4 Springs Lane is a contemporary custom home designed by Robert M. Gurney Architect, sited on 24 acres of rolling topography, open fields and woodlands in Rappahannock County, Virginia. Extensive site investigation, including erecting scaffolding at various locations, resulted in the placement of the house high on one of the hills, overlooking a meadow at the base of woodlands.
From the architect: The house is organized as a series of volumes, arranged linearly and positioned to optimize distant views of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
The structure itself becomes a threshold and defines a more intimate, manicured outdoor environment between the house and the edge of the forest. The linear organization allows the majority of spaces to maintain mountain views while providing accessibility to a terrace with the swimming pool and the manicured area. The two-story living / dining space has floor-to-ceiling glass at each end, providing a lens through which to view the mountains from the terrace.
The rigorous, refined and geometric forms of the building are designed in sharp contrast to the undulating, natural landscape. The contrast is intended to magnify the beauty of the site while allowing the house to provide a framework to view the landscape. These views become the orienting device. Simple volumes comprised of glass, wood, stone and fiber cement panels are combined to render a more complex composition while garnering a serene unity.
Interior spaces are active and intricate, tranquil and minimal. With vistas in all directions, large expanses of glass allow the landscape views to provide the primary sensory experience.
A geothermal HVAC system, energy efficient appliances, wall and ceiling infrastructure with maximum insulation, a rain-screen cladding system, extensive daylighting and solar-sensored shades are employed with the expectation of reducing fossil fuel consumption. Large operable windows and doors are placed to provide natural ventilation.
This house is pragmatic and pristine. Proportion, texture and light organize and animate the project. The composition is simultaneously complex and distilled. Most importantly, the house provides a framework to experience an inherently beautiful landscape.
Photos: Maxwell MacKenzie
House Little Venice is a matt black zinc and glass contemporary building attached to a former coach house designed by James Wells Architects, located in Little Venice, London. Bounded by secret walled gardens, this new residential building replaces a derelict warehouse that had once been a joinery shop for an antique furniture company. The interior design of the new home acknowledges the industrial heritage of the site with bespoke fixtures and unusual finishes, employing the best of British craftsmanship.
From the architect: The west garden is accessed through French windows from the coach house and is planted in the Victorian Romantic style with an auricula theatre. The east garden is accessed via a hydraulic glass panel and responds to the modernist lines of the new building with structured planting, floating levels, steel water features and specially designed concrete furniture. The garden is thus made to feel like an external room – an extension of the main living space.
A discreet door in a side wall off a quiet side street provides the entrance to this extraordinary one bedroom house. An unassuming Victorian coach house built of London stock brick with exposed timber trusses has been retained and restored to provide a bedroom suite while the rest of the house has been newly built. The entire project took eighteen months to complete due to structural requirements as well as the bespoke nature of the details, one-off fixtures and finishes.
To the rear is a surprising, modern space bathed in natural light from a hydraulic pivoting wall of glass and a large skylight. The structure and mechanics are exposed and steelwork is left unfinished; polished concrete combines with black brickwork to create a post-industrial setting. The structural glass floor allows natural light and a visual link to an underground library and screening room below.
In the coach house the sleeping quarters are set in a theatrical dark space with an Alice in Wonderland play on scale. Dramatic double height wall panelling, exposed timber trusses, reclaimed parquet floors from the demolished warehouse and an oversized roaring fireplace are lit by a vast 1960s chandelier of cast yellow and white glass. Exposed engineered winches and cable mechanisms raise a bespoke metal and glass lantern and a plasma screen.
A deliberate duality contrasts the moods of the private and public areas. A massive pivoting brick wall finished in engineering brickwork links these two contrasting worlds.
The underground library and screening room showcases a chestnut leather conversation pit is sunk into the polished concrete floor embraced by the soft glow from the surrounding shelves of books and artifacts.
Photos: Courtesy of James Wells Architects
Maison V is a major renovation project including an annex pavilion with a swimming pool by Olivier Chabaud Architecte, located in the city of Villennes-sur-Seine, France. Additional additions to the residence includes new furnishings and interior design, a gym, and major overhaul to the gardens. The architect respected the origin of the building with a global mission.
The heavy restructuring allowed a reconquest of the existing, to adapt this old building to contemporary lifestyles. Flow management, light, link to the garden, but also intimate relationship between spaces, as all kitchen / lounge / TV room, organized around the glazed staircase and matching sliding doors.
The annex pavilion houses the gym whose canopy can cover a portion of the heated pool for winter use.
The garden ends with a slight side Seine accommodation, a port terrace shack on false metalling and the pontoon.
Kitchen, storage, furniture, office, billiards, occasional furniture, consistency of the house is given by the volume management, parts distribution, distilled by the measured punctuation design.
In this typical part of the Anglo-Norman houses, the intervention was punctuated by the careful selection of materials and finishes.
Burgundy stone confronts Indian stone, oak kitchen with tiles ‘underground’ and Zimbaoué black marble, the interior woodwork painted steel meets the bancheur of frames.
The bathrooms, with varied identity, Tadelakt varnish wooden lath set on black concrete tiles. The gym, overlooking the pool gray concrete, is also in smoothed gray concrete.
Mixtures subtly give the residence a contemporary feel, yet distilled in this context classic belonging.
