Thurlow Road: a house nestled among London stucco villas

Nestled amidst the elegant stucco villas of Hampstead, Thurlow Road introduces a fresh addition to the residential landscape. This new property, spanning 300m2 across three stories, draws inspiration from nearby modernist structures, seamlessly blending into the architectural tapestry of the area. With a keen eye for detail, Square Feet Architects meticulously crafted every aspect of the home to harmonize with the client's needs.

Replacing a nondescript single-story dwelling, this four-bedroom development adheres to stringent planning regulations set by Camden. Collaborating closely with MH Costa Contractors, Square Feet navigated technical challenges to meet the demanding criteria for basement construction. By ingeniously building upwards from the ground floor before excavating below, they ensured structural stability while maximizing space.

Materials play a pivotal role in shaping the tactile ambiance of the home. From charred larch timber cladding to anodized bronze-framed windows, each element contributes to a cohesive and inviting atmosphere. Inside, polished plaster render, timber-lined ceilings, and stained oak floors define a sequence of spaces that exude warmth and sophistication.

Thurlow Road: a house nestled among London stucco villas
Photograph © Paul Smoothy

The basement level, ingeniously designed with high ceilings and ample glazing, dispels any notion of darkness often associated with below-ground living. Here, two bedrooms, bathrooms, a gym, cinema, and utility room bask in natural light, thanks to innovative architectural interventions.

Ascending to the upper levels, a timber suspended stairway leads to the spare bedroom and master suite, offering panoramic vistas of Hampstead and the Heath. Throughout the property, meticulous attention to detail ensures a seamless flow between rooms, fostering a sense of unity and coherence.

Thurlow Road: a house nestled among London stucco villas
Photograph © Paul Smoothy

Outside, the landscape harmonizes with the natural surroundings, featuring a green roof adorned with wildflowers and grasses. Climbing plants cascade over existing brick walls, integrating the structure with its verdant surroundings. Embracing sustainability, the building boasts high insulation and airtightness, complemented by an air source heat pump to minimize energy consumption.

Thurlow Road: a house nestled among London stucco villas
Photograph © Paul Smoothy

In essence, Thurlow Road epitomizes Square Feet Architects' commitment to creating homes that not only fulfill practical needs but also resonate with their environment. Through thoughtful design and conscientious construction, this residence stands as a testament to the enduring harmony between human habitation and nature.

Terrazza: A Sculptural Building Establishing Neighborhood Connections on All Sides

Discover 122 new mailboxes on Zeeburgereiland: Welcome to Terrazza! This distinctive residential edifice forms a seamless bond with its surroundings from every vantage point in the neighborhood. Some residences boast connections to the streets via stairs and terraces, while the standout feature remains the accessible courtyards, enhancing the verdant appeal of Amsterdam's burgeoning district.

Reflecting its inclusive ethos, the building's design exudes a public-friendly demeanor. The façades showcase a unique charm through the interplay of horizontally and vertically stacked bricks. Generously proportioned double-height entrances and expansive street-level fronts imbue the structure with an inviting ambiance. Comprising three interconnected segments ascending in gradual steps, Terrazza harmonizes seamlessly with its architectural milieu, standing at 12 meters high on the north side and accentuating up to 36 meters on the south.

Terrazza
Photograph © Luuk Kramer

Terrazza offers a captivating panorama from every angle, characterized by staggered balconies and a dynamic interplay of large windows and narrow slits. The architectural diversity extends to the choice of masonry bonds, featuring two hues of sand-colored bricks from Brunsummer clay sourced from Engels Steenfabriek in Oeffelt. Complementing the brickwork, the tones of the frames, roof trim, and prefab concrete seamlessly merge tonally.

Craftsmanship and variety are the focal points of this endeavor, meticulously evident even in the design of the letterboxes. Diversity is not limited to the exterior; it permeates the interior as well. Each residence boasts a bespoke floor plan, encompassing a diverse array of living spaces, from compact studios to sprawling rooftop villas. With an extensive repertoire of 44 floor plans, Terrazza caters to a spectrum of lifestyles and preferences.

Project Credits:

  • Architects: M3H Architects
  • Area:  13400 sq.m.
  • Year:  2020
  • Photographs:  Luuk Kramer
  • City:  Amsterdam
  • Country:  The Netherlands
  • Baboolal Residence: A Net Zero Home in North Carolina

    The Baboolal residence, a net zero home, accommodates a multicultural family of four. The husband, originally from South Africa with Indian heritage, and the American wife both work in high-stress professions; he as a pediatric anesthesiologist and she as a pediatric nurse. Alongside their two small children and pets, they sought to escape the constraints of cookie-cutter developer homes, which were characterized by wasted space and illogical layouts.

    Driven by this frustration, they embarked on the journey of constructing a custom home. Their vision included spaces that fostered family togetherness, while also providing privacy and tranquility for the parents to recharge between shifts and for the children to enjoy their own domains. Moreover, they emphasized the importance of seamlessly integrating indoor and outdoor areas.

    Brief

    The clients sought a single-story family home accommodating four individuals, characterized by two distinct zones: an open and inviting public area encompassing the kitchen, dining, living rooms, deck, and porch, juxtaposed with a secluded wing for the parents and a suite tailored for the children, including a playroom accessible only through their bedrooms. Central to their vision was a profound connection between indoor and outdoor spaces, particularly emphasizing the captivating meadow view to the north.

    Key Challenges

    The main hurdle the architects faced was the site itself. Surrounded by neighbors and conventional developments to the west and south, the most scenic view lay to the north, overlooking the neighbor's property—a concept we embraced as "borrowed landscape."

    Solutions

    The Baboolal residence was guided by the Japanese principle of "Shakkei," meaning borrowed scenery. The property's northern border adjoins a stunning grassy meadow belonging to a neighboring estate. This meadow serves as the focal point from the Baboolal residence, effectively "borrowing" its captivating vista.

    For this project, the owners' view remains safeguarded as the meadow will never be developed upon; it serves as a vast septic field for the neighboring estate. Moreover, the meadow doubles as a haven for butterflies and bees during the summer months, offering a serene and picturesque view year-round. Additionally, it provides unparalleled privacy, with no neighboring houses visible from that side of the residence, save for those in the distant horizon.

    The design approach involves a seamless transition: entry into the residence from the south leads to the expansive main living area, which opens up to the breathtaking borrowed landscape to the north. the architects outfitted the entire north wall of the living and dining room with operable glass doors, constructed to passive house standards for optimal energy efficiency, facilitating a seamless indoor-outdoor experience.

    Specialized features include a nursery accessible from each child's respective bedroom, a luxurious main bathroom for the parents, a gourmet kitchen complete with a stylish bar, a tranquil retreat within the parents' suite, and a private study for indulging in vintage vinyl jazz records, among other amenities.

