Villa Slow by Laura Alvarez Architecture in Cantabria, Spain

Project: Villa Slow
Architects: Laura Alvarez Architecture
Location: Valle del Miera, Cantabria, Spain
Area: 1,722 sqft
Photographs by: David Montero

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Villa Slow by Laura Alvarez Architecture

Villa Slow is a contemporary holiday rental retreat in Spain’s Cantabria community. It was designed by Laura Alvarez Architecture with its design typology based on the traditional construction of the ‘peasant cabin’ in the area.
Unlike the traditional cabins, Villa Slow has a contemporary twist and is placed on top of a little south-facing hill that grants its inhabitants with impressive views towards the valley and mountain.

Villa Slow by Laura Alvarez Architecture in Cantabria, Spain

“I grew up in the North of Spain not so far away from Villa Slow. I have really good memories of me and my family enjoying nature. This region of Spain has many of the things I always look for when I go on holidays: Mountains, sea, natural parks, hiking, quietness, culture and rich gastronomy. But I always felt I missed here a nice place to stay… a place where you can be warm when it is cold outside and be fully connected to the outside when the sun shines. So I thought: If I cannot find it, there will also be many people not able to find it too….Let’s design and build a beautiful place and share it with more people!… Being myself an architect, it was an opportunity I could just not let go…And this is how it all started.”
– Laura Alvarez

Villa Slow is designed and built with extreme mindfulness and care for detail. The house is very respectful with the environment. Its design is based on the traditional typology of a Pasiego House (Cabana Pasiega) but with a contemporary twist. The rough exterior stone walls and roofs contrast with the delicate interior wooden structure and details. Two big panoramic windows in the living room facing opposite directions create a beautiful scenography of mountains, clouds, and trees. The two rooms with their generous height are designed to allow different arrangements: just a couple, couple with children, friends, etc. Each room has its own bathroom fully equipped, barrier-free.

THE WATER

Villa Slow is situated in a very special natural area well known for its spring water formation. The water of Villa Slow comes from its own spring.

A PASSIVE HOME

Villa Slow pays extreme attention to sustainability. Villa Slow is a passive house. It is provided with a heat pump, under floor heating and high quality insulation and windows for a minimum heat loss. All electronic appliances are A+++ and all lightning based on LED technology. The high performance glass warms up the interior in the winter and the big wooden shutters protect the summer from heat gain. All materials used to build Villa Slow are reused from the old stone shed or come from the area of Cantabria.

Laura Alvarez Architecture

Villa Slow by Laura Alvarez Architecture in Cantabria, Spain

Villa Slow by Laura Alvarez Architecture in Cantabria, Spain

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Villa Slow by Laura Alvarez Architecture in Cantabria, Spain

Villa Slow by Laura Alvarez Architecture in Cantabria, Spain

Villa Slow by Laura Alvarez Architecture in Cantabria, Spain

Villa Slow by Laura Alvarez Architecture in Cantabria, Spain

Villa Slow by Laura Alvarez Architecture in Cantabria, Spain

Villa Slow by Laura Alvarez Architecture in Cantabria, Spain

Villa Slow by Laura Alvarez Architecture in Cantabria, Spain

Villa Slow by Laura Alvarez Architecture in Cantabria, Spain

Villa Slow by Laura Alvarez Architecture in Cantabria, Spain

Villa Slow by Laura Alvarez Architecture in Cantabria, Spain

Villa Slow by Laura Alvarez Architecture in Cantabria, Spain

Villa Slow by Laura Alvarez Architecture in Cantabria, Spain

Villa Slow by Laura Alvarez Architecture in Cantabria, Spain

Villa Slow by Laura Alvarez Architecture in Cantabria, Spain

Villa Slow by Laura Alvarez Architecture in Cantabria, Spain

Villa Slow by Laura Alvarez Architecture in Cantabria, Spain

Villa Slow by Laura Alvarez Architecture in Cantabria, Spain

Villa Slow by Laura Alvarez Architecture in Cantabria, Spain

Villa Slow by Laura Alvarez Architecture in Cantabria, Spain

Villa Slow by Laura Alvarez Architecture in Cantabria, Spain

Villa Slow by Laura Alvarez Architecture in Cantabria, Spain

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Casa Almare by Elias Rizo Arquitectos in Jalisco, Mexico

