading to the south end. There is also a small ‘park’ in the middle of the site.
The stony promenade connects the two verandas almost as a site of its own, where you walk or sit and enjoy the view to the lake or the park. The garden also moves up to the level of the living room and connects all levels of the house with the garden. The main house is a stony, concrete, hammer-shaped volume over two levels that contains the living rooms. In the upper part is the public living room for dining and guests, with a beautiful view over the lake of Zurich. On the ground level is the family lounge with an exterior patio that can be joined as one room with the living room. All the windows disappear and the inside and outside patio become one. That patio also connects all bedrooms and is a lounge to sit together privately and watch a movie.
The circulations in and out of the patio space are controlled by concrete volumes at the ceiling that condense the space through mass and light and slow the circulation. The two rooms are crossed above each other, and at the ground floor level, we pulled a wooden curtain around the concrete volume to create the private sleeping quarters. The upper living room has a shark fin-like shape, so the space is very high in the back and lower at the front to frame the view.
Located in Mexico, RC 80 House (2016) by Architecture Style Workshop | The Hardt
Located in Mexico, RC 80 House (2016) by Architecture Style Workshop. The history of the building and the cultural and social significance were the characteristics that led us to the interpretation and intervention of the House RC 80. An irregular lot and some pre-existing elements give this house a unique character. The walls, mostly covered with white cement, create the perfect canvas for works of art, cement floors give character to each area, wood in its natural state brings warmth and aluminum and glass allow to create a close inner exterior relationship. The staircase and element of transition between the public and private area are loaded with prominence where the apparent block latticework with colored artisan crystals gives the vestibular space an artistic character since during the day it becomes a changing element with the light of the Sun and night are lamps that bathe the interior of the house color.
The project, in general, was conceived based on the aspects of functionality, contemporaneity, and simplicity, seeking to coexist in the historical environment of the rescued building without competing with it, enhancing the spatial and aesthetic qualities of both, in such a way, fixed elements were designed with polished white concrete with decorated pasta floor inserts and thus achieve the compliment with selected furniture for its use and function. In the exterior area elements of pigmented cement in yellow and blue were used, the pool in white cement stepped adapting to the preexisting vegetation as in the case of the orange tree inside the pool and the one that was on the perimeter wall, a rest area whose design seeks internal balance through the simplicity and strength of pure lines, this being the one that provides natural ventilation to the spaces that surround it, and that in turn transforms the environments with its light throughout the day.
The arrangement of spaces allows us to create harmonious relationships between pre-existing structures and new elements, developing a spatial and visual continuity between them. In the existing building contains hall, garage, living room and kitchen; the dining room takes advantage of the double-height window, lighting and natural ventilation acting as a link between the old building and the new one.
Grass Building by Ryo Matsui Architects located in Shiba, Minato, Tokyo, Japan | The Hardt
Grass Building by Ryo Matsui Architects located in Shiba, Minato, Tokyo, Japan. In an urban context where residence and commerce are increasingly emerging, it was essential to prevent the building from becoming a generic type. At the level of the penthouse, it offers the wind and light inwards to establish the relationship between the interior and exterior territories by means of the creation of an outdoor patio and a garden roof to distance itself from the main street. The sliding doors open completely during the day, and the interior space moderately maintains its privacy to account at the same time for the fugacity of the City. For the exterior space, a soft façade is proposed that accounts for the lattices of the houses of the traditional Japanese merchants integrating the texture of the wood towards the street front.
All the windows facing the street are designed as a system of sliding doors, in order to express the integral relationship between the exterior and the interior. Additionally, it is proposed that the balconies function as the intermediate region between these spaces, and they are designed with a minimum width, in order to maximize the total area of each floor. The building corresponds to a complex of 6 floors composed of a residence, offices and commercial premises. It is located on the boundary of the planning district and the central district of the City. Considering this context of location, the building inherits both identities of urban culture and proposes the creation of a building integrated to the urban landscape of the city of Tokyo.
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