F-House by Kubota Architect Atelier

F-House by Kubota Architect Atelier

F-House by Kubota Architect Atelier, located in Yamaguchi, Japan | The Hardt


F-House by Kubota Architect Atelier, located in Yamaguchi, Japan. The concrete panel of this house, whose form appears to be derived from a folded piece of paper, brings in the scenery of the surrounding mountain, while the visibility from the exterior in shut on the other side, from the roadside. Although the maximum height of the building is 4.75m and its exterior appears to be quite compact, its interior space has a large volumetric capacity. The reason for applying such form language is to provide an experience of realizing your perception extending over the cliff and the scenery of it’s beyond by standing inside of the building. The sharply cut end of the panel, the deeply extending eaves, the glass fixing details reducing the visibility of lines-all those are done to produce such experience. I essentially think that a house will be better to be a quite and a casual space for spending daily lives. Then, this building is completed by overlaying the beauty of the surrounding nature that constantly changes.


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House N18 by DRTAN LM Architect

House N18 by DRTAN LM Architect

House N18 by DRTAN LM Architect located in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia | The Hardt


House N18 by DRTAN LM Architect located in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia. No. 18 is a three-story green residence located in the suburb of Sunway Damansara, Petaling Jaya, Malaysia. The site slopes up gradually from the street towards the rear, meeting the foot of an abrupt reinforced incline that marks the start of the nature reserve behind. The brief called for a sustainable green home for a large family with generous open living spaces to entertain guests and private rooms customized to each family member’s requirements. The house plan was conceived as a series of large halls based on 6m X 6m modules that are linked together both horizontally and vertically to create interlocking spaces. These are bound together by the raw off-form concrete structure and earthy clay brick screen walls. The resulting three-story box has spaces cut-into and cut-out of it to create high volume spaces, courtyards, nooks and hanging gardens.



The front arrival portico is supported on a formal series of large diameter sienna red steel columns. Beams that bear the roof garden above run across the slab in their exposed concrete form creating a visual landing strip upon arrival as the row of lights hidden behind each beam is unveiled file by file. A collage of concrete, brickwork, and timber becomes an intentional feature wall by the main entrance. A solitary concrete wall with a rectangular cut-out, flanks the right side of the driveway forming a private lawn that fronts the open living area beyond. The entry foyer and formal living space is a tall voluminous space with a large dragon ball light hanging in mid-air. This is an open space designed to promote natural ventilation and lighting and opens out unto the private front lawn. Even the bamboo garden beyond the kitchen is visible from the living hall – an openness that is visually and spatially liberating. The adjacent hall is the dining room that has sliding glass doors on both ends. One end opens into the poetic garden with a sculptural frangipani tree as a backdrop and a koi pond with a fountain in the forefront, and the other end opens to a forest of saplings in a bed of pebble stones. The kitchen and service yard is located to the rear of the house.




The sculptural stair wraps around an off-form structural wall that takes one through to all the upper levels. The stairwell acts as a lantern contained by a double glazed enclosure and illuminated by the moon-like wall lights. The double volume informal family hall is located on the first floor overlooking the fountain courtyard. A hanging roof garden with giant yucca trees sits on the roof of the front concrete portico. Hallways lead to the various bedrooms. The master bedroom sits on the second floor with a zen exercise and tea room. Shoji screens replace window blinds and tatami mats line the floor in the room that is connected to a Japanese garden terrace.



The western façade is protected by a wraparound metal box louver sunscreen. The house is totally cross ventilated with minimal mechanical air conditioning. The large roof has 200mm thick 50kg/m3 rockwool and two layers of heat reflective foil in addition to a fully ventilated roof space that houses the rainwater harvesting tanks. The roof also houses an array of photovoltaic panels that generate up to 5 kW peak of electricity, solar hot water panels and wind turbines to ventilate the house interiors. Other green features are the use of low VOC paints, raw material finishes, water saving taps and sanitary wares, low energy light fittings and local native landscaping. The overall aesthetic is one that is clean and minimally raw and natural.


