Williams Studio (2007) by gh3 located in Ennismore, Canada | The Hardt
Williams Studio (2007) by gh3 located in Ennismore, Canada. The 1,800 ft² (167 m²) is a photographer’s studio over a boathouse on Stony Lake is a re-imagination of the archetypal glass house in a landscape in the Canadian Shield. A continuation of thinking about this architectural ambition, the central concept of the house is reconceived through a contemporary lens of sustainability, program, site, and amenity. The compelling qualities of simple, open spaces; interior and exterior unity and material clarity are transformed to enhance the environmental and programmatic performance of the building, creating the architecture of both iconic resonance and innovative context-driven design. The program envisions a building as north–facing window: a photographer’s live/work studio and film location that is continuously bathed in diffuse and undiminished natural light. The transparent facade—a curtain wall glazed in low-iron glass—becomes the essential element in a photographic apparatus to produce images unobtainable in a conventional studio. The availability and fidelity of north–facing light in the double-height space provide the photographer with unparalleled natural illumination, while the clarity of the glazing transforms the site and surrounding vistas into a sublime, ever-changing backdrop.
The compact glass form sits at the water’s edge on a granite plinth whose matte black facade dematerializes to suspend the building, lantern-like, on the site. The granite’s thermal mass exploits the abundant solar input, eliminating the need for active systems on winter days, while the lakefront site allows the use of a deep-water exchange to heat and cool the building year-round through radiant slabs and recessed perimeter louvers at the floor and ceiling. Sliding panes in the glass skin—three meters wide at the ground floor, and one and a half meters wide on the mezzanine floor—allow the facade to become completely porous for natural ventilation, while an individually automated blind system, white roof, and deciduous hedgerow guard against excessive solar gain. The continuous blind system additionally serves as a second aesthetic skin, transforming the interior into an enclosed, intimate space, and the exterior into a gently reflective mirror of the surroundings.
Entry into the site is facilitated through a minimalist landscape that deploys endogenous materials while leaving the greatest portion of the site in its evocative, glacier-scoured state. A simple granite plinth serves as a threshold for the south-facing entrance, where solid program functions and vertical circulation are arranged in a narrow, efficient volume. From the outset, the goal was to accommodate the client’s needs within a small footprint. Domestic functions are integrated into a furniture-like mezzanine assembly suspended above the main space, where bedroom, bathroom, and closet are coextensive, and sliding fritted glass allows the whole to be concealed from the rest of the space. Throughout the upper and lower levels, interior partitions are clad with seamless white lacquered panels whose reflective qualities diffuse light into every part of the interior and create complex layered views through space. Set to be built in the spring of 2010, a lightweight aluminum curvilinear structure guarded by the low-iron glass will be constructed at level with the house. This freestanding structure will serve as an outdoor living platform.
Located in S. Abbondio, Switzerland, Concrete House (2012) by Wespi de Meuron | The Hardt
Located in S. Abbondio, Switzerland, Concrete House (2012) by Wespi de Meuron. This house is standing on a steep slope in S. Abbondio , it is designed for two people and their guests. The property sits between three walls of new and existing buildings, while to the side of the descent is connected the access road and above offers a free view of Lake Maggiore and the mountains. The readable volumetry and also the naturalistic materialization of the concrete in the same color as the natural stones integrates the new building with caution in the heterogeneous area. Concrete stands as the natural stone of the modern era. The irregularly positioned windows hold the monolith and create a sculptural unit.
Spartan rooms and patios open up horizontally and vertically to the water, forests and mountains, light and sun, they live from the poetry of nature. The limitation of some basic materials like concrete and natural wood generates an interaction that flows from the interior and exterior and a natural archaic atmosphere.
Skywood House by Graham Phillips, situated in Denham just outside of London, UK | The Hardt
Skywood House by Graham Phillips, situated in Denham just outside of London, UK. The main living space – a double square in plan with a high frame-less glass wall – faces west over the lake. The rectangular form of the glass box is continued by the clerestory windows that run along the tops of the walls that extend towards the lake and the landscape. The bedrooms each have a built-in desk surface and overlook the walled garden. A perimeter of black basalt gravel borders the green lawn. The magnolia tree was preserved in its original position and became central to the garden space. The bedrooms each have a built-in desk surface and overlook the walled garden. A perimeter of black basalt gravel borders the green lawn.The magnolia tree was preserved in its original position and became central to the garden space. The bedrooms have no sliding doors, only frameless glass panels to maximize the view
Tred Avon River House by Robert M. Gurney Architect located in Easton, Pennsylvania | The Hardt
Tred Avon River House by Robert M. Gurney Architect located in Easton, Pennsylvania. Easton, Maryland, located in Talbot County on Maryland’s eastern shore, was established in 1710. Easton remains largely agrarian, with numerous farms interspersed among area’s many waterways. Diverging from several acres of cornfields, a one-quarter mile road lined with pine trees terminates at a diamond-shaped tract of land with breathtaking views of the Tred Avon River. Arising from the gravel drive and hedge-lined parking court, this new house is unveiled as three solid volumes, linked together with glass bridges, suspended above the landscape. The central, 36-foot (11 meters) high volume is mostly devoid of fenestration, punctuated only by the recessed 10-foot (3 meters) high entry door and narrow sidelights. The contrasting 12-foot (3.5 meters) high western volume contains a garage and additional service space, while the eastern volume, floating above grade, contains the primary living spaces.