Project: Casa Almare
Architects: Elias Rizo Arquitectos
Location: Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico
Area: 9,296 sqft
Photographs by: Marcos García

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Casa Almare by Elias Rizo Arquitectos

Elias Rizo Arquitectos have designed the Casa Almare that we are going to be featuring today, but they have also appeared on our site with their GG House and Casa RO projects.
Casa Almare is placed on a cliff in Puerto Vallarta in Jalisco, Mexico. Its location overlooks Bahia de Banderas and it is this extraordinary view that the plot has access to that inspired the architects for the design of the home. Its contemporary architecture makes the most out of the location and the views that it provides.

Casa Almare by Elias Rizo Arquitectos in Jalisco, Mexico

Located in one of the most beautiful beaches in Jalisco, this residence is designed in a contemporary mexican style. The house perches over a cliff next to the ocean, which influences the particular shape allowing for amazing views to Bahía de Banderas.

The house has 4 and a half floors which contain all the bedrooms and public areas. All areas in the house have visual contact with the ocean, giving it a unique and sophisticated style.

Elias Rizo Arquitectos

Casa Almare by Elias Rizo Arquitectos in Jalisco, Mexico

Casa Almare by Elias Rizo Arquitectos in Jalisco, Mexico

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Casa Almare by Elias Rizo Arquitectos in Jalisco, Mexico

Casa Almare by Elias Rizo Arquitectos in Jalisco, Mexico

Casa Almare by Elias Rizo Arquitectos in Jalisco, Mexico

Casa Almare by Elias Rizo Arquitectos in Jalisco, Mexico

Casa Almare by Elias Rizo Arquitectos in Jalisco, Mexico

Casa Almare by Elias Rizo Arquitectos in Jalisco, Mexico

Casa Almare by Elias Rizo Arquitectos in Jalisco, Mexico

Casa Almare by Elias Rizo Arquitectos in Jalisco, Mexico

Casa Almare by Elias Rizo Arquitectos in Jalisco, Mexico

Casa Almare by Elias Rizo Arquitectos in Jalisco, Mexico

Casa Almare by Elias Rizo Arquitectos in Jalisco, Mexico

Casa Almare by Elias Rizo Arquitectos in Jalisco, Mexico

Casa Almare by Elias Rizo Arquitectos in Jalisco, Mexico

Casa Almare by Elias Rizo Arquitectos in Jalisco, Mexico

Casa Almare by Elias Rizo Arquitectos in Jalisco, Mexico

Casa Almare by Elias Rizo Arquitectos in Jalisco, Mexico

Casa Almare by Elias Rizo Arquitectos in Jalisco, Mexico

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Owl Creek Residence by Skylab Architecture in Colorado, USA

Project: Owl Creek Residence
Architects: Skylab Architecture
Location: Snowmass, Colorado, USA
Area: 4,200 sqft
Photographs by: Courtesy of Skylab Architecture

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Owl Creek Residence by Skylab Architecture

Skylab Architecture of Portland has designed the spectacular 4,200 square feet Owl Creek Residence in Snowmass, Colorado. It has a very unusual, triangular floor plan which is made to respond to the constraints of the site on which the residence is built.
The strict constraints presented a challenge for the architects who, instead of allowing themselves to be limited by them, they used them as an advantage. The structure has been anchored into the surrounding environment and it opens up to create strong visual connections to the idyllic landscape.

Owl Creek Residence by Skylab Architecture in Colorado, USA

Anchored in a hillside with panoramic Snowmass Mountain views, the Owl Creek Residence was built as a shared family retreat. Site constraints were central in the design response, informing the spatial concept to triangulate to work with the existing sloping terrain.

