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In the Indie Debut “Columbus,” Midcentury Architecture Stars Beside John Cho

Permalink - Posted on 2017-07-27 22:01

Kogonada’s directorial debut is a bittersweet exploration of loss and filial responsibility set in the architectural landscape of Columbus, Indiana.

When Korean-American filmmaker and video essayist Kogonada visited Columbus, Indiana, inspiration struck.

The small, Midwestern city has long been lauded as a must-see design destination thanks to the patronage of J. Irwin Miller throughout the 1940s and ‘50s. Miller, head of the Cummings Engine Company, footed the bill for public projects provided that the architect was selected from an approved list. As a result, the city boasts scores of midcentury-modernist treasures designed by the likes of Eliel and Eero Saarinen, Harry Weese, Eliot Noyes, and Richard Meier, to name a few.

"It was profound and captivating," says Kogonada of this trip. Even during the drive home, he already knew he wanted to set a movie there, and was building the framework for his first feature film.

Casey (Haley Lu Richardson) and Gabe (Rory Culkin) work at the Cleo Rogers Memorial Library designed by I.M. Pei.

Casey (Haley Lu Richardson) and Gabe (Rory Culkin) work at the Cleo Rogers Memorial Library designed by I.M. Pei.

Elisha Christian | Courtesy of Superlative Films and Depth of Field

That film is Columbus, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival this year and will be released August 4. It stars John Cho as Jin, a Seoul-based translator who comes to town when his father, an architectural critic on a speaking tour, falls ill. During his visit, he meets Casey (Haley Lu Richardson), a teenaged architecture enthusiast who has postponed leaving her hometown in order to take care of her mother.

Their unlikely friendship develops as Casey leads Jin, whose relationship with architecture is reluctant at best, on a tour of her favorite buildings. Soulful, intellectual, and understated, their conversations unfold against a stunning backdrop of architectural icons.

Jin (John Cho) shares a drink with his father's assistant Eleanor (Parker Posey) upon his arrival in Columbus.

Jin (John Cho) shares a drink with his father's assistant Eleanor (Parker Posey) upon his arrival in Columbus. 

Elisha Christian | Courtesy of Superlative Films and Depth of Field

While Cho and Richardson give luminous performances, the buildings they inhabit are compelling characters in their own right. It’s an absolute pleasure to see celebrated buildings such as Eliel Saarinen’s First Christian Church, his son Eero Saarinen’s Miller House, and Myron Goldsmith’s The Republic featured in a way that highlights their intended effect on Columbus’s denizens—and the spiritual impact of architecture overall. 

Architecture and cinema are a really interesting pair of art forms...The marriage of the two is inescapable. -Kogonada

In selecting which structures to feature, Kogonada was scrupulous about considering Casey as a character. "It wasn’t going to be my favorites," he explains. "I looked at the city through her eyes and thought of what she might want to show a visitor, and what she would connect with." Jin’s story arc is also quietly embodied by Eliel and Eero Saarinen’s work, monuments to the father-son relationship.

Jin and Casey have a conversation while parked in front of the First Financial Bank by Deborah Berke.

Jin and Casey have a conversation while parked in front of the First Financial Bank by Deborah Berke. "You know, meth is a big thing here," says Casey. "Meth and modernism."

Elisha Christian | Courtesy of Superlative Films and Depth of Field

Death and departure are central themes in Columbus that are telegraphed through the cinematography. "I always knew that this film was going to explore the relationship between absence and presence, both existentially—humans are always faced with loss—but also the way it works out in architecture and design," says Kogonada. "The relationship between negative space and what is foregrounded has always been moving to me."

In one scene, Casey stands before the Irwin Conference Center, singing its praises before Jin interrupts her for sounding too academic: "What are you doing? Who are you? Do you like this building intellectually, because of all the facts?" When she describes her emotional response to it, she becomes inaudible, words replaced by a swell of music. In other instances, characters speak from outside the frame, or reflected in a mirror or glass wall. Says Kogonada, "We were constantly trying to play with things being present, but not fully accessible."

Jin and Casey discuss the

Jin and Casey discuss the "paradox of modernism and religion" inside Eero Saarinen's North Christian Church.

Elisha Christian | Courtesy of Superlative Films and Depth of Field

In doing this, Kogonada finds tension between form and content. An aspect that he appreciates about architecture is the fact that it’s "a medium about the form," as he describes. "Architecture and cinema are a really interesting pair of art forms," he says. "Cinema constructs an experience of temporality, and architecture defines space, and what emptiness is. The marriage of the two is inescapable."