Photos: Courtesy of Olivier Chabaud
This project involved the conversion of a Shoreditch Warehouse by Chris Dyson Architects to create a family home, located in Shoreditch, a district in the historic East End of London, England. The proposal included the removal of a modern shed to the rear and a reinstatement of a courtyard at the rear of the property to bring natural light into the bedroom and en-suite. The industrial style home is comprised of 5,381 square feet (500 square meters) of living space.
To bring light deeper into the ground floor study space an existing lantern roof-light was replaced, walk on roof-light fitted flush with the adjacent new terrace. Inclined translucent panels installed below a new mesh access stair brings light even deeper into the plan.
A new timber privacy screen was introduced to shield views and noise to neighbouring properties while the enjoyment of the terrace and courtyard is experienced internally with the introduction of double glazed steel framed doors at ground level and double pivot doors to the new terrace.
CDA was founded in 2004 by Chris Dyson, a former senior designer at Sir James Stirling and Michael Wilford Associates, and more recently at Sir Terry Farrell and Partners. The practice is based in the historic Spitalfields area of London, where Dyson has lived and worked for 20 years, and where many of the practice’s early projects are located.
Photos: Peter Londers
Scape House is a modern family residence that has just recently been completed in 2014 by FORM | Kouichi Kimura Architects, located in Shiga, Japan. The house is nestled on a hillside in a tiered-developed residential area. The development of the home was dictated based on the beautiful scenery of the lake that could be viewed from the site. The client also requested that the 1,474 square foot (137 square meters) house be very open while at the same time be designed to prevent prying eyes from viewing into the home.
From the architects: In this project, versatile spaces that incorporate light and scenery were intended by the windows in order to bring out the best in this house.
The dynamic configuration involving the box-shape volume with rhythmical layout of the windows produces beautiful life scenes where light and scenery are taken in while the eyes of neighborhood are blocked.
Scenery viewed through a window is greatly affected by the size or position of the window.
It is therefore essential to consider what should be viewed or not in the scenery framed by the window, instead of being stereotyped to take in the large area of the scenery by providing the largely-opening window.
The windows as framings produce comfortable spaces where you can enjoy light and scenery without being annoyed by eyes of neighborhood. The spaces incorporate a table, bench, book shelf, niche, and other furniture items so that you can utilize there to view outside, read books, eat meals, etc., which brings out characteristics of each space and provides its versatility.
The space is composed of mortar with a feel of texture, highlighting its presence. At the same time, it provides openness created by the clear and continuous sightline.
In addition, the space also serves as an indispensable element that reflects visual changes of light and scenery developed while moving around the room.
Photos: Yoshihiro Asada
142 Kenilworth is a contemporary home designed by studio Johnson Chou, located in the beaches neighborhood in the east end of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The original structure was a two-storey 1,250 square foot (139 square meters) building renovated into a three-storey 1,950 square foot (178 square meters) residence achieved by converting the existing attic space into a master bedroom with ensuite and adding a two-storey rear extension.
From the architects: Built in the early 1900’s, maintaining the integrity of the scale and form of the building, such as retaining the roofline and preserving, repairing the existing brick, was a priority from the start.
There was a desire to allow elements of the modernist aesthetic developed for the interior to percolate to the exterior. As the building is one of a series of nearly identical houses with similar details mirrored along the street, an opportunity arose to insert abstracted elements that juxtaposed and created a dialogue with the existing façades.
The original 3 bedroom house had the main stair positioned perpendicular to the length of the house, effectively dividing the house into two – front and rear. Further exacerbated by the profusion of tiny rooms and the relatively narrow width of the building, the house felt cramped and imparted a sense of claustrophobia. Our functional strategy was to demolish the interior of the existing building, eliminate all interior partitions on the ground floor; reposition the main stair parallel and against the side wall of the building; remove the exterior wall facing the backyard and replace it with a 15’ foot (4.5 meters) deep, 200 square foot (23 square meters) two-storey addition.
The intention is to have the two levels of the existing interior spaces overlook the double-height space of the newly created living-room, with it becoming the visual link and the notional “hub” of the residence. The design concept was two-fold: to perforate the volume of the building with openings to allow internal and long views directly to the exterior, creating the impression of a larger building; to develop a motif that redefines the existing building as a series of overlapping “frames” that function either as portals or an apparatus for viewing.
As such the project is about creating volumes of flowing spaces in the horizontal and vertical dimensions, and the kinaesthetic experience of framed views from within and without. The frame motif can be perceived, for example, at the front entrance screen, the main circulation stair and the rear glass facade.
From the entrance one has a view over the family room and past the kitchen, dining and living rooms. Here, the solidity evoked by the front facade dematerializes to a veneer of glass where narrow, custom-fabricated mullions frame the aperture to create the illusion of being detached from the house – a window hovering in mid-air. An oversized pivoting glass door leading to the outdoor patio blurs the distinction between the interior and exterior spaces.
The attic was transformed into the master bedroom and ensuite which are separated by frameless glass screens. The ceiling was flattened but the pitched-roof was maintained at the front to blend in with the adjacent buildings. The triangular-shaped attic window frames the freestanding tub, allowing for an uninterrupted view to the park beyond.
Photos: Courtesy of Johnson Chou