    Project Credits:

  • Architects: Arielle Schechter
  • Area:  223 sq.m. (2400 sq.ft.)
  • Year:  2020
  • Photographs:  Tzu Chen
  • City:  Chapel Hill, North Carolina
  • Country:  United States
  • A future-proof meeting place with sustainable apartments brings new life to Groningen’s city centre

    With the completion of Mercado and the redevelopment of Rode Weeshuisstraat, Groningen city centre’s north side gets a new boost. The building, together with the new Stalplein next to it, embodies an urban transformation geared towards pedestrians and encounters. The design of Mercado and the urban plan for Rode Weeshuisstraat were created by the architectural collaboration of De Zwarte Hond and Loer Architecten on behalf of developers MWPO and Beauvast. Mercado features a monumental plinth with 41 sustainable apartments above it, built by Plegt-Vos.

    Revitalizing the city centre’s north side

    In the new urban development plan, Rode Weeshuisstraat is no longer the back of Grote Markt but the front of the city centre’s north side. In addition, cars will give way to pedestrians and Mercado – replacing a former V&D department-store warehouse – creates space for a new city square with a more compact footprint. The redesign of the street is combined with a generous 6-metre-high transparent plinth, which, together with the new square, creates a meeting place.

    In terms of scale, Mercado forms the link between Grote Markt and Rode Weeshuisstraat. The buildings on Grote Markt are of a larger scale than those on the north side of Rode Weeshuisstraat, including the Weeshuis (orphanage) itself. Mercado combines these scales in its stepped volume, which is high where possible and lower where necessary. The result is a building that fits perfectly into the city centre in terms of scale yet has its own identity.

    Craft and character

    Mercado’s facade is made from ceramic elements. In close collaboration with ceramic manufacturer NBK and facade builder Bijlbouw, samples and mock-ups were used to find the perfect blue-green glaze for the facade with its custom-made details. Thanks to this glaze, the building appears a different colour in every type of weather, and a layering of colour and form can be discerned add a touch of artistry that refers to the richness of Groningen’s historical buildings and the optimistic rawness of post-war architecture. The reconstruction architecture on Grote Markt is characterized by glass, precast concrete and natural stone, while the orphanage stands out with its ornaments and stucco facades in pastel shades. Mercado, with its beige clay and semi-transparent glaze, blends in well with both the pastel Weeshuis and the post-war block’s stone-like materials.

    Flexible, sustainable, and nature-inclusive

    The ground floor has been future-proofed by placing stairs and elevators to the side of the building. This creates an open, monumental space that can be flexibly configured for public events. Beneath the building there are wells for a thermal energy system (TES). In combination with heat pumps, the entire building is natural gas-free.

    The vertical garden along the facade provides the building with 3.800 plants and contributes to biodiversity. On the south facade, climbing plants cover the balconies like green privacy screens. The building’s stepped volume provides space for roof terraces where colourful plants and trees are part of the design. Special planters were designed for Mercado with a unique colour scheme to match the building. Both the rooftop terraces and facade gardens are watered by a computerised system and regularly maintained by a gardener.

    Successful Transformation

    In five years, Rode Weeshuisstraat has transformed from a dark side street into a unique meeting place. Frank Loer (Loer Architecten) and Henk Stadens (De Zwarte Hond) state:

    The urban plan gives the city centre’s north side the sophistication it deserves. Mercado and the redesigned Rode Weeshuisstraat give the city centre a boost. The monumental plinth, greenery and ceramic facade add an exceptional quality to the centre of Groningen."

  • Architects: De Zwarte Hond | Loer Architecten
  • Area:  8,400 sqm GFA (commercial: 2,105 sqm, residential: 6,332 sqm)
  • Year:  2023
  • Photographs:  Sebastian van Damme
  • City:  Rotterdam
  • Country:  The Netherlands
  • Credits:
    Architect
    : Architect ural collaboration of De Zwarte Hond and Loer Architecten
    Contractor: Plegt-Vos Noord
    Structural Engineer: Dijkhuis
    Installation Consultant: ABT Wassenaar
    Building Physic Consultant: Noorman Bouw- en milieu advies
    Installations: Aalbers Dijkhuis ingenieurs
    Program: 41 luxury apartments and penthouses, restaurants, and parking

    Link House by Openideas

    Designing a 22,000 sq.ft home for an entrepreneur who doubles as real estate magnate is a creative odyssey. In the heart of the city there stands a residence which defies conventional living.

    The client approached us with a challenge to build two separate houses and an outhouse on a limited plot of land. Taking it as a challenge and making most of the space, we proposed two different blocks for father and son, graciously elevating and linking them with entertainment areas at the upper level. By doing so, we minimized the ground coverage and created various green pockets, sunken courts and vast green lawns within the site. This link between the two blocks is not just physical but also symbolic. It signifies the bridge /link between generations, ideologies and experiences. Hence “The Link House”.
    The journey begins with a dynamic bridge flowing over water bodies and greens .As one ascends anticipation builds creating an aura of mystery and delight. Each step taken is a step into unexpected, setting the tone for extraordinary experiences and views that lie beyond.

    Ascending this flowing bridge, the house unfold meticulously planned spaces, ingeniously segregated to cater the need of both father and son. Aptly named as one ascends to the upper level, one is greeted by dynamic entertainment space which gracefully bridges the distinct houses of father and son. Spilling out into the pool area with stepped garden pockets, the link house finds its focal point overlooking the lush green lawns. This space becomes more than just a pool are, it’s a communal area where the family gathers and simply revel in the warmth of each other’s company.

    Link House by Openideas
    Photograph © Ishita Sitwala

    Another entrance at the ground level below the bridge, gracefully cradles the parents abode, offering them tranquility and security. Simultaneously the adjacent block housing the son’s home seamlessly interconnects both, at the upper and the lower level. This link has also scooped out space like sunken courts at the ground level, which also serves as a hub for family gatherings. This court then opens up into vast verdant lawns, creating different pockets and experiences.

    At the basement level, for the moments of serenity and relaxation, the house boats of a home heather and a spa with skylight that redefines calmness. Extending into a soothing blue water body and green piercing through concrete, it creates an oasis of calmness to unwind and rejuvenate.

    Link House by Openideas
    Photograph © Ishita Sitwala

    The interior adorned with the finest Italian marble and wood reflects the exquisite taste of luxury with warmth and elegance. Large openings where natural light seamlessly merging the indoors with the picturesque outdoors. Every room is a canvas, blending modern contemporary aesthetics with timeless elegance. The interiors for the parents is more refined, subtle, grey and mature, whereas for the son its more modern , contemporary yet playful.

    In every aspect, this house showcases a thoughtful design, where luxury meets functionality, surprise greets at every turns and where every day is an experience.

    East Fremantle House by NIC BRUNSDON

    The East Fremantle House serves as a contextually responsive addition to a heritage cottage in suburban Perth, emphasizing the significance of the unbuilt space—particularly, a spacious northern void dedicated to sun, light, sky, sound, and breeze. The design meticulously follows this edge, establishing rooms that enjoy immediate connections with these elemental conditions.