A contemplative coming-of-age story set in a beguiling landscape, Columbus is a rich experience for architecture lovers and newcomers alike. It opens in select theaters on August 4. Check out the trailer below.


This Otherworldly Bookstore in China Provides a Mesmerizing Atmosphere For Reading

Permalink - Posted on 2017-07-27 21:30

This bookshop in Hangzhou, China, features an interior that provides a variety of unique and immersive environments for reading and shopping.

Located within the bustling commercial center of Star Avenue in the Binjiang district, Zhongshuge-Hangzhou Bookstore is outfitted with an impressive collection of reading materials that are displayed within a set of interconnected rooms. Shanghai-based studio XL-Muse designed the space, which first opens up onto the forest-like gallery composed of a series of vertical circular shelves that hold numerous titles. Throughout the space, the ceiling is covered with mirrors that elongate the tree-like columns. These design elements express the idea that libraries represent—that is, the growing and expanding of knowledge that literature promotes. 

Shao Fengbr

At the core of the institution lies ‘Zhongshuge’ Hall, a theater-like reading area with grandiose bookshelves that encircle a cathedral-like area. This is entered through a long corridor containing light- and dark-colored wooden shelves on either sides of the walls. Exquisite vertical chandeliers float from the ceiling, where light refracts from mirrors above, creating a soft ambient interior. 

Conversely, the children’s pavilion offers an educational atmosphere. The playground for learning is equipped with a static merry-go-round, a galaxy map floor, and a roller-coaster-shaped book shelf. Together, all of these elements help teach and inspire young children in a fun and playful fashion.

Shao Feng


bShao Feng/b

The resulting effect is quite magical. The mirrored panels that cover the ceiling and the wall lining the far side of the space create the illusion that the columns are twice their actual height. These reflections appear dense and layered, so the entire room appears much deeper than it actually is, like a vast forest of books.

Shao Feng


Shao Feng


Shao Feng


Canal House

Permalink - Posted on 2017-07-27 19:17

Initially built by native dwellers 2000 years ago and rebuilt for modern society over a century ago are 181 miles of canals that bring water to the desert city of Phoenix, Arizona. These canals often go unnoticed, as the city has largely turned their back on these assets until recently. Canal House is a new home inspired by the forms of the missions in southern Arizona on a left over, irregularly shaped vacant lot along the Arizona Canal. The Ranch Mine designed the home to be a beacon, glimmering in the sun with its rusted, corrugated metal roof, drawing focus to the life giving resource slicing through the gridded city. Canal House was designed to the furthest extents of the building setbacks, using the geometry of the house to create shade and privacy in a variety of settings. Similar to the missions of southern Arizona, the design opens out from the interior spaces to courtyards that provide additional living areas at different times of day, depending on the location of the sun. The most often shaded area is the dining courtyard along the canal off of the kitchen, with two new Red Push Pistache trees that transition from green to bright red leaves to signal the coming of the cool seasons in Phoenix. The central courtyard is anchored by a rusted steel clad outdoor fireplace that separates the living wing of the house from the sleeping wing. Custom designed steel panels shade the great room doors in the summer with a pattern of the archetypal house form that features prominently on the Canal House elevations. Lastly, an entry courtyard provides a quiet, contemplative area between the house and the garage. On the interior of the house, a rusted steel clad hood draws the eye up to the vaulted, tongue and groove hemlock ceiling in the great room. The kitchen is highlighted by super durable Dekton countertops, hand-made Fireclay ceramic tile in a herringbone pattern, and a copper farmhouse sink. Aluminum clad, wood doors and exposed aggregated concrete floors add texture and warmth to the interior. The master bathroom contains an open shower with a freestanding tub and is finished with a stripe of the hand-made ceramic tile and cabinetry echoing the vaulted ceiling of the great room. This reimagining of the local mission architecture deftly uses simple, durable materials and a unique courtyard focused plan to create a home well-suited for its desert environment while drawing attention back to the lifeblood of Phoenix, the canals.