The project vision was to create a collection of lodge-like communal spaces surrounded by naturally weathered and local materials providing an abundance of access to natural light, and minimizing visual separation from the outdoors. This all weather mountain retreat is about enhancing and recharging social relations and maximizing connections to the native environment. The shared residence was designed around the idea that a place can deepen the connections between people, families and the landscape they love.

Finishes and interior relationships were carefully crafted to draw the scenic landscape inward and extending the outdoor deck living experience. A central spiraling split-level arrangement allows for the living room, fireplace, bar and lounge to feel like intimate spaces with a communal energy. Terracing theater seating maximizes space within the stairwell working with the topography.

The strict height limitation and slope constraints of the site turned into an advantage by anchoring the structure into the landforms. The structure frames powerful views through two principal façades, maximizing the visual connection to the landscape at every angle. Strategic decisions in the frame and form allowed for efficiencies and functional benefits, including a triangular structural steel frame with car decking to minimize costs through prefabrication, and a roof slope to move water and snow downslope.

Compact and efficient private sleeping wings open up to expansive outdoor views at the lower level. Exterior spaces open interior activity to the outdoors including a triangular spa with an elevated deck and an expansive outdoor terrace right off of the kitchen. The Owl Creek residence provides a platform to gather in a shared living environment connected to their surroundings with purpose, deepening family connections.

Skylab Architecture

Owl Creek Residence by Skylab Architecture in Colorado, USA

Owl Creek Residence by Skylab Architecture in Colorado, USA

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Owl Creek Residence by Skylab Architecture in Colorado, USA

Owl Creek Residence by Skylab Architecture in Colorado, USA

Owl Creek Residence by Skylab Architecture in Colorado, USA

Owl Creek Residence by Skylab Architecture in Colorado, USA

Owl Creek Residence by Skylab Architecture in Colorado, USA

Owl Creek Residence by Skylab Architecture in Colorado, USA

Owl Creek Residence by Skylab Architecture in Colorado, USA

Owl Creek Residence by Skylab Architecture in Colorado, USA

Owl Creek Residence by Skylab Architecture in Colorado, USA

Owl Creek Residence by Skylab Architecture in Colorado, USA

Owl Creek Residence by Skylab Architecture in Colorado, USA

Owl Creek Residence by Skylab Architecture in Colorado, USA

Owl Creek Residence by Skylab Architecture in Colorado, USA

Owl Creek Residence by Skylab Architecture in Colorado, USA

Owl Creek Residence by Skylab Architecture in Colorado, USA

Owl Creek Residence by Skylab Architecture in Colorado, USA

Owl Creek Residence by Skylab Architecture in Colorado, USA

Owl Creek Residence by Skylab Architecture in Colorado, USA

Owl Creek Residence by Skylab Architecture in Colorado, USA

Owl Creek Residence by Skylab Architecture in Colorado, USA

Owl Creek Residence by Skylab Architecture in Colorado, USA

Owl Creek Residence by Skylab Architecture in Colorado, USA

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Estancia y Ficus by Canas Arquitectos in Escazu, Costa Rica

Project: Estancia y Ficus
Architects: Canas Arquitectos
Location: Escazu, Costa Rica
Area: 979 sqft
Photographs by: Courtesy of Canas Arquitectos

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Estancia y Ficus by Canas Arquitectos

The Estancia y Ficus project by Canas Arquitectos is a very simple, yet an incredibly unique project. It is a rather small house, only spanning across 979 square feet but not all is in the size. This house is all about location. It is located in the colonial city of Escazu in San Jose in Costa Rica, but more importantly, it is placed atop a hill that overlooks San Jose and Heredia.

Estancia y Ficus by Canas Arquitectos in Escazu, Costa Rica

The program could not be simpler.