© H.Lin Ho



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Pavilion Siegen by Ian Shaw Architekten

Pavilion Siegen by Ian Shaw Architekten

Pavilion Siegen by Ian Shaw Architekten located in Siegen, Germany | The Hardt


Pavilion Siegen by Ian Shaw Architekten located in Siegen, Germany. The pavilion’s dramatic, planar form articulates an assured, yet subtle compression of space, framing views of the lake and the local topography. The building’s tectonic rigor is palpable, its seemingly gravity-defying configuration enabling the floor plate and ceiling to cantilever some 6m beyond the lakeshore. The scheme is both a weekend fishing retreat and a garage for three classic cars. A toilet and washroom facility is also included, as is a storage area for the client’s angling equipment. Detailing is measured throughout – from the integrated lighting to the fully glazed internal area.




The 12 x 12 m structure conforms to a strict proportional grid that determines both the position and heights of the walls, as well as the shuttering joints and fenestration divisions. The 3 x 3m door panels – built by the client’s engineering company, and weighing 340 kilos per door – pivot on bespoke spindles, allowing each to be opened with the push of a single finger. The 12 x 12 m structure conforms to a strict proportional grid that determines both the position and heights of the walls, as well as the shuttering joints and fenestration divisions. The 3 x 3m door panels – built by the client’s engineering company, and weighing 340 kilos per door – pivot on bespoke spindles, allowing each to be opened with the push of a single finger. Throughout the building process, the concrete mix was carefully monitored in order to achieve an off-white finish, this tone refining the pavilion’s dialogue with the surrounding terrain. Special, non-oiled shuttering ensured that no harm came to the lake’s fish population during construction.


© Felix Krumbhlotz



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Fleuve (2013) by APOLLO Architects & Associates

Fleuve (2013) by APOLLO Architects & Associates

Fleuve (2013) by APOLLO Architects & Associates located in Hamamatsu, Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan | The Hardt


Fleuve (2013) by APOLLO Architects & Associates located in Hamamatsu, Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan. The client, who is a hair stylist/a salon owner, requested us to design a house with a hair salon. It is an exclusive and luxurious hair salon where the salon owner himself provides all services, and the number of clients is limited to only two at the same time. Our design strategy is to minimize the size of the salon, to create a compact and intimate space where the hair stylist gives utmost attention and professional service to the customer. On the contrary, we provide the maximum floor area of the house. The glass-clad salon has a stylish and sharp atmosphere, but the sharpness is softened by greenery in the front yard and low and deep eaves above it.  Lounge for resting is provided as a buffer zone between the hair salon and the house. And entrance court with a family symbol tree is specially designed as a transitional zone where the client is able to switch his mood from business to private.




The client’s wife practices tea ceremony, so we design a Japanese room to welcome tea guests, with a compact courtyard (called “Tsubo-Niwa” in Japanese) attached. Our intention is to fill the space with an atmosphere of a warm welcome from the hair salon to the tearoom, and in and out of the house. On the second floor, family room and child’s room are divided by the stairs in between. Study room in the middle acts as an intermediate space in between. The roof of the hair salon becomes a wide roof balcony adjacent to the family room. It can be used as an extended family room on occasions such as big parties with many guests. From the windows, one can enjoy the view of the family symbol tree, along with the beautiful background of the adjacent park and trees along the street.


© Masao Nishikawa



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Mimesis Museum (2009) by Castanheira & Bastai Associated Architects

Mimesis Museum (2009) by Castanheira & Bastai Associated Architects

Located in Paju Book City, Republic of Korea, Mimesis Museum (2009) by Castanheira & Bastai Associated Architects + Jun Sung Kim + Álvaro Siza Vieira | The Hardt