Canal House along the Arizona Canal in Phoenix, AZ
Central Courtyard at twilight
Front view at twilight
Master Bathroom Vanity
Custom cut steel awning. The awning design uses the archetypal gable shape of the house and rotates it to create the perforated pattern


Morgan Street Live/Work

Permalink - Posted on 2017-07-27 19:11

A couple lives and works in harmony in Chicago. The design of the buildings was driven by the desire to access the landscape on both the ground floor (office) and second floor (home). So the landscape was lifted by mounding (un-recyclable) debris and excavated soil from an on-site run-down grocery store that required immediate demolition. Then the residential “bar” was raised and rotated to access the crest of the prairie grass-planted recycled-materials mound, giving the residence a direct connection to the landscape. The second floor is a prefabricated structural bridge, which connects the mound to an extensive green-roof, which covers the office. The office “bar” is faced with a perforated Corten rain screen that allows for daylight and privacy, and provides a resilient material that can withstand the wear and tear of street life. Raw aluminum panels wrap the remainder of most facades - the panels fold cleanly around corners without additional detailing. The site is off the stormwater grid: rain filters through the roofs, flows onto and around the mound, and into a large gravel French-drain. Greenhouses operated by a neighborhood restaurant tap the drain.

Office on ground floor, dwelling above
Dwelling connects green roof to mound
Joint between live and work units
Live unit truss was prefabricated
Bookcase behind structural prefab truss


Country House

Permalink - Posted on 2017-07-27 19:10

A country house gets a new life by the renovation of the interiors and the expansion of the living space designed in the extension made by glass and corten steel. The new volume talks with the natural landscape through the wide windows. From the outside, the glass volume reflects the surrounding nature becoming part of it; from the inside, the windows get invisible giving the impression of being outdoor; the living room becomes one whole space with the countryside.


HUT

Permalink - Posted on 2017-07-27 19:10

New and innovative residential concept to launch in Dutch housing market HUT: plug-and-play apartments HUT will be launching a new type of residency in September 2017; new and innovative ‘plug-and-play’ apartments where technology and services are just as important as living comfort. HUT consists of three apartment complexes at Beursstraat, Warmoesstraat and Spuistraat in Amsterdam´s historic city centre. The idea is simple: all residents have to do is move in, because the apartments have already been fully furnished by designer duo Prast&Hooft. Residents will be able to manage their home and facilities using the multi-functional HUT app that includes a variety of features and services such as laundry, parcel delivery, breakfast, bicycle and gym services. All residents will have access to shared and sustainable HUT bikes. High-speed Wi-Fi will also be accessible for everyone and the communal lobby on the ground floor may be used at any time. The Smart Home System can be used to regulate the apartment’s temperature, switch lights on and off and open and close the front door. HUTs are available in four sizes. Two single occupancy apartment types; the HUT Cute (40-50 sq. m.) and the HUT compact (50-70 sq. m.) And two double occupancy apartments, the HUT Big (65-85 sq. m.) and HUT Super (85-115 sq. m.). Rents vary from € 1450,- per month. For more information about HUT, please get in touch by sending an e-mail to info@speakeasyagency.nl

Dining area
HUT app
Hut app


A New Book Examines the Art of Breathing Life Into Forgotten Architecture

Permalink - Posted on 2017-07-27 19:01

"We often hear that we live in a time that has no respect for the past: that ours is an era that disregards the architectural qualities of previous eras in an often flagrant way. But the huge array of rebuilds, conservation projects, and thoughtful extensions existing today suggest otherwise."

And so begins Upgrade, a new title from Gestalten that goes on to illustrate exactly this point through a series of engaging anecdotes and stunning images of renovation projects across Europe. With a focus on preservation, it looks at thoughtful transformations that range from extensions on rooftops to factories converted into holiday retreats. Each of the projects honor the structure's past in some special way—building around it in a way that respects the original character, structure, or materials.

Photo by Giuseppe Macciché, Courtesy of Gestalten

Existing buildings offer different opportunities to architects than new-build projects, and dilapidated barns or fading facades can actually serve as starting points for inspiration. The projects showcased in this book succeed in finding a balance between traditional and modern. To showcase how this balance is found, the book provides a platform for the architects to share their experiences, motivations, and approaches. Each project is accompanied by before-and-after photos that illustrate its metamorphoses—driving home the point that the walls of old structures are rife with possibilities.

Here, we offer a peek at some of the unexpected and inspirational projects featured in this book.

This  suburban Alsatian home was reworked into a contemporary version by Gens Architects

Located in Zutzendorf, Alsace, France, this traditional suburban Alsatian home was reworked by Gens Architects into a contemporary version of an architectural typology—which is anything but conventional.

Photo by Ludmilla Cerveny, Courtesy of Gestalten


This nineteenth-century steel fabricator's workshop in North London was transformed into a family home by Jonathan Tuckey Design.

The Collage House is a 19th-century steel fabricator's workshop in North London that was transformed into a family home by Jonathan Tuckey Design. 