    East Fremantle House by NIC BRUNSDON
    Photograph © Dion Robeson

    The northern face of the addition adopts a simple and linear form, allowing the southern mass to function as an efficiently designed living space envisioned as an elongated 'garden room.' Sliding doors line the northern face, facilitating the opening of the entire space to allow the vitality of the house to spill out and occupy the full width of the site.

    On the southern face, ancillary program elements take the form of distinct 'lumps': a tall triangular chimney for the fireplace, a curved north-facing shell for an art wall, a low top-lit box for the kitchen, and a high round cylinder for a powder room.

    East Fremantle House by NIC BRUNSDON
    Photograph © Dion Robeson

    Formally, the house is divided into four parts: the existing brick cottage, an entry link, the ground floor addition, and the first-floor addition. The entry link acts as a mediating point, serving as the connective tissue between these elements. Dark, hard, and solemn, the entry leads to the restored and subtly amended existing cottage on the left, while on the right, the garden room and living spaces offer a light, bright, and open experiential contrast. Above these areas, the articulated eaves and master suite form a delicately perched wooden box.

    East Fremantle House by NIC BRUNSDON
    Photograph © Dion Robeson

    The ground floor addition features masonry construction, painted or bagged brick, or rough-thrown concrete, all painted white. This floor is marked by a deliberate and expressed datum line, above which the project transitions to light-framed natural timbers. Exceptions to this hard datum threshold occur on the southern elevation, where the counter 'lumps' break through to varying heights, and in the sunken lounge room, where the first-floor stair introduces a timber hatch to welcome and gently touch the heavy base of the ground floor program.

    This project aligns with the perspective that sustainability is best approached as a first principles concept rather than an applied technology. Getting the massing, orientation, and subsequent program planning right is deemed the most crucial aspect for designers of inhabited environments, especially in the current context of shifting work patterns towards the home.

    By prioritizing the northern garden as the initial design move on the site, this project relegates the building to a secondary and deferential role. The garden, as a void of space, contributes tangible and significant amenity to the project, highlighting that an understanding of and connection to our celestial sphere can influence the rhythms, patterns, and overall quality of daily family life.

    East Fremantle House by NIC BRUNSDON
    Photograph © Dion Robeson

    Brief

    By prioritizing the placement of the northern garden as the initial design element on the site, this project highlights the building's role as secondary and deferential to the surrounding space. The garden, functioning as a void, contributes tangible and significant amenities to the project, emphasizing that an awareness of and connection to celestial elements can shape the rhythms, patterns, and overall quality of daily family life.

    On the southern facade, ancillary program elements manifest as distinctive 'lumps,' penetrating the purity of the north-facing living box. These elements include a tall triangular chimney for the fireplace, a curved north-facing shell for an art wall, a low top-lit box for the kitchen, and a high round cylinder for a powder room.

    East Fremantle House by NIC BRUNSDON
    Photograph © Dion Robeson

    In terms of sustainability, this approach views it as a fundamental principle rather than an applied technology. Ensuring correct massing, orientation, and subsequent program planning is deemed crucial, representing the most impactful action designers can take in shaping lived environments. This holds even greater significance in our present context with evolving work patterns gravitating towards home environments.

    How the project is unique

    The client's request was for a thoughtfully integrated extension that would provide practical living space for a beloved existing cottage.

    Subsequently, the house incorporates this program with advanced sustainable space planning elements, considering thermal mass, winter sun angles, and prevailing breezes.

    Additionally, the design accommodates evolving family dynamics. Presently, the entire family resides in the front of the house following a recent birth. As time progresses, parents or children may opt to utilize the rear upper floor bedroom suite.

    The outcome is a residence that is adaptable, practical, and attuned to the various stages of life.

    East Fremantle House by NIC BRUNSDON
    Photograph © Dion Robeson

    Solutions

    Architecturally, the house is delineated into four components: the existing brick cottage, an entry link, the ground floor addition, and the first-floor addition. Serving as a mediating element, the entry link connects and harmonizes these distinct parts.

    Upon entry and to the left is the restored and subtly modified existing cottage. On the right, the garden room and living spaces exude a light, bright, and open ambiance, creating a deliberate contrast to the initial entry experience. Above these areas, the carefully designed eaves and master suite form a delicately perched wooden box.

    This project fosters a connection between the occupants and the surrounding environment. The northern face of the addition features a simple and linear form, allowing the southern mass of the building to serve as an efficiently designed living space conceptualized as an elongated 'garden room.' Sliding doors line the northern face, facilitating the opening of the entire space to enable the vitality of the house to spill out and occupy the full width of the site.

    3x3 Retreat by Estudio Diagonal Architects

    The tension between radical geometry and forest organic shapes shows the first architectural picture when you see this retreat. Highlights house and landscape enhancing natural beauty.

    3x3 Retreat by Estudio Diagonal Architects
    Photograph © Nico Saieh

    Request: comfortable rest place providing disconnection with work. For everyday use, but not intensive. Try to not disturb the natural surroundings conversely enhancing them.

    The place: it rises in a rainforest near La Unión city, south of Chile. After a long deciding walk it was selected the place near a risk on the short of Radimadi river, privileging the view, sunlight, and stream noises. This little, free of trees, the place was a perfect choice.

    3x3 Retreat by Estudio Diagonal Architects
    Photograph © Nico Saieh

    Program: Show on three acts. Start on the terrace with the same footprint as the refuge. It gives the sense of the space between the outside and inside. Is the place where people meet and have a barbecue.

    The journey continues on the first floor or the “day floor” which serves as the kitchen, dining room, and living room. Here people spend the rainy winter days observing across the double-height front window while taking a coffee around the woodstove.

    3x3 Retreat by Estudio Diagonal Architects
    Photograph © Nico Saieh

    Finally, the second floor or “the private floor” serves as a sleeping room and bathroom. The access is just a ladder to save footprint space and give more privacy.

    Dimensions: 3 by 3 meters on the floor. 2.4 meters height on both floors and 4.8 meters in the double-height space for verticals space sensation. The total is 15 square meters inside and 9 square meters outside.

    3x3 Retreat by Estudio Diagonal Architects
    Photograph © Nico Saieh

    Materials: It uses traditional construction materials, easy to find on a budget. Standard pre dimensions pine wood. The construction techniques are common in local labor, but the structure is showing intentionally to appreciate the way it sustains.

    Project Credits

  • Architects: Estudio Diagonal Architects
  • Area:  15 sq.m.
  • Year:  2020
  • Photographs:  Nico Saieh
  • City:  La Unión, Los Ríos
  • Country:  Chile
  • Casa Guaimbê by Sckarquitetura

    The design of Casa Guaimbê seeks to enhance the views of the private garden as well as the city. The land is located on a steep slope, with neighbors on both sides. The orthogonal character sought to orient the openings to the main view, guaranteeing privacy for the house. This way, the architects managed to create a large free area for the garden and swimming pool, taking advantage of the sunniest orientation.