It’s a place where one can enjoy the view and spend afternoons and part of the evening with friends and family.

The location selected had a slight slope towards the east and a bonsai like tree, that resembles the ones grown by its owner.

The view of the San Jose city with the central volcanic mountain range is spectacular, the Escazu mountains with it’s Pico Blanco or White Peak , so close that you feel that you can touch them with your hands.

At nighttime, San Jose becomes the main attraction as it starts lighting up, the sky starts turning red, tinted by the city lights and the rest of the landscape begins to get lost in the darkness. The only one thing that remains is the illuminated Ficus.

With this in mind, we designed a glass house, elevated on top of metallic columns and with a cover that opens towards the view – 3 glass sides and a back wall (with the amenities).

Canas Arquitectos

Estancia y Ficus by Canas Arquitectos in Escazu, Costa Rica

The access is through a steel bridge and glass which directs us towards the open view of the city , and soon towards the end, breaking off into an angle to access the room. It’s a unique 52 m2 space which holds living room, dining room, kitchen and a small adjacent bathroom.

This space opens up completely on its northeast side facing the area’s landscape and about 60% towards the 30 square meter terrace facing San Jose.

A dark ceramic tile was chosen for the floor and the ceiling was paingted greyinh color so that during the night these colores would leave the room almost in a semi darkness and would not compete with the city lights. The furniture and the wall colors all complement such style.

To sum it all up: a light and clear project, which is not intrusive, designed to immerse yourself within the scenery.

Canas Arquitectos

Estancia y Ficus by Canas Arquitectos in Escazu, Costa Rica

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Estancia y Ficus by Canas Arquitectos in Escazu, Costa Rica

Estancia y Ficus by Canas Arquitectos in Escazu, Costa Rica

Estancia y Ficus by Canas Arquitectos in Escazu, Costa Rica

Estancia y Ficus by Canas Arquitectos in Escazu, Costa Rica

Estancia y Ficus by Canas Arquitectos in Escazu, Costa Rica

Estancia y Ficus by Canas Arquitectos in Escazu, Costa Rica

Estancia y Ficus by Canas Arquitectos in Escazu, Costa Rica

Estancia y Ficus by Canas Arquitectos in Escazu, Costa Rica

Estancia y Ficus by Canas Arquitectos in Escazu, Costa Rica

Estancia y Ficus by Canas Arquitectos in Escazu, Costa Rica

Estancia y Ficus by Canas Arquitectos in Escazu, Costa Rica

Estancia y Ficus by Canas Arquitectos in Escazu, Costa Rica

Estancia y Ficus by Canas Arquitectos in Escazu, Costa Rica

Estancia y Ficus by Canas Arquitectos in Escazu, Costa Rica

Estancia y Ficus by Canas Arquitectos in Escazu, Costa Rica

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Davis Residence by Miller Hull in Washington, USA

Project: Davis Residence
Architects: Miller Hull
Location: Bellingham, Washington, USA
Area: 1,400 sqft
Photographs by: Benjamin Benschneider

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Davis Residence by Miller Hull

The Davis Residence is a 1,400 square feet home located in a densely wooded area on a cliff with a stellar view of the San Juan Islands. It is actually located in Bellingham, Washington, USA where it tries its best to blend in with the natural environment that surrounds it.
Miller Hull has designed the Davis Residence with an abundant use of wood throughout the interior as well as the exterior, creating a warm ambiance and a strong connection to its surroundings.

Davis Residence by Miller Hull in Washington, USA

This 1400 sq. ft main house and guest house/garage is located on a heavily wooded cliff site with views of the San Juan Islands of Washington State. The plan orients to major views south down the coast line and west out to the islands while being careful to stay outside of the drip line of the dominant Doug fir trees. Large overhangs protect glazing and provide shelter.

The concept marries a long gently sloping roof form containing the kitchen, entry and studio with a vertical tower containing the living room and master bedroom above.