Located in Paju Book City, Republic of Korea, Mimesis Museum (2009) by Castanheira & Bastai Associated Architects + Jun Sung Kim + Álvaro Siza Vieira. There once was a Chinese emperor who liked cats a lot, and one day he called upon the most famous painter in the Empire and asked him to paint him a cat. The artist liked the idea and promised that he would work on it. A year passed and the Emperor remembered that the painter still had not given him the painting of the cat. He called him: What of the cat? It is nearly ready, answered the artist. Another year went by, and another and another. The scene kept repeating itself. After seven years, the Emperor’s patience came to an end and he sent for the painter. What of the cat? Seven years have gone by. You have promised and promised but I still haven’t seen one! The painter grabs a sheet of rice paper, an ink well, one of those brushes like you can only get in the East and… in an elegant and sublime gesture he draws a cat, which was not just a cat but only the most beautiful cat ever seen. The Emperor was ecstatic, overwhelmed with such beauty. He did not neglect (which is no longer the case nowadays) to ask the artist how much he would charge for such beautiful drawing. The painter asked for a sum which surprised the Emperor. So much money for a drawing that you did in two seconds, in front of me? said the Emperor. Yes Excellency, that is true, but I have been drawing cats for seven years now, replied the poor painter.



The project for the Museum Mimesis, in the new town of Paju Book City in South Korea, is a cat. The client didn’t have to wait for seven years for his drawing of a cat, but Álvaro Siza has been drawing cats for over seven years now. He has never seen a Korean cat because he has never been there. In one day I briefed him on the site, and brought along a small site model, showing the boundaries and the immediate context. In one single gesture, a cat was drawn. The Mimesis is a cat. A cat all curled up and also open, that stretches and yawns. It’s all there. All you need to do is look and look again. At first, the design team members could not understand how that sketch of a cat could be a building. I have in my days seen many sketches of cats, and am always overwhelmed by them, can’t get tired of them. I want to see more cats, more sketches of cats, for several seven years have gone by.




In architecture, after an initial sketch comes the torment. The initial design, models, drawings, corrections to these, doubts, new drawings, new models, a presentation to the client, who had already seen other projects but could not conceal his surprise at this one. Once approved, we progressed the project on through the usual steps, which in Korea are shorter and less bureaucratic. The brief has not been altered, but it is necessary to make some adjustments as part of the evolution process. To think of materials, techniques, infrastructure, representational conventions, so that everyone understands, in an attempt to make everything work out. In the basement, we will have the archives, the service area, maybe an extension to the exhibition area, as is becoming a habit in museums designed by Álvaro Siza. The ground floor is a space for arrival and distribution, areas for temporary exhibitions and a café/restaurant with all necessary back up. Administration areas, staff circulation, area for the administrative archive and staff toilets are located in the mezzanines. The top floor is for exhibition space.




Light, always light, so carefully studied. Both natural and artificial is seen as essential. Allowing to see without being seen. Models and more models were constructed, some of which you could enter into. Also 3D images. The form will be given by cast concrete, light grey, the color of a cat. Inside, the white of the walls and ceilings, of the marble, which we hope will be from Estremoz and also the honey color of Oak. Timber for the internal frames, and glass. As for the external windows, timber, painted steel and crystalline glass. The building progresses, so do we, as it is in Korea. It is a technically difficult job; we were concerned at the quality of the contractor and sub-contractors involved. Our friends and partners are enthusiastic and reassure us.


© Fernando Guerra | FG + SG



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Casa PN (2011) by ZD+A

Casa PN (2011) by ZD+A

Casa PN (2011) by ZD+A located in Mexico | The Hardt


Casa PN (2011) by ZD+A  located in Mexico. The basic design methodology involves an essential challenge to any system of design. This is achieved primarily through a critical analysis of two aspects:

a)     Site Analysis

b)     Program Analysis

For analysis, I really mean questioning not only the extrinsic or apparent elements but also those intrinsic or intangible. For example: In the first floor we consider orientation, geometry, constraints, solar exposure, views, physical factors (climate temperature, noise) hours of operation, The program is not a list of needs, instead, we try to integrate both material needs as well as effective and cognitive needs. The basic question is how to integrate dynamic needs to a seemingly static exercise (a building). The solution is often uncertainty, understood as a scheduled failure. The site makes the program which in turn defines the site. From the general to the particular and back, inside out. This is a lot between party walls located in Lomas de Chapultepec in Mexico City. It is a virtually flat and regular site (13 of frontage x 25 of depth). The only view corresponds to the front facade (west orientation) into a wooded glen, as there are taller buildings on the three boundaries. North-south orientation on the short or cross axis.