Photo by Dirk Lindner, Courtesy of Gestalten


Located in Guimaraes, Portugal, the Porto-based firm Cannatà e Fernandes took sections of this nineteenth-century stone factory which were beyond repair and replaced them with white concrete for this thoughtful rebuild.

In Guimaraes, Portugal, Cannatà e Fernandes took sections of this 19th-century stone factory—which were beyond repair—and replaced them with white concrete. 

Photo by Luis Ferreira Alves, Courtesy of Gestalten


AZO Sequeira Arquitectos Associados transformed this derelict stone and wood backyard dovecoat located in Soutelo, Portugal, into a magical and minimalist concrete children's playhouse complete with a separate level for showers to compliment their client's backyard swimming pool.

In Soutelo, Portugal, AZO Sequeira Arquitectos Associados transformed this 1920s derelict stone-and-wood backyard dovecote into a magical and minimalist concrete children's playhouse. It's complete with a separate level for showers to complement their client's backyard swimming pool. 

Photo by Nelson Garrido, Courtesy of Gestalten


To complement this renovation for a Bath stone and slate Baptist church from 1867 in Wiltshire, UK,   Jonathan Tuckey Design used blackened timber  as a direct reference to the tin tabernacle churches, which are a vernacular type of the rural West Country part of England to the southwest of London.

To enhance this renovation for a stone-and-slate Baptist church from 1867 in Wiltshire, UK, Jonathan Tuckey Design used blackened timber as a direct reference to the tin tabernacle churches, which is a vernacular type that exists in the rural West Country part of England, to the southwest of London. 

Photo by Dirk Lindner, Courtesy of Gestalten


This project by Zecc Architecten BV involved the extension and expansion of a railway cottage dating back to 1867. The home is situated along the train line next to the Sanpoort-Nord station—which is only a 25-minute train ride from Amsterdam—and a national park. The original brick structure was left virtually untouched adding to the charm of the project.

This project by Zecc Architecten BV involved the extension and expansion of a railway cottage that dates back to 1867. The home is situated along a train line next to the Sanpoort-Nord station—which is only a 25-minute train ride from Amsterdam—and a national park. The original brick structure was left virtually untouched. 

Photo by Cornbread Works, Courtesy of Gestalten


With the use of glass, this outer space became part of the interior space in this renovation by Jesús Castillo Oli in Palencia, Spain. The industrial structure in a rural area of northern Spain was in a state of ruin prior to being transformed into a holiday home.

With the use of glass, the outer space of this building became part of the interior space in a renovation by Jesús Castillo Oli in Palencia, Spain. Located in a rural area of northern Spain, the industrial structure was in a state of ruin prior to being transformed into a vacation home.  

Photo by Ángel Baltanás, Courtesy of Gestalten


The extension of this early twentieth-century home in Senneville-sur-Fécamp, France, Ziegler Antonin Architecte left the main house untouched--adding a dark rectilinear structure which contrasts the original light brick home creating a total escape for the homeowners in the form of a light-filled library.

When building the extension of this early 20th-century home in Senneville-sur-Fécamp, France, Ziegler Antonin Architecte left the main house untouched. They added a dark rectilinear structure, which contrasts with the original light brick home, creating a total escape for the homeowners in the form of a light-filled library. 

Photo by Antonin Ziegler, Courtesy of Gestalten


Brandão Costa Arquitectos placed concrete atop the original stone mass to fill-in existing irregularities and create a new clean roofline for this renovation in Caminha, Portugal.

To fill in existing irregularities and to create a new clean roofline for this home in Caminha, Portugal, Brandão Costa Arquitectos placed concrete on top of the original stone mass.  

Photo by Arménio Teixeira, Courtesy of Gestalten


Koreo Arkitekter + Kolab Arkitekter created a modern boathouse in local timber in Vikebygd, Norway which fits perfectly into the traditional contecxt of its location.

Koreo Arkitekter + Kolab Arkitekter created a modern boathouse out of local timber in Vikebygd, Norway, which fits naturally into the traditional context of its location. 

Photo by Maias Josefsson, Courtesy of Gestalten


For this old farm building in the back garden of a larger set of farm buildings in Flanders, Belgium, Architecten de Vylder Vinck Taillieu converted this original structure into a modern home for the family's daughters. The simple incision of glass and mirrors brings light and successfully divides the space inside into separate rooms.

For this old farm building in the back garden of a larger set of farm buildings in Flanders, Belgium, Architecten de Vylder Vinck Taillieu converted an original brick structure into a modern home for the family's grown daughters. The simple incision of glass-and-mirrors brings light into the space, and successfully divides the interior into separate rooms. 