    Casa Guaimbê by Sckarquitetura
    Photograph © Eduardo Macarios

    Design

    First Floor

    The integration with the place and the analysis of the topography guided the creation of the orthogonal volume in L that constitutes the main volumetry. Prioritizing the establishment of a tectonic relationship with the place, the axis created from the main facade runs through the kitchen, dining room, living room and home theater.

    With an extensive program of leisure areas, the main volume expands into the land and divides the gourmet space, which runs through the garden and pool. Aligned with the void of the pool is a small pavilion of the residents’ private gym. Sliding and transparent glass plane framed by a minimalist frame contribute to re-signifying concepts of “inside” and “outside”. In particular, the social area of the residence offers a spectacular view of the garden.

    Casa Guaimbê by Sckarquitetura
    Photograph © Eduardo Macarios
    Casa Guaimbê by Sckarquitetura
    Photograph © Eduardo Macarios
    Casa Guaimbê by Sckarquitetura
    Photograph © Eduardo Macarios

    Second Floor

    The distribution of the flow of the social and intimate area is arranged by a sculptural staircase, which allows access from the upper volume to the lower hall. On the upper floor, intimate areas of the program were allocated: guest bedroom and cinema on one side and connected by a walkway that runs through the ground floor void, the son’s suites and master suite.

    Casa Guaimbê by Sckarquitetura
    Photograph © Eduardo Macarios

    One of the highlights is the dramatic balance created by the volume where the main suite of the residence is located, which advances over the land and is accentuated by the extension of the eaves. This programmatic distribution sought to give greater freedom to the main floor of the residence, so that these environments were not directly linked to the social area of the house or the family’s private area.

    Casa Guaimbê by Sckarquitetura
    Photograph © Eduardo Macarios

    Appearance

    Indeed, it is important to emphasize the refined plastic treatment given to the panels that cover almost all the glass planes on the second floor. Muxarabi panels cover some of the glass planes, moulded by a mesh with a modular design, working as light filters and offering privacy for the intimate area. This solution allows adequate control of natural lighting, in addition, to providing dynamism, versatility and uniqueness to the composition of the facade. The silver travertine marble, lining and freijó wood panels were the base materials, providing unity to the project.

    The wood plays a leading role in the development of the project, allowing the configuration of a contemporary spatial concept. Providing the integration of external and internal areas, the lining crosses the glass planes and also covers the flaps. To create a counterpoint of finishes, the floor of the intimate area was made in tauari while the joinery, lining and slats were designed in freijó. The area around the pool has been paved with cement boards between grass spaces.

    Casa Guaimbê by Sckarquitetura
    Photograph © Eduardo Macarios

    The Brief

    Casa Guaimbê was designed for a young couple, who already had a house projected by the office, but who was in their second residence. The family's new home would be built on a larger plot of land, and should be able to accommodate a program of expanded needs. Bearing in mind the open and free spirit of the couple of future residents and the need to create areas with less compartmentalization, we developed the project with a lot of freedom. One of the clients' main wishes was to be able to contemplate their garden from any room in the house, enhancing the feeling of leisure and tranquility in this home.

    Casa Guaimbê by Sckarquitetura
    Photograph © Eduardo Macarios

    What building methods were used?

    As it was rough ground, aiming for better security, several surveys has been made at the beginning of the process, at several different points of terrain to choose the most appropriate foundation. After analyses and valuations, the use of a root stake was defined as the best option. A type of very deep foundation which provides a more robust basis for construction. The house’s structural system, for the most part, follows the standard most used in Brazilian civil construction: slabs and concrete beams with masonry walls.

    Casa Guaimbê by Sckarquitetura
    Photograph © Eduardo Macarios

    The proposal has large spans and cantilevers, so the solution found was the prestressed slab. This type of slab enables big spaces between pillars and free spans as well as it reduces the height of the beam providing a slender architecture. This solution also made possible the dramatic span created by the volume that moves over the ground and lands over a balcony on the first floor. The external brickwork facing receives the treatment of ventilated façade with marble finishing fixed by metallic inserts at the brickwork façade.

    Casa Guaimbê by Sckarquitetura
    Photograph © Eduardo Macarios

    This solution provides more thermic comfort for the residence interiors as well as the ventilated façade avoids cracks and infiltrations. Inside walls are built either in dry wall or in brickwork. Several of them contain pillars and play a structure function, mainly when are next to big wide frames.

    The flaps, one of focal points of project, were structured for metal triangular parts fixed in the main structure. The flaps got the OSB material (Oriented Strand Board), ACM finishing and over that, wood deck.

    Casa Guaimbê by Sckarquitetura
    Photograph © Eduardo Macarios

    Sustainability Features

    The design approach adopted for this project prioritizes, as much as possible, the connection between interior and exterior. Privileging the most favorable solar orientation, and in search of thermal comfort with minimum energy consumption, the implantation of the house is structured around an orthogonal block in L. This positioning seeks to orient the building towards the best solar incidence as well as to the private garden.

    Casa Guaimbê by Sckarquitetura
    Photograph © Eduardo Macarios

    Desert to be highlighted for accentuating the prestressed slab planes on the upper and lower floors and the volumetric of the eaves, covered by ACM boards in Corten still. In addition to contributing to the protection of facades from direct sunlight, the eaves still act to extend the interior E1 E2 E1 and E2 spaces towards the exterior.

    Casa Guaimbê by Sckarquitetura
    Photograph © Eduardo Macarios

    The remarkable inclination of these elements up and down contributes to accentuating the feeling of lightness given to the building and alludes to oriental architecture. Construction elements, such as the ventilated facade, emerge as a result of a detailed study of climatic factors during the project, appearing on the main facade of the house both as a compositional element that gives personality to the project and as an essential component for the environmental control of the building. Some strategies implemented in this project maximize its energy sufficiency, such as photovoltaic panels, storage batteries and charging stations for electric vehicles, making this a sustainable enterprise.

    Project Credits

  • Architects: Sckarquitetura
  • Area:  1,211 sq.m.
  • Year:  2022
  • Photographs:  Eduardo Macarios
  • City:  Curitiba, State of Paraná
  • Country:  Brazil
  • Genius Loci- The Guardian Spirit of Place

    The lot was an airy, treeless meadow along the Roaring Fork River covered with rhythmic native grasses. Our contemporary design consisted of an open floor plan with low-sloping shed roofs and expansive windows that blended the indoors with the surrounding grasslands and the river and scenic Red Hill in the background. The schematic design review was favorable; however, the Design Review Board wanted the design to include 55 trees around the house. The clients felt that their vision of this land was inconsistent with that of the DRB, so they decided not to purchase the lot. They liked the site and weren't looking to shorten their visual distance by planting a forest. We put the design on temporary hold, and the clients quickly found a property on the northern portion of Missouri Heights. 