The dimensions of the site (about 310 meters) are not typical of this area because it mostly consists of larger lots (1000 square meters). The construction respects the setback dictated by building regulations (5 meters setback on the front) and approaches the southern boundary for maximum sun exposure during the day. The design scheme raises two primary actions: intervening the topography, to generate a new “tabula rasa” where besides serving as a base it is also inhabited inside. On this new modified territory, two boxes or volumes are stacked where the negative space becomes as important as the positive space. Creating spaces like the living room on the ground floor and the gym on the first floor, through a bridge and rooftop terraces.



In turn, the interior spaces are also determined by programmed volumes (storage, work, etc). This system of organization responds to an analysis of the program where the functions are grouped by level, with the public area on the ground floor (living room, dining, service) the family area on the first level (living room, bedroom, gym, garden) and on the top floor the more private area (master bedroom, living room, terrace, dressing room and bathroom)





The street facade respects the required setback and also sets a dialogue with the typology of the neighborhood, which in order to work with an upward slope, often presents a masonry wall (volcanic rock) and vegetation on top. Thus continuity is achieved in the urban fringe. One element of design that was used is to achieve the depth of the site can be understood from different perspectives, both long and short sense. This allows for a large spatial extent (both inside and outside). To achieve the desired finish, to translate the natural features of the environment, we chose a brutalist concrete. To this end, we used formwork based on reused poles horizontally modulated every eight inches. This texture is very attractive when it is bathed in natural light during the day and artificial light at night, which includes flush lights on the lower floor. Another purpose of this finish is to get the first level to transmit its own topographical nature as if it were pre-existent and emanated naturally from the ground.

Different types and uses of wood

Firstly, we used American oak, inked and placed in panels hiding doors and modular boards, which in turn contrasts with a much coarser application of reused wood on the stairs, the larger interior volume than starts on the ground floor and extends to the first level. This element promotes visual communication between the two levels.

Epoxy resin

This finish was chosen so that there was a clean and smooth relationship between different environments, and to simultaneously highlight the coarsest textures of concrete and wood. Epoxy resin is used on all floors of the house, except in the living room and gym, which by their nature and location suggested a different application. Thus, in the first case, we resorted to a dark marble (ebony) and in the second, ash staves.




Anodized aluminum is used for doors in black and in some cases, steel profiles with the same finish. The purpose was to ensure that the doors are naturally incorporated with the outside, for which we also designed them to be fully folded so that the boundaries between interior and exterior are diluted. This item, along with the large windows allow unobstructed natural light and a play of reflections that enrich the composition.


Landscape Architecture

Designed to dissolve the boundaries of the site and to provide greater depth and breadth, the landscape is present at all levels -Gardens, terraces, green roofs, and planters. Thus any sense of confinement is avoided and instead, we promote a continuous communion with green areas. Another purpose of gardening was to integrate the building with the natural environment and act as if it was already part of it and did not look artificial or “manufactured”. For a more efficient and self-sustaining maintenance, endemic species were chosen and a controlled, low consumption irrigation system was installed. Finally, the landscape design is incorporated with green areas, trees, and gullies of the front.



The first action or level is structured through exposed concrete walls that simultaneously address the materiality of the earth, the intermediate box is made of concrete walls, and the second box is a space frame or Vierendel truss that achieves large spans



The verticality of the project coupled with a pre-existing lateral building forced us to think of different mechanisms for the light to filter into the first level, this was achieved through skylights and small windows. The solar incidence on the third level (south facing – east to west) forced us to think of a lattice to offer the desired protection without compromising the views. Large windows allow reflections to be very important in the design as well. Space – Although the various spaces are rarely contained by a door, spatial clarity is achieved by dividing elements or level changes while achieving integration between the interior and exterior and a spatial fluidity.


Photos by © Yoshihiro Koitani



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