The roof forms express their timber construction with exposed joist, 1×4 skip sheathing and plywood diaphragms. The high performance wood fir windows provide thermal breaks while being strong enough for the mullions to be of minimal dimension. Wood T&G paneling is stained in bold transparent colors.

Miller Hull

Davis Residence by Miller Hull in Washington, USA

Davis Residence by Miller Hull in Washington, USA

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Davis Residence by Miller Hull in Washington, USA

Davis Residence by Miller Hull in Washington, USA

Davis Residence by Miller Hull in Washington, USA

Davis Residence by Miller Hull in Washington, USA

Davis Residence by Miller Hull in Washington, USA

Davis Residence by Miller Hull in Washington, USA

Davis Residence by Miller Hull in Washington, USA

Davis Residence by Miller Hull in Washington, USA

Davis Residence by Miller Hull in Washington, USA

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Shore House by Leroy Street Studio in New York, USA

Project: Shore House
Architects: Leroy Street Studio
Location: North Haven, New York, USA
Area: 5,935 sqft
Photographs by: Scott Frances

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Shore House by Leroy Street Studio

The Shore House is a cedar-clad dwelling in North Haven in Suffolk County, New York designed by the US firm Leroy Street StudioThe main feature of this home’s design is its ability to provide stunning views of the Peconic River. It is built on a sloping site so part of it was excavated to make way for the ground level which is actually embedded into the slope, hidden from view. The second-floor volume is characterized by plenty of small windows that open up views to the waterside.

Shore House by Leroy Street Studio in New York, USA

Located at the juncture where a forest opens onto the bay, the Shore House was designed to capture both the intimacy of the wooded site and the expansiveness of the open water. Upon approach, a cedar facade and planted roof obscure the house while the minimal fenestration curates glimpses of the ocean beyond. A cut in the earth offers entry to the house followed by a sequence of interior and exterior spaces that slowly open to sweeping views of the bay.

Designed for both large family events and as a private retreat, the water side of the house is wrapped in large glass panels that open to a covered outdoor courtyard. Here a large masonry hearth supports the upper volume and provides a focal point for a sunken seating area. Access to the floating bedrooms and sitting room is by a hidden stair.

The language of detailing is both expansive and intimate: exploring the junction between abstract modernism and handcrafted materiality. The monumental scale of the cantilevered mass and panoramic glazing are juxtaposed with the intimacy of the texture and warmth of charred cedar, brushed oak, blackened steel, troweled plaster, and hand-glazed tiles.

By taking on the roles of both the builder and interior designer, the architects were able to engage the design process from inception through fabrication and construction and were better positioned to integrate the nuances of the site and program into the final design.

Leroy Street Studio

Shore House by Leroy Street Studio in New York, USA

Shore House by Leroy Street Studio in New York, USA

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Shore House by Leroy Street Studio in New York, USA

Shore House by Leroy Street Studio in New York, USA

Shore House by Leroy Street Studio in New York, USA

Shore House by Leroy Street Studio in New York, USA

Shore House by Leroy Street Studio in New York, USA

Shore House by Leroy Street Studio in New York, USA

Shore House by Leroy Street Studio in New York, USA

Shore House by Leroy Street Studio in New York, USA

Shore House by Leroy Street Studio in New York, USA

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El Guarango House by Bernardo Bustamante in Quito, Ecuador

Project: El Guarango House
Architects: Bernardo Bustamante
Location: Quito, Ecuador
Area: 1,162 sqft
Photographs by: Sebastian Crespo

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El Guarango House by Bernardo Bustamante

The El Guarango House is built right into a hillside in Quito, Ecuador. This 1,162 square feet weekend home is designed by Bernardo Bustamante to integrate modern living into a peaceful, rural setting. The modern home nestles into its surroundings, sitting alone on top of a hill, offering spectacular views of the growing urban area below and the valley into the distance.