    Genius Loci- The Guardian Spirit of Place
    Photograph © Jesse Newman / Trick Pony
    Genius Loci- The Guardian Spirit of Place
    Photograph © Jesse Newman / Trick Pony
    Genius Loci- The Guardian Spirit of Place
    Photograph © Jesse Newman / Trick Pony

    This site, too, had expansive views with an intimate foreground of low sage bushes mixed in native grasses, a middle ground of pinyon and juniper, with the magical and iconic Mount Sopris and Crystal River Valley dominating the horizon. The previous schematic design was easily adapted to this new visual drama and 180-degree southerly views. The layout of the house is perfect for passive solar heating, and based on Classic Vitruvius principles: the building was orientated on an East-West axis with the active spaces facing south where the sun's heat is captured in the winter and blocked in the summer by properly sized roof overhangs. The master bedroom is on the east for early rising and morning warmth, and the dining room is to the west, capturing the eternally evolving sunsets and last heat of the day. The landscape is a perfect painting, and the clients had no desire to change it. Their Scandinavian heritage guides their esthetic. 

    Genius Loci- The Guardian Spirit of Place
    Photograph © Jesse Newman / Trick Pony

    When you have these expansive views and ample land, orientations are a vital design concern, allowing this simple alpine house to be open plan with grand southerly windows to capture picturesque views, and interior materials that encourage diffused light and warmth. Also of design concern are the practical, durable exterior materials that are low maintenance and fire resistant. The house captures the magnificent landscape and view and does not compete with it. You walk in the front door and are immediately a part of the landscape. This gift allows the calm simplicity of this house to celebrate with elegant interior furnishings and enables a strong connection with the spirit of place- A Genius Loci.

    Project Credits:

  • Architects: JPA
  • Area:  3,500 sq.ft. Living Space | 900 Sq.ft Garage
  • Year:  2022
  • Photographs:  Trick Pony Studio / Jesse Newman
  • City:  Carbondale, Colorado
  • Country:  United States
  • Rockaway Beach Residence by Eerkes Architects

    Facing east towards the iconic skyline of Seattle, this refined and sophisticated beach house occupies a double waterfront lot on Bainbridge Island’s Rockaway Beach. Views capture the life of the Salish Sea—ships, ferries, and sailboats—a kaleidoscope of twinkling lights and colors

    The Deck
    Image © Notion Workshop

    It’s on an outcropping of rocks, so there are near views, far views, ferries, and orcas,” says Les Eerkes, AIA. “There are views of Seattle, Mount Rainier, Mount Baker, and the rest of the Cascades. And there are magical sunrises. It’s 80% rocks, gravel, barnacles, and seaweed, and our tides change about 12 feet a day,” he adds.

    Pool
    Image © Notion Workshop

    Configured as an L-shaped volume, the 6,000-square-foot home is pushed to the lot’s northern edge. Window walls showcase water and forest views from all key rooms, as well as opening to both the protected courtyard pool. A two-story main living area is positioned between the courtyard and waterfront. Glass walls create a transparent threshold from the courtyard to the water. The primary bedroom, located on a second level, reaches out to the view with a dramatic cantilever that also shelters outdoor space below.

  • Architects: Eerkes Architects
  • Area:  6,000 sq.ft.
  • Year:  2022
  • Photographs:  
  • City:  Bainbridge Island, Washington
  • Country:  United States
  • Project Credits:
    Eerkes Architects Team

    Les Eerkes, Principal Architect; Lauren Rist, Project Manager

    Project Consultant Team
    Eerkes Architects (architecture); Allworth Design (landscape architecture); Quantum Consulting Engineers (structural engineering); Toth Construction (general contractor)

    Project Consultant Team
    Eerkes Architects (architecture); Allworth Design (landscape architecture); Quantum Consulting Engineers (structural engineering); Toth Construction (general contractor)

    Renderings by Notion Workshop

    Mixed House by ARCHSTUDIO

    The project is located in an ordinary village on the outskirts of Beijing, a typical plain-based northern Chinese village mainly composed of one- and two- storey courtyard houses. Most houses in the village face south, and feature red bricks and tiles. Besides, there are also various added constructions built independently by local villagers for meeting their changing living needs, such as shanties with colored-steel roof or glass roof, which blend with the natural fabrics of the village.

    Aerial View
    Aerial View | Photograph © Jin Weiqi

    The project is the transformation of a courtyard house in the village. The client, who currently lives in the downtown area, hoped to create a family vacation home and a venue for gathering with friends. As approaching this project, ARCHSTUDIO intended to present an architectural status that mixes the old and new, and to build a connection between the project and the built landscape of the village. The goal was to let the renovated architecture integrate into the village with a low-profile gesture, and meanwhile to create a rich and natural small world inside the courtyard house. 

    Spatial analysis diagram
    Spatial analysis diagram
    Structural Diagram
    Structural Diagram
    Courtyard Diagram
    Courtyard Diagram

    Old House and new wooden construction

    Mix of architectural forms

    The original architecture is a courtyard compound, consisting of two courtyards, two pitched-tile-roof buildings and several flat-roof volumes. After site investigation, the design team decided to retain and properly transform the north building, which were frequently used and were in good structural condition; to renovate and preserve the south building, which had old structures with historical value; and to dismantle other auxiliary volumes built for temporary use.

    The new addition is an undulating wooden construction, which replaces the old rooms at the middle of the site and extends to north and south sides to create spaces for daily life use, hence shaping a new pattern for the courtyard compound. The new wooden volume undulates in line with the old roofs, and forms two continuous roof ridges, under which are major public living spaces including living room, dining room and kitchen.

    In addition, two flat-roof building blocks are extended under the roof of the wooden construction, accommodating ancillary functions including two bedrooms, garage and bathroom. For the old building on the north side, the design team exposed its roof structures, and set two bedrooms and a living room in its interior space. The insertion of the new wooden construction strengthens the undulating layering of the roofs, and creates a dialogue between the old and new building volumes.

    Foyer
    Foyer | Photograph © Jin Weiqi

    Courtyard and Interior

    Mix of behaviors

    The original spatial pattern featuring one front yard and one back yard are reorganized, to form six yards with different scales, landscapes and functions. The front yard is set at the southwest core of the site. Opening the metal gate, a bamboo path leads the occupants to the building entrance. Pushing the door and entering the foyer, a courtyard with a maple tree comes into view. The maple tree displays the colors of nature in different seasons, and becomes a highlighted view between the living room and the dining room. Space set aside between the living room and the south enclosure wall forms a side yard, where trees and stones are set. In sunny days, the folding doors of the living room can be completely opened, to extend the yard into the interior.  