Photo by Filip Dujardi, Courtesy of Gestalten

"Recycling in architecture goes far beyond the simple reuse of material." -Upgrade

Taking inspiration from Le Cabanon by Le Corbusier—the architectural firm B-ILD conceived of modular wooden fittings which would maximize the potential of the interior space of this Bunker-turned-holiday home in Vuren, The Netherlands.

Taking inspiration from Le Cabanon by Le Corbusier, the architectural firm B-ILD created modular wooden fittings that would maximize the potential of the interior space of this bunker-turned-holiday home in Vuren, the Netherlands.

Photo by Tim Van de Velde, Courtesy of Gestalten


This Swiss summerhouse is firmly set in the present while being considerate of the historic 200-year-old past of the original structure. To preserve the original stone house, Buchner Bründler Architekten created a new concrete one inside of it.

This Swiss summerhouse is firmly set in the present while being considerate of the structure's 200-year-old past. To preserve the original stone house, Buchner Bründler Architekten created a new concrete one inside of it. 

Photo by Giuseppe Macciché, Courtesy of Gestalten


When their clients were unsure whether to renovate this historic ruin on the northern coast of Scotland or build an entirely new house, WT Architecture advised them that by partially occupying the ruin they could actually do both.

When their clients were unsure whether to renovate this historic ruin on the northern coast of Scotland or build an entirely new house, WT Architecture advised them that they could acteually do both if they partially occupied the ruin. When there was no economically feasible way to fix a substantial structural crack in the wall, it was retained and turned into a feature of the new home. 

Photo by Michael Harding, Courtesy of Gestalten


This transformation by Irisarri + Piñera in the northwest province of Pontreveda, Spain is an elegant example of how a ruin can be incorporated into a new contemporary structure while preserving and respecting tradition.

This transformation by Irisarri + Piñera in the northwest province of Pontreveda, Spain, is an elegant example of how a ruin can be incorporated into a new contemporary structure, while preserving and respecting tradition. 

Photo by Hector Santos, Courtesy of Gestalten

Upgrade can be purchased here.


Shop the Look: Midcentury Living Room

Permalink - Posted on 2017-07-27 18:35

Bring the sleek, sculptural forms of the middle of the century into your modern home.

It's no secret that here at Dwell, we're big fans of the midcentury modern aesthetic with its emphasis on curvature, craftsmanship, and color. From the iconic Eames Lounge Chair to a mod pillow by Maharam Accessories, these designs—each featured in the well-appointed space above—bring the spirit of the times right into your living room.

Eyes Graphic Print Pillow by Vitra

Designer Alexander Girard's passion for colors, patterns and textures found expression in the field of textile design. Girard paired motifs from folk art sources with abstract patterns, creating playful compositions in vivid colors and simple shapes.

Dot Pattern Pillow by Maharam

Invoke some comfort and design into your space with the Dot Pattern Pillow from Maharam Accessories. The graphic pattern and bold colors of this pillow make it a lively accessory for any interior.

Nelson™ Swag Leg Desk by Herman Miller

Right-sized desks. It's like they were made to fit today's compact electronics. Colorful cubbyholes at the back keep materials organized and at hand with one slot sized to fit a laptop computer. This contemporary classic desk is open and freeing of space without losing the structural integrity common to desks.

Nelson™ Swag Leg Molded Chair by Herman Miller

A natural, functional piece for the Swag Leg line, the Nelson™ Swag Leg Molded Chair is light-scaled and sculpted. Ingenious engineering merges four legs into a center post with quad footing. For the armchair shell, George Nelson got permission from Charles and Ray Eames to use the patented process they developed for molding plastic.

Algue Elements / 25 Pack from Vitra

Algues are at one and the same time interior design components and decorative elements. Reminiscent of plants, the plastic elements can be linked together to form web-like textures - from light curtains to opaque, thick room dividers. Twenty-five Algues are required for one square yard of light net mesh. Sold in packs of 25.

Fortebraccio Floor Task by Luceplan

The Fortebraccio Floor Task by Luceplan, designed by Paolo Rizzatto and Albert Meda, features disarming simplicity of form, fantastic flexibility, and a unique handle that directs the light beam.

Lotus Bubble Floor Lamp - Pear by Herman Miller

Introduced in 1952, the George Nelson Lotus Bubble Floor Lamp – Pear features the famed spray-coated plastic material that hugs a steel wire frame, and stands on a tall stem with an either Brushed Nickel or Walnut base. The result is a softly diffused light that is integral to the iconic nature of the design.