El Guarango House by Bernardo Bustamante in Quito, Ecuador

The Guarango House is located in Rumiloma, one of the hills that stems from the Ilaló, a hill that has recently been integrated to become part of Quito´s rapidly growing urban area. Rumiloma´s irregular topography with its steep slopes and sharp ravines creates an astonishing view of the Ecuadorean Andes.

The house is situated in the uppermost area of a large batch of three hectares taking advantage of a natural existing platform, similar to the plant of the houses´ single floor base área, which avoids interfering with the land´s natural given characteristics.

The architectural program was conceived as a weekend two bedroom home, with a social area that doubles its size, by integrating the outer covered terrace which in itself extends its view endlessly towards the Inga Valley, the site of Ecuador´s first human settlements.

It was built in 75 days, optimizing resources to reduce costs to a mínimum, despite the difficult access to the projects location.

The construction technology used, fuses the metal framework with load- bearing brick masonry. A contemporary effect is achieved with the use of ancestral resources such as handcrafted clay bricks made at the same location with clay soil from the ground.

In the Inner architectural design, the need to close and shield the house on all fronts when the owners are not present was taken into account by creating a system of sliding gates designed to also hide from view within the same structures of the house when open.

Water is scarce in this region and there is no drinking water supply. It doesn´t rain for half of the year , therefore rain water is collected from the roof in an artificial grotto dug next to the house which is then complemented by a system of cisterns that collect water through integrated gutters placed in strategic areas of the land, which in turn help with the reforestation of the site.

This project demonstrates how it is possible to solve the need to build a weekend house in a rural area with a unique and simple volume using honest traditional and contemporary materials, and without hiding constructive elements, generating efficiency and synthetism consistent with a sustainable idea.

Bernardo Bustamante

El Guarango House by Bernardo Bustamante in Quito, Ecuador

El Guarango House by Bernardo Bustamante in Quito, Ecuador

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El Guarango House by Bernardo Bustamante in Quito, Ecuador

El Guarango House by Bernardo Bustamante in Quito, Ecuador

El Guarango House by Bernardo Bustamante in Quito, Ecuador

El Guarango House by Bernardo Bustamante in Quito, Ecuador

El Guarango House by Bernardo Bustamante in Quito, Ecuador

El Guarango House by Bernardo Bustamante in Quito, Ecuador

El Guarango House by Bernardo Bustamante in Quito, Ecuador

El Guarango House by Bernardo Bustamante in Quito, Ecuador

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Villa G by SCAPE in Sorengo, Switzerland

Project: Villa G
Architects: SCAPE
Location: Sorengo, Switzerland
Area: 3,659 sqft
Photographs by: Francesco Mattuzzi

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Villa G by SCAPE

Villa G is a contemporary family home located in Sorengo in the district of Lugano in Switzerland. It was designed by SCAPE, an Italian studio who have built this home around contrasting volumes that rise up from the ground.
It is placed on a steep hillside plot that is near a protected wood. The parcel of land also opens up a partial view of the mountain ridge over the nearby lake.

Villa G by SCAPE in Sorengo, Switzerland

The G family home in Sorengo, on the edge of Lugano in Ticino, is the category of villa that Palladio-1 put forward as a contrast with the town house. The site, a long narrow strip of land on a steep slope, is part of a hilly area, bordered on its short sides by a private road and another property.

On the long sides it is fringed by another site being developed and a wood that is legislatively bound. To enjoy the fine view of the mountains and part of the lake, the ground level must by raised by three metres. Iñaki Abalos would define Villa G as the product of pragmatism.

The spaces are articulated according to the client’s precise requests, such as the fact that all the main living spaces on the ground floor, with a second floor devoted only to a games room, guest area and the solarium with a heated pool. As a house, it is neither too large nor too small. There is room in it for all that is needed for each member of the family to live life autonomously.