After entering the house and passing through one of the glass bridges, the transformation begins. Initially presented as solid and austere, the house unfolds into a 124-foot (38 meters) long living volume, light-filled and wrapped in glass with panoramic views of the river. A grid of steel columns modulates the space. Covered terraces extend the interior spaces, providing an abundance of outdoor living space with varying exposures and views. A screened porch provides an additional forum to experience views of the river, overlooking a swimming pool, located on axis to the main seating group.
Along with a geothermal mechanical system, solar tubes, hydronic floor heating, and a concrete floor slab to provide thermal mass, large overhangs above the terraces prevent heat gain and minimize dependence on fossil fuel. The entire house is elevated four feet above grade to protect against anticipated future flooding. The house is crisply detailed and minimally furnished to allow views of the picturesque site to provide the primary sensory experience. The house was designed as a vehicle to experience and enjoy the incredibly beautiful landscape, known as Diamond Point, seamlessly blending the river’s expansive vista space.
Located on in San Juan County onOrcas Island in Washington State, USA, Eagle Ridge Residence (2011) by Gary Gladwish Architecture | The Hardt
Located on in San Juan County onOrcas Island in Washington State, USA, Eagle Ridge Residence (2011) by Gary Gladwish Architecture. 54 years ago she visited Orcas Island for the first time and decided that one day she would live there. 40 years passed before she saw it again and purchased a forested piece of land on a hillside populated with madrone trees, firs, beech, thistle, moss, and rocks with magnificent views to the west. Throughout her life rocks, nature and landscape played an important role in her artwork. It was this attraction that convinced her that this was the perfect site for her. She requested an open, simple, low maintenance design which works with the site in such a way that her connection to the island, forest and ledges were always present within the house. Each part of the house was to be designed to accommodate the inevitable bad hips, knees and back worn out from a lifetime of moving rocks, dirt and plants. The program consists of a combined kitchen-dining-living area, study, master suite, art studio, and storage area with the flexibility to add bedrooms or an apartment.
The solution utilizes some of her favorite materials; old wood recycled from a 100-year-old barn demolished in eastern Washington, rusty steel for the siding as well as moss and rocks salvaged from the building site. Large doors slide away to open the house to the expansive views, creating a living room in the woods. The entry garden bisects the house creating two zones while it carries the site into the house and the eye out to the view. The 800 s.f. art studio and storage areas are left raw to facilitate converting them to additional bedrooms at a later date. In order to meet the client’s requirement that the house is highly efficient, it is constructed of structural insulated panels (SIPS). This method allows for a faster construction time, less waste generation, tighter construction, and better insulation. All the windows and doors are designed to surpass energy code requirements and all of the lightings is either LED or compact fluorescent to reduce energy consumption. The siting and design of the house maximize passive solar benefits to reduce the energy load. Most of the building materials are recyclable or recycled already. The pond liner is a leftover from the liner of the septic system sand filter, the fireplace, cooktop, fridge and some of the plumbing fixtures were purchased used. The bathroom counter is upcycled bulletproof glass from a bank that was being remodeled. To preserve local resources the small amount of construction waste was taken off the island in about five loads in an SUV, the vast majority of which was recyclable materials.
Situated in Switzerland, Villa M (2007) by Niklaus Graber + Christoph Steiger Architekten | The Hardt
Situated in Switzerland, Villa M (2007) by Niklaus Graber + Christoph Steiger Architekten. The location and the volumetric organization of the villa interpret the specific qualities of the site on both a larger and a smaller scale. The topography of the land, which slopes gently down to the lake, the incomparable view and the sunny position generate a multi-structured building that divides the linear plot of land into different areas. Forecourt, court terrace and shore zone form a sequence of specific venues that accompany the inhabitants and visitors from the roads to the lake. The vertical staggering and the expansion of the building respond in a subtly differentiated way to the different neighborhoods and inner and outer views while achieving a precise settlement in the land.
The potential of the varied programme of rooms develops in an interesting interplay for interior and exterior areas that are organized as a spatial sequence. Various building sections destined for specific functions are interwoven while at the same time creating specific places with their own identity and mood.
House on the Lake (2012) by AUM architecture, located in Thonon-les-Bains, France | The Hardt
House on the Lake (2012) by AUM architecture, located in Thonon-les-Bains, France. Images by Erick Saillet. The project designed for a couple with two children in 2012. The house is entirely made of raw concrete and its structure is exceptional because of its apparent simplicity and its truthful sophistication. The volume of the house results from the assembly of two boxes with pure lines. The first box forms the ground floor, wide open. The second, like a beam of incredible weightlessness, comes to bear itself on the low volume and creates the floor stretching in cantilever towards the lake. The whole of the volume rests only on a single column of great finesse which illustrates all the duality of this construction.
At the intersection of the two volumes is a double height which allows the living room to have all the necessary volume for a reception room. Only a narrow bridge stretching in the middle of this space creates the link between the parental suite overlooking the lake and the children’s rooms overlooking the garden. The house on the lake rhymes with transparency. Upstairs in the West facade, we have developed a contemporary mashrabiya made of Corian® resin thermoformed shapes. This sunscreen comes to control the energy and heat input of the house at the same time giving a special vibration to the facade. This latticework is fully assembled on site by our architecture studio. Environment: This house is extremely efficient from an energetic and environmental point of view and meets the requirements of the BBC label. Thus a multitude of technical solutions has been developed to conserve the raw concrete apparent outside and sometimes inside. In order to keep apparent the maximum of the raw concrete structure, the roof is insulated from the outside with a system of extremely efficient thin insulating panels. The reinforced concrete walls are divided with thermal breakers and thermal insulation.
Photos by Erick Saillet
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