    Entrance Courtyard
    Entrance Courtyard | Photograph © Jin Weiqi

    Further moving towards the north, the occupants will reach the renovated old building. Here, the kitchen and the dining room unfold horizontally, and the old and new roof structures dialogue with each other. Between the dining room and the walls of a neighbor's house is a bamboo yard, which offers an experience of eating and drinking in a bamboo grove.

    Kitchen
    Kitchen | Photograph © Jin Weiqi

    After passing through the dining room, the back yard is reached. This yard is mainly for outdoor activities, and is connected with a semi-outdoor veranda. Planted with a big tree, it provides a pleasing place for leisure and chatting.

    The space at the back is the bedroom area. The north building and the wooden construction are connected by a glass corridor, which naturally forms a narrow yard. The three bedrooms provide a direct view to the outdoor landscape, satisfy daylighting and ventilation needs, and meanwhile avoid obstructed sight lines. The organization of various yards brings natural vitality into every corner of the interior space.

    Back Yard
    Back Yard | Photograph © Jin Weiqi

    Structures and materials

    Mix of the old and the new

    The newly built wooden construction adopts cedar plywood as main material and applies traditional beam-lifted frames, to echo the features of traditional northern Chinese houses. By fully utilizing plywood, a low-carbon and renewable natural building material, the newly inserted wooden construction continues the existing old house's wooden frame with new structural expressions, hence creating a dialogue between the old and the new. Moreover, the undulating new roof is constructed with beams and columns featuring minimized cross sections and maximized spans, to ensure a reasonable structure and control costs. 

    Doors and windows employ fixed insulating glass and openable frames made of laminated bamboo panels. The solid openable window frames help improve ventilation, and the fixed glass panes provide complete outdoor views. Besides, all indoor fixed furniture pieces are customized with the use of laminated bamboo panels. Various timer materials, including plywood, laminated bamboo and the existing wooden beams, form a fusion of the old and the new. 

    Living Room
    Living Room | Photograph © Jin Weiqi

    The newly built enclosure walls are completely made of red and gray old bricks recycled locally, which realizes the reuse of waste materials. When renovating the existing buildings, the design team decided to remove and polish the white ceramic tiles on the exterior of the preserved north building to expose its red-brick walls. As demolishing parts of the south building's roof, the designers found that its original structures were seriously damaged and the walls under it were at the risk of collapse. Therefore, they took the roof apart, and replaced some old wooden components with new ones. Meanwhile, the walls were rebuilt with old gray bricks in consistent with their original forms. 

    Back Yard
    Back Yard | Photograph © Jin Weiqi

    The ground is paved with new red bricks, which perform better in resisting water and dust. Rooftops are clad in red vermiculite-coated metal tiles, which are lightweight, cost-saving and have a long life span. The red surfaces of those metal tiles harmonize with the red roofing tiles commonly seem in the village. 

    Living Room
    Living Room | Photograph © Jin Weiqi

    By creating yards, updating structures and reusing materials, the design team tried to invent a sustainable design strategy for the evolution from the old to the new. Besides, they struck a balance in maintaining characteristics, coordinating styles and controlling costs to create new possibilities for the renewal of rural architecture.

    Mixed House | Project Details

  • Architects: ARCHSTUDIO
  • Area:  Site Area: 576 sq.m. | GFA: 373 sq.m.
  • Year:  2022
  • Photographs:  Jin Weiqi
  • City:  Shixiao Road, Tongzhou District, Beijing
  • Country:  China
  • The Residence, 94 St Stephen's Green, Dublin, Ireland

    The Residence, 94 St Stephen’s Green is a small, mid 19th century protected structure located on St Stephen’s Green South in the centre of Dublin, with fantastic views over the Green and to the wider city centre area. The building was constructed with the adjoining former Methodist Centenary Church of 1842-43. It was originally the Methodist Minister’s residence, or Manse, and later became offices for the Methodist Church. 

    The Residence, 94 St Stephen's Green, Dublin, Ireland

    Externally, the fabric has been carefully refurbished, with unsympathetic modern alterations removed and original fabric restored. Unusually built without an entrance on the Green, an elegant contemporary glazed lobby and access stair is added to the rear façade to provide the building with an appropriate new entrance. 

    Internally, original features have been restored in accordance with best practice conservation methods and discreet interventions allow for the incorporation of modern residential amenities while retaining the essential character, proportions and features of the existing internal spaces. 

    The refurbishment has added to the very small number of buildings returned to residential use on St Stephen’s Green and provides a high standard of prime sector residential accommodation in this exclusive city centre setting.

    The Residence, 94 St Stephen's Green, Dublin, Ireland

    Brief

    This project required a highly creative response to the restrictions of the existing building. Constructed as a Manse House, it was originally accessed at basement level from the adjoining Church. Following a fire in 1968, it was stripped of its historical features entirely with poor replacement windows, fittings and modern interventions. 

    Early on in the design process we established with the client that the design intention should be to restore and reinstate faithfully the period features that one would expect in a building of this age on Stephen’s Green. With analysis of what little historic information was available, interior elements of cornice, skirting and architraves were replaced and window treatments restored or recreated entirely where lost. 

    The intention has been to restore the dignity and significance of the interiors which had been obliterated in the fire and subsequent insensitive refurbishment. Onto this base we have layered a wholly contemporary fit out which compliments the simple elegance of the period details, achieved through working with skilled craftsmen throughout. 

    The Residence, 94 St Stephen's Green, Dublin, Ireland

    Matching this internal approach, the external masonry has been wholly cleaned and restored in accordance with best conservation practice with appropriate re-pointing work and the windows replaced with the correct historical profiles.

    To provide an appropriate entrance commensurate with the setting of the building, we have designed a new glazed lobby enclosure, realised in an elegant and wholly contemporary aesthetic. Our commitment to excellence is illustrated in the careful matching of beautiful metal cladding, complimenting the existing tone of the historic brickwork and the fine detailing of the Irish Granite and Limestone steps with inset brass disc detailing, handrails, lighting and matching bespoke signage.

    Between internal restoration and modern architectural intervention, the intention has been to emphasize excellence in quality, craftsmanship and a considered luxuriousness in every detail.

    The Residence, 94 St Stephen's Green, Dublin, Ireland

    Key Challenges

    The key strategic challenge on the project was the extremely small floor-plate of the existing building - less than a modern studio apartment - and the opportunities for incorporating modern residential servicing within this tight volume. We had to achieve a high standard of residential accommodation, without losing the significance of the original plan form while working entirely within the existing historic envelope.

    Solutions

    Detailed historic analysis of the buildings history indicated the key design move which unlocked this planning puzzle. The existing plan had comprised a formal room to the front looking over St Stephens Green and a smaller rear room separated by heavy cross-wall construction, adjoining the single access staircase - a very typical Georgian plan form. It was initially difficult to imagine how the building could accommodate modern servicing requirements, principally the bathroom, lobby and kitchen, without compromising the layout and spatial integrity of either the front or rear rooms. 