The plan involves an interchange of open glassed areas and enclosed volumes to house the technical and service zones as well as the closed rooms such as the study. From the entrance, positioned just over two metres from the road, a long corridor crosses the entire main floor, broadening as it reaches the sitting room and dining area. The house is a system that is reflected in the spaces. Villa G has been designed so as to permit all the internal areas to open onto the wood: allowing architecture to become an environmental filter. A central patio increases further the important relationship between inside and outside.

The volumes, made up of load-bearing partition walls, are of different heights and emerge at the upper level to construct an artificial landscape that contrasts with the natural landscape of the mountains. The choice of materials is intentionally restricted; the walls are in pale cement treated with reflective paint both for aesthetic reasons and to protect them. Inside, the insulation is covered with white plaster.

Externally the house has been clad in local stone. Opaque aluminium fittings bring a contemporary touch to the project as a whole. Particular mention should be made of the realisation process. The pragmatic method ties together technical aspects and nature. From a technical point of view there is a merging with Swiss artisanship.

The metal sheet subtly working, resolves details related to dripping water. The formworks, thanks to a system created ad hoc for the house, hide the join marks so that the aesthetics of the cement walls are not compromised and to allow the parquet floor to be recessed without the need for a skirting board.

SCAPE

Villa G by SCAPE in Sorengo, Switzerland

Villa G by SCAPE in Sorengo, Switzerland

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Villa G by SCAPE in Sorengo, Switzerland

Villa G by SCAPE in Sorengo, Switzerland

Villa G by SCAPE in Sorengo, Switzerland

Villa G by SCAPE in Sorengo, Switzerland

Villa G by SCAPE in Sorengo, Switzerland

Villa G by SCAPE in Sorengo, Switzerland

Villa G by SCAPE in Sorengo, Switzerland

Villa G by SCAPE in Sorengo, Switzerland

Villa G by SCAPE in Sorengo, Switzerland

Villa G by SCAPE in Sorengo, Switzerland

Villa G by SCAPE in Sorengo, Switzerland

Villa G by SCAPE in Sorengo, Switzerland

Villa G by SCAPE in Sorengo, Switzerland

Villa G by SCAPE in Sorengo, Switzerland

Villa G by SCAPE in Sorengo, Switzerland

Villa G by SCAPE in Sorengo, Switzerland

Villa G by SCAPE in Sorengo, Switzerland

Villa G by SCAPE in Sorengo, Switzerland

Villa G by SCAPE in Sorengo, Switzerland

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Tower House by Andersson Wise Architects in Austin, Texas

Project: Tower House
Architects: Andersson Wise Architects
Location: Austin, Texas, USA
Photographs by: Art Gray

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Tower House by Andersson Wise Architects

Andersson Wise Architects have designed a modern residence in Austin, Texas, called the Tower House, for obvious reasons.
This tower shaped dwelling is a result of the client’s request for a larger home with additional bedrooms, baths and living areas. Instead of extending the old limestone cabin, the architects decided to create a brand new vertical home that rises up out of the forest, providing stunning views of Lake Travis.

Tower House by Andersson Wise Architects in Austin, Texas

In considering an addition to the original, stone lodge at this Lake Travis property, the notion of a tower was born out of several factors: taking advantage of views, minimizing the footprint on the site, and accommodating the rising flood plain elevation.

There are a few small limestone cabins from the 1930’s located along Lake Travis, the longest of the Highland Lakes that terrace the hill country west of Austin, and they are used primarily in the summer. One such cabin sits on a slope rising from the water under a canopy of native oaks and cedars. It had one large room, a little sleeping room, a kitchen, and a porch facing the water.

Our clients requested two additional bedrooms with baths and a living area for larger groups to gather. We chose to locate the new sleeping quarters in a separate tower. Two small bedrooms occupy the first and second floors. Above, a third level terrace opens to a panorama of the lake and distant rolling hills. On this terrace, some thirty feet above the ground, even the hottest summer afternoon can be enjoyed under a roof open to the prevailing breezes blowing in from the lake. The original stone cabin is now juxtaposed with a vertical tower of wood, rising up out of the forest and into the bright Texas sky. The Tower draws you up to see the lake, barely visible at ground level through the thicket of trees.