Eames Lounge Chair with Ottoman from Herman Miller

The Eames® Lounge Chair and Ottoman are considered among the most significant and collectible furniture designs of the 20th century. When the set was introduced in 1956, there was nothing else like it. The design was completely new and merged comfort with a clean, yet welcoming aesthetic. Today, the pair remains a true icon of modern design.


12 Modern Hotels in Historic Buildings Around the World

Permalink - Posted on 2017-07-27 17:34

If you can't get enough of historic architecture, then consider one of these heritage hotels that have been modernized in all the right places for your next vacation or business trip.

A boutique hotel in a former 19th century water purification faction, sleek glass panels and modern furnishings exist in symbiosis with the old factory walls, stone columns and aqueducts.

From a state treasury building to an 18th-century nursing home, the past lives on at these 12 historic hotels that have beautifully updated interiors.

Villa Terminus in Bergen, Norway

Built by Bergen merchant and philanthropist Alexander Kaae around 1760, as a restful retreat for the downtrodden, Villa Terminus was refurbished by Swedish architecture and design firm, Claesson Koivisto Rune and transformed into an 18-room boutique hotel with iconic mid-century and contemporary interiors.

Built by Bergen merchant and philanthropist Alexander Kaae around 1760 to be a restful retreat for the downtrodden, Villa Terminus was refurbished by Swedish architecture and design firm Claesson Koivisto Rune. They transformed it into an 18-room boutique hotel with timeless midcentury-inspired and contemporary interiors.

Courtesy of Villa Terminus

The interiors of Villa Terminus in Bergen, Norway

The interiors of Villa Terminus in Bergen, Norway

Courtesy of Villa Terminus

One of the most recognizable landmarks in the Wicker Park and Bucktown area of Chicago, North Tower is a 12-story Art Deco style building built in 1929 by Chicago-based firm Perkins, Chatten, and Hammond. Today, it’s home to The Robey, a 69-room hotel by Belgian design duo Nicolas Schuybroek Architects and Marc Merckx Interiors with rooms that evoke all the cool of hardboiled detective novels with a modern twist.

One of the most recognizable landmarks in the Wicker Park/Bucktown area of Chicago is North Tower, a 12-story Art Deco-style building that was built in 1929 by Chicago-based firm Perkins, Chatten, and Hammond. Today, it’s home to The Robey, a 69-room hotel designed by Belgian design firms Nicolas Schuybroek Architects and Marc Merckx Interiors. They created rooms that recall old-school detective novels with a modern twist.

Courtesy of Design Hotels

The interiors of The Robey in Chicago, Illinois

The interiors of The Robey in Chicago, Illinois

Courtesy of Design Hotels

Set within twenty-five 17th and 18th century traditional canal houses in Amsterdam, the recently renovated Pulitzer Amsterdam has a selection of unique themed suite rooms.

Set within 25 17th- and 18th-century traditional canal houses in Amsterdam, the recently renovated Pulitzer has a selection of unique themed suite rooms.

Courtesy of Design Hotels

The interiors of The Pulitzer in Amsterdam, the Netherlands

The interiors of The Pulitzer in Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Courtesy of Design Hotels

Les Bains in Paris’ Le Marais district has an epic cultural history—to say the least. In 1885, Les Bains Douches became Paris’ first and most popular bathhouse and was known to host Marcel Proust on a regular basis. In 1978, it was turned into a nightclub that became the ultimate scene where every influential star made appearances—from Prince and Mick Jagger to David Bowie, Karl Lagerfeld, and Andy Warhol. After it closed down for five years, it was reopened in 2015 as a 39-room hotel that hosts an Artists’ Residency program that's curated by Magda Danysz.

Les Bains in Paris’ Le Marais district has an epic cultural history—to say the least. In 1885, Les Bains Douches became Paris’ first and most popular bathhouse and was known to host Marcel Proust on a regular basis. In 1978, it was turned into a nightclub that became the ultimate scene where every influential star made appearances—from Prince and Mick Jagger to David Bowie, Karl Lagerfeld, and Andy Warhol. After it closed down for five years, it was reincarnated in 2015 as a 39-room hotel that hosts an Artists’ Residency program that's curated by Magda Danysz.

Courtesy of Design Hotels

The interiors of Le Bains in Paris, France

The interiors of Les Bains in Paris, France

Courtesy of Design Hotels

The two heritage-listed buildings that were previously owned by Carlton United Brewery were revamped and unveiled by Tonkin Zulaikha Greer Architects in 2015 as The Old Clare hotel.