    This led to the conservation and architectural breakthrough to investigate the removal of the original internal cross-wall, re-supporting the structure with a concealed steel frame. This allowed us to place bathrooms and kitchens in the centre of the plan away from the external windows and recreate the original planning logic of a larger generously proportioned four square front room and a smaller proportioned rear room. 

    The Residence, 94 St Stephen's Green, Dublin, Ireland

    While the removal of original fabric required careful justification and exploration to the planning and conservation authority, in this case a balance was found was between conservation and innovation which allowed the contemporary re-imagining of this protected structure. 

    While the proposals as realised necessitated the removal of a minor amount of original fabric, these key moves protected the integrity of the original building and made provision for its appropriate reuse into the future.

    The Residence | Project Details

  • Architects: Shay Cleary Architects
  • Area:  220 sqm
  • Year:  2022
  • Photographs:  Jamie Hackett
  • City:  Dublin
  • Country:  Ireland
  • Green Hedges by WATERSHEDD

    One of Watershedd's latest schemes, Green Hedges is perched high on a rolling hillside overlooking Mawgan Porth beach in Cornwall.

    Green Hedges by WATERSHEDD
    Photograph © Evie Johnstone
    Green Hedges by WATERSHEDD
    Photograph © Evie Johnstone
    Green Hedges by WATERSHEDD
    Photograph © Evie Johnstone

    Featuring seven bedrooms, a large open plan living area and an independently accessed surfboard room and sauna, every element of the architectural and interior design has been composed with serene and sociable modern living in mind.

    Green Hedges by WATERSHEDD
    Photograph © Evie Johnstone

    Each facade is wrapped in a blend of locally sourced Cornish stone and Red Cedar timber, beneath a pitched zinc and living grass roof, creating a property that sits in harmonious dialogue with its natural surroundings.

    Tucked away behind the eastern elevation, the approach consists of a private driveway leading to three covered walkways cut into the stonework, each concealing a point of entry. Looking up, a series of timber-clad louvre windows provides ample privacy and an enhanced aesthetic, while encouraging the morning sun to stream in and warm the interior.

    Green Hedges Living Area
    Living Area | Photograph © Evie Johnstone

    Through the central walkway and across the threshold, a bright reception hallway divides the spacious kitchen and dining area to the left and a comfy lounge area to the right, each focussed towards the large glass windows gazing directly out to sea.

    Green Hedges Upper Hallway
    Upper Hallway | Photograph © Evie Johnstone

    Soaring double-height ceilings and a mezzanine style landing allows sunshine to flood in via a roof light, located above the handcrafted staircase. On the first floor, four double bedrooms each boast their own similarly stunning ocean views out through floor to ceiling windows.

    Green Hedges | Project Details

  • Architects: Watershedd
  • Area:  520 sq.m. | 5,600 sq.ft.
  • Year:  2021
  • Photographs:  Evie Johnstone
  • City:  Mawgan Porth, Cornwall
  • Country:  England, United Kingdom
  • Sustainable Retrofit Injects New Life into Industrial-style Dalston Warehouse

    A 1950s warehouse in the De Beauvoir Conservation Area brings new life into the community as it gets converted and refurbished by MAP Architecture into a mixed-use development of 18 flats and 2500m2 of commercial space. The project includes structural modifications to the building, construction of a three-storey extension to the rear to accommodate the new circulation, and a single storey zinc clad roof extension.

    Bentley House Exterior
    Exterior image of Bentley House showcasing the industrial warehouse style, the metal framed Crittall windows and zinc clad rooftop extension | Photograph © Veronica Rodriguez

    Brief

    Being a conservation project, the key part of the brief was to retain the existing building and to avoid unnecessary demolition. As with all refurbishment projects, we were challenged with conserving the building while upgrading it to contemporary standards. This involved bringing complex services into a building not initially designed to accommodate them and adding new loads onto an existing frame intended for different purposes.

    Bentley House Zinc Clad Rooftop Extension
    Bentley House Zinc Clad Rooftop Extension | Photograph © Veronica Rodriguez

    Story of the Dalston Colour House

    Previously the home of the old Leyland Paints Headquarters, Colour House is prominently located between De Beauvoir’s Balls Pond Road and Bentley Road in one of London’s most vibrant neighbourhoods. The building celebrates Dalston’s industrial character and creative, colourful history.

    Rendering of Bentley House - Section
    Rendering of Bentley House - Section showing the commercial space on the ground floor and the residential units on the upper floors

    Key features of the design

    The design is dictated by the industrial style of the existing warehouse, maintaining the cultural heritage of the conservation area by improving and showing off the existing elements. The use of robust materials throughout the building expresses its industrial character while providing durability and a sense of resistance to the passage of time. 

    The ground floor space with a double-height unit to the front features an impressive bespoke staircase which drives in drama and character. Colourful murals created by local artist Luke Embden soften the traditionally rigid industrial style reflecting both the creative history of the area and its vibrant present. 

    Bentley House Ground Floor Communal Area
    Bentley House Ground Floor Communal Area | Photograph © Veronica Rodriguez

    Further inside the building, the common area and the open plan apartments are built to facilitate social interaction and to enhance the sense of community. 

    Finally, the zinc clad rooftop extension features a full width south facing terrace with beautiful views to the Central London skyline. 

    Aside from the sustainable benefits of retaining an existing building, MAP Architecture believes that this combination of new and old creates a quality, character and sense of permanence that can never be replicated with a new build.

    Bentley House Communal Area
    Bentley House Communal Area | Photograph © Veronica Rodriguez

    How is the project sensitive to site and culture within the Conservation Area?

    Throughout the project we worked hard to retain the integrity of the original building and developed a style and character that honours its industrial past while blending into its vibrant and creative present. In order to achieve this, original concrete beams and brickwork have been uncovered, new elements have been expressed and services have been left exposed.

    How does the project improve the life of the community?

    A loved but forgotten building has been revived and given a new lease of life that respects its existing personality. The development activates a previously neglected street with vibrant commercial uses fronting the newly ‘greened’ pavements. 

    At ground level the facades are articulated with new openings and canopies creating active frontages towards Bentley Road. The ground floor commercial units include well-lit double height spaces which help animate the street. The units contain a range of flexible working spaces which are highly adaptable and considerate of the needs and activities of the area. 

    The project includes specific improvements to the urban realm with new street furniture, hardscaping and entrance planting to the commercial offices and residential apartments.

    The overall re-design of the building has been thought through to offer a safe, environmentally conscious residential space, as well as to use the newly created commercial area to open the building up towards the street and the neighbourhood. The refurbished building creates an inclusive, social space which allows for a safe and constructive community interaction.

    Bentley House Bespoke Staircase
    Double-height unit featuring a bespoke, industrial style staircase | Photograph © Veronica Rodriguez

    Improving environmental performance

    The architects retained the external facades and floors of the existing building which significantly reduced the requirement for use of additional materials.