Andersson Wise Architects

Tower House by Andersson Wise Architects in Austin, Texas

Tower House by Andersson Wise Architects in Austin, Texas

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Tower House by Andersson Wise Architects in Austin, Texas

Tower House by Andersson Wise Architects in Austin, Texas

Tower House by Andersson Wise Architects in Austin, Texas

Tower House by Andersson Wise Architects in Austin, Texas

Tower House by Andersson Wise Architects in Austin, Texas

Tower House by Andersson Wise Architects in Austin, Texas

Tower House by Andersson Wise Architects in Austin, Texas

Tower House by Andersson Wise Architects in Austin, Texas

Tower House by Andersson Wise Architects in Austin, Texas

Tower House by Andersson Wise Architects in Austin, Texas

Tower House by Andersson Wise Architects in Austin, Texas

Tower House by Andersson Wise Architects in Austin, Texas

Tower House by Andersson Wise Architects in Austin, Texas

Tower House by Andersson Wise Architects in Austin, Texas

Tower House by Andersson Wise Architects in Austin, Texas

Tower House by Andersson Wise Architects in Austin, Texas

Tower House by Andersson Wise Architects in Austin, Texas

Tower House by Andersson Wise Architects in Austin, Texas

Tower House by Andersson Wise Architects in Austin, Texas

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Forest House by Fearon Hay Architects in Auckland, New Zealand

Project: Forest House
Architects: Fearon Hay Architects
Location: Auckland, New Zealand
Area: 6,458 sq ft
Photographs by: Simon Wilson

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Forest House by Fearon Hay Architects

The Forest House designed by Fearon Hay Architects is an excellent example of a modern rustic home design.
This blend of rural and contemporary design is located at the foot of the Waitakere Ranges in Auckland, New Zealand. Its location provides the house with great views which is something the architects exploited to connect the interior of the Forest House with the surrounding and expanding nature.

Forest House by Fearon Hay Architects in Auckland, New Zealand

Set at the foot of the Waitakere Ranges is a collection of timber clad, gabled structures. They slip past one another, opening spaces for courtyards, cooking and fire. The clients wanted a working house, not just a place they would go to sleep in. So the buildings had to have that functionality, but as a place it also had to be exciting. The clients came to us to be surprised and to have something from a design point of view they didn’t quite understand.

The client had been collecting vintage timber for years, stockpiling from different parts of New Zealand – large beams, pallets of native timbers – and he had a massive supply of totara. We thought we could build him a house that carefully curates his extensive timber collection. So there’s a patchwork of these different timbers and we sought to bring them all together tonally so that the end product was beautiful aesthetically. While timber can be used to create solidity, warmth and mass, it can also be incredibly fine. We enjoyed playing with this tension.

While there are some very large and rustic elements, there is a fineness and a lightness to the enclosure and layering of it. The slatted shutters can be closed to make interior spaces warm and intimate, or opened up to allow in the light that moves from north to west. Exterior shells of native timber boards and shingle roof are founded over cast in situ concrete masses, bracketing the interior spaces within and adding a weight and strength to the voluminous interiors. The roof form and materiality allowed us to develop a strong sense of continuity between the separate buildings.

Fearon Hay Architects

Forest House by Fearon Hay Architects in Auckland, New Zealand

Forest House by Fearon Hay Architects in Auckland, New Zealand

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Forest House by Fearon Hay Architects in Auckland, New Zealand

Forest House by Fearon Hay Architects in Auckland, New Zealand

Forest House by Fearon Hay Architects in Auckland, New Zealand

Forest House by Fearon Hay Architects in Auckland, New Zealand

Forest House by Fearon Hay Architects in Auckland, New Zealand

Forest House by Fearon Hay Architects in Auckland, New Zealand

Forest House by Fearon Hay Architects in Auckland, New Zealand

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