The two heritage-listed buildings that were previously owned by Carlton United Brewery were revamped and unveiled by Tonkin Zulaikha Greer Architects in 2015 as The Old Clare hotel.

Courtesy of The Old Clare

The interiors of The Old Clare in Sydney, Australia

The interiors of The Old Clare in Sydney, Australia

Courtesy of The Old Clare

Housed within an old warehouse that was used during the Japanese occupation of China, this minimalist, riverside boutique hotel has white and blonde wood walls and clean-lined furniture that give the guestrooms a Scandi, loft-like feel.

Housed within an old warehouse that was used during the Japanese occupation of China, this minimalist, riverside boutique hotel has white-and-blonde wood walls and clean-lined furniture that give the guest rooms a Scandinavian, loft-like feel.  

Courtesy of Design Hotels

The interiors at Waterhouse at South Bund in Shanghai, China

The interiors at Waterhouse at South Bund in Shanghai, China

Courtesy of Design Hotels

This almost 100-year-old landmark colonial mansion in the UNESCO heritage city of Georgetown in Penang was given new life as a hotel by its Malaysian owners who worked with Singapore architects Ministry of Design to create eight dreamy guestrooms with hints of colonial splendor.

This almost 100-year-old landmark colonial mansion in the UNESCO heritage city of Georgetown in Penang was given new life as a hotel by its Malaysian owners who worked with the Singapore architects at Ministry of Design to create eight dreamy guest rooms with hints of colonial splendor.

Courtesy of Macalister Mansion

The interiors at Macalister Mansion in Penang, Malaysia

The interiors at Macalister Mansion in Penang, Malaysia

Courtesy of Macalister Mansion

Housed in a restored 140-year-old State Treasury building in the downtown area of Perth, Australia, Como The Treasury’s 48 rooms and suites have high ceilings, cornicing, and balconies.

Housed in a restored 140-year-old state treasury building in the downtown area of Perth, Australia, Como The Treasury’s 48 rooms and suites have high ceilings, cornicing, and balconies.

Courtesy of Como The Treasury

The interiors of Como the Treasury in Perth, Australia

The interiors of Como The Treasury in Perth, Australia

Courtesy of COMO The Treasury

Vaulted ceilings, high window arches and stone staircases are retained in the guestrooms and public spaces of this gothic style city archive building, which is now a a stylish hotel furnished with 20th century furniture from Gropius, Eames and van der Rohe.

Vaulted ceilings, high window arches, and stone staircases are retained in the guest rooms and public spaces of this gothic-style city archive building, which is now a a stylish hotel that's furnished with 20th-century furniture designed by Walter Gropius, Charles and Ray Eames, and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe.

Courtesy of Design Hotels

The interiors of The QVEST in Cologne, Germany

The interiors of The QVEST in Cologne, Germany

Courtesy of Design Hotels

This renovated 15th century monastery of the “Crutched Friars” is now the 60-room Kruisherenhotel Maastricht – a luxurious contemporary hotel where guests can check-in or dine at a site that was the monastery’s old church.

This renovated 15th-century monastery of the "Crutched Friars" is now the 60-room Kruisherenhotel Maastricht, a luxurious and contemporary hotel where guests can check in or dine at a site that used to be the monastery’s old church.

Courtesy of Design Hotels

The interiors of Kruisherenhotel in Maastricht, the Netherlands

The interiors of Kruisherenhotel in Maastricht, the Netherlands

Courtesy of Design Hotels

This 1895 dockside warehouse was converted into a hotel with voluminous rooms, high ceilings, concrete walls and exposed beams complimented by elegant furniture with sleek metallic details.

This dockside warehouse from 1895 was converted into a hotel with voluminous rooms, high ceilings, concrete walls, and exposed beams that are complemented by elegant furniture with sleek metallic details.

Courtesy of The Warehouse Hotel

The interiors of The Warehouse Hotel in Robertson Quay, Singapore

The interiors of The Warehouse Hotel in Robertson Quay, Singapore

Courtesy of The Warehouse Hotel

A boutique hotel in a former 19th century water purification faction, sleek glass panels and modern furnishings exist in symbiosis with the old factory walls, stone columns and aqueducts.

This boutique hotel sits in a former 19th-century water purification faction. Its sleek glass panels and modern furnishings exist in symbiosis with the old factory walls, stone columns, and aqueducts.

Courtesy of Design Hotels

The interiors of La Purificadora in Puebla, Mexico

The interiors of La Purificadora in Puebla, Mexico

Courtesy of Design Hotels


A New Hotel in Morelos Combines Local Mexican Elements With Brutalist Architecture

Permalink - Posted on 2017-07-26 22:39

Mexican stone and brutalist silhouettes converge at this majestic-looking hotel in Mexico.