    The energy strategy for Colour House focused on fabric first principles, with considerable improvements to the U-values and air permeability of the building. All glazing was replaced, and much research went into optimizing its performance so to retain the metal framed Crittall windows – an essential requirement from the conservation officers. 

    For the building to be ‘District Energy ready’, a communal heating system with heat interface units was selected for the residential areas of the building. Photovoltaics on the roof provide electricity to the building. All offices are heated and cooled using high efficiency VRF Heat Pumps. Ventilation is provided to all areas using high efficiency mechanical ventilation with heat recovery. Low energy LED lighting is used throughout with occupancy sensors and daylight dimming controls.

    PassiveHaus features included the integration of Brise soleil to minimise overheating in the rooftop extension and exposing the concrete frame and structural walls to regulate temperature through thermal mass.

    Bentley House | Project Details

  • Architects: MAP Architecture
  • Area:  4,322 sq.m.
  • Year:  2022
  • Photographs:  Veronica Rodriguez
  • City:  Greater London
  • Country:  United Kingdom
  • Selva Alegre by Leppanen Anker Arquitectura

    Selva Alegre was created to take inspiration from the surrounding environment, the Andes Mountains in Ecuador. The project was seen as a modern version of the historic Spanish hacienda that dominates the mountainous landscapes from Columbia to Peru. The principal objective was to examine and reinvent the user experience of these centuries old weekend escapes. The traditional hacienda in Ecuador was meant to bring families and friends together in a lodge like setting.  

    Selva Alegre by Leppanen Anker Arquitectura
    Photograph © Bicubik

    The location in the Andes creates an experience un like any other, with a dramatic play of light and shadow that overwhelm the scenery. The interior spaces are full of colorful artifacts and ornate handmade goods from local indigenous communities that are passed on from generation to generation. The use of wood, stone and clay tiles were the original material choice for these structures, some 300 years ago.  Over time this was changed to concrete block, stucco and asphalt roofing.  

    Selva Alegre by Leppanen Anker Arquitectura
    Photograph © Bicubik

    The roof lines of the historic hacienda also were of great importance giving a strong feeling of grandeur from inside and out, a destination.  Over time builders and architects modified their material and design choices, which also consequently changed the experience. The modern block and concrete box became prevalent for the sake of efficiency and lack of perspective. The relationship between the built structure and surrounding mountains had faded over time.   

    Axo
    Axo

    The concept was to return to the roots of the hacienda in terms of form and material.  Bring back the use of wood, stone and clay but with a contemporary mindset. A mindset that felt light and airy compared to the coldness of the existing hacienda experience. Not only was this a more considerate approach, but also allowed the return of the wood structure roofline. The architects felt this was THE opportunity for modernizing the hacienda from a formal perspective. From a quality of living perspective, the open-air roofline created another opportunity to utilize the chimney effect and allow for natural air flow throughout the entire house.  We were also interested in reducing the extensive use of concrete and cement that has been detrimental to the climate, specifically in regards to CO2 emissions.

    The extensive use of CO2 sequestering timber made that possible. The original intent was to source the wood locally, but the lack of a sustainable forest industry in the region produced alternative searches.  This led us to northern Europe where prefabricated timber systems proved to be the answer. 

    Selva Alegre by Leppanen Anker Arquitectura
    Photograph © Bicubik

    Initially received as an excessive process there is now a positive response, one of inspiration and a learning opportunity amongst the forest industry and various trade professionals and academics. From the use of advanced manufacturing to the modern use of timber products to combing local and international experiences, there was much knowledge and information to gain in the local industry.  

    Selva Alegre by Leppanen Anker Arquitectura
    Photograph © Bicubik

    Additionally, in the design criteria there was to be an emphasis on 360-degree views so to be able to experience the dynamic relationship between the sun and mountains throughout the entire house.  To help achieve this three 20 - 24 meter sin curve beams move fluidly to create expansive views.  These laminated wood beams not only allow for views, but also for efficiency.  One 6 meter radius mold was used for the 6 individual pieces of the beam structures. 

    The final result is a delicate balance of stone and glass that is blanketed by an energetic yet comforting wood structure that is truly complementary to the mountains that surround it. The interiors follow the initial concept with beautiful modern textures and material artifacts that balance and activate the architectural space. 

    Selva Alegre by Leppanen Anker Arquitectura
    Photograph © Bicubik

    Project Specifications

    The main house is roughly 450 square meters in a hexagon like shape. The profile is approx. 20 meters x 20 meters with the center of hexagon approximately 24 meters wide. Heights range from 3.5 to 6.5 meters tall. In terms of materials, the wall and roof structures are made from European Spruce.  The exterior materials consist of local white and beige stone and laminated glass.  The interior ceiling is tongue and groove European Spruce.  The roof covering is locally made 10 cm by 10 cm clay tiles. The interior bedroom floors are made from eucalyptus. The rest of the interior floor are of white micro stone and inlayed eucalyptus. The pool is local marble.  All of the interior and exterior walls are insulated with rockwool. The kitchen, bathroom and bedroom furniture were provided by local manufacturing companies and tradesmen. Window mullions are custom metal frames.  

    Selva Alegre by Leppanen Anker Arquitectura
    Photograph © JAG Studio

    The fabrication process for the walls and roof structure were completely prefabricated.  To help this complex process we developed a working parametric 3Dmodel that was shared between architects, engineers, fabricators and the assembly team. This allowed for the 500 plus structural pieces to be assembled in a matter of 6 weeks. The assembly fit perfectly on a raised slab with crawl space foundation. The crawl space allowed for all plumbing, mechanical and electrical to easily be installed and coordinated. 

    The primary, secondary, and tertiary wood beams along with the 15 cm x 15 cm structural studs were all pre-CNC machine saw cut, this included all joints, notches and connections. The walls sit on a 20 cm tall aluminum base to eliminate humidity concerns.  The structural studs were then clad with 5/8” OSB and filled with mineral wool insulation. The rest of the finishes were coordinated with a local contractor and using local materials. 

    Selva Alegre Residence | Project Details

  • Architects: Leppanen Anker Arquitectura
  • Area:  450 sq.m.
  • Year:  N/A
  • Photographs:  BICUBIK | JAG Studio
  • City:  Andes Mountains
  • Country:  Ecuador
  • Credits:
    Architectural Design: Leppanen Anker Arquitectura (Aaron Leppanen, Gabriela Anker, Sofía Chávez, Ana Belén Acurio, Carolina Rodriguez, Janina Sánchez, Kevin Aragón, Gabriela Valdez, Caroline Dieden)
    Interior Design: Insólito (Veronica Burbano, Camila Burbano)
    Structural Design: EDIMCA - Rubechi Wood Technology
    Construction & Engineering: Miguel Ángel Salazar, Francisco Vélez, Fabian Miño, Milton Perugachi, Rodrigo Lalaguaña, Alberto Dionicio
    Landscape: Mònica Bodenhorst
    Lightning: Highlights