Mexican architect Alfredo Cano of T3arc recently completed Hotel Huayacan, a 27,986-square-foot, 40-room hotel with robust stone facades.

Courtesy of Luis Gordoa

Located in Jiutepec, Morelos, Mexico, on the site of an old poultry farm, the hotel is composed of five sturdy stone volumes that are separated by well-ventilated, sun-drenched courtyards. 

Courtesy of Luis Gordoa

The volumes are laid out like two sides of a triangle with a pool located in the angle between the two sides. In its vertex is the lobby, a 39-foot-high volume that opens to the sky—allowing cool breezes to circulate on both sides of the building. 

Courtesy of Luis Gordoa

The structural combination of concrete and regionally-sourced stone is reflective of Mexican architecture and alludes to the monuments of the ancient Aztecs.

Courtesy of Luis Gordoa

Constructed with load-bearing walls and prefabricated concrete roofs, brutalist and modernist influences coexist here, while Mexican aesthetics reveal themselves through the materials and patterns of the stone parapets on some of the balconies.

The lobby is accessed through a narrow passageway with a concrete canopy that's interwoven with wood brise-soleils that allow sunlight to flood the interiors. 

To take full advantage of Jiutepec’s year-round warm weather, plenty of open-air patios are incorporated into the design.

Courtesy of Luis Gordoa

All the guest rooms have simple, predominately-white interiors with plastered voussoirs, white polished-concrete floors with Yucatan tiles, and balconies that look out to landscaped gardens.

Courtesy of Luis Gordoa

Courtesy of Luis Gordoa

Courtesy of Luis Gordoa

Courtesy of Luis Gordoa


Cor-Ten Steel-Clad Prefab

Permalink - Posted on 2017-07-26 22:26

Perched along the banks of the River Ouse near the historic English town of Lewes is a Cor-Ten steel house with a "carved-away" ridge that's geometrically striking. Though this 2,808-square-foot home in Lewes, East Sussex, England, used to be an old workshop, Sandy Rendel Architects transformed it into a beautiful modern home with a building shell that was made of SIPS (structured insulated panels), and prefabricated offsite. It's now available to buy for approximately $2.54 million. Sited off a roughcast concrete river wall, within an area known as South Downs National Park, the property is set against an intense backdrop of a cliff that rises steeply from the ground. The layout of the house orients the interiors in a way that allows for serene views of a river and low-lying meadow, while external pockets of shelter on the road-facing side serve as sound buffers. A human scale is achieved with the addition of two single-story elements on the road-facing side of the house, along with a break in the roofline that makes the center of the ridge look as if it's been carved away. The single-story elements protrude from the front elevation of the house to frame an entrance courtyard that's protected from the road by a mesh fence. At ground level, an in situ concrete frame is infilled with local ash-glazed brickwork and glass. On the upper level, a continuous skin of Cor-Ten steel clads the walls and roof. As the Cor-Ten steel weathers, it takes on an interesting ochre color, echoing the shade of the local red clay brickwork that's commonly seen in the Georgian and Victorian heritage houses in this part of England. Inside, on the ground level, a capacious entrance hall opens onto a lateral living area that’s flanked by floor-to-ceiling glazing on three sides to reveal views of the river, cliff, and meadows. At one end of this living area is a kitchen with two large islands of lava stone and cupboards hidden behind rough-sawn timber cladding. From the kitchen, sliding doors open to a sheltered terrace. On the opposite end of the kitchen is a lounge area with sliding doors that lead to another terrace and a garden beyond. Also on the ground level is a study, utility room, and WC, which are housed under the single-story structures near the roadside frontage of the house. An open-tread oak staircase leads to the first floor, where the five bedrooms are located. All of the bedrooms (one of which doubles as a study) are positioned along the river-facing side to make the most of the spectacular views. With a dramatic form that complements its surroundings and heritage, this house won the RIBA 2017 National Award, a RIBA South East Award, and the Sunday Times British Home Award 2016 for the "best one-off home in the UK."


Explore a Prefabricated House For Sale in England That's Clad With Cor-Ten Steel

Permalink - Posted on 2017-07-26 21:27

Perched along the banks of the River Ouse near the historic English town of Lewes is a Cor-Ten steel house with a "carved-away" ridge that's geometrically striking.

Though this 2,808-square-foot home in Lewes, East Sussex, England, used to be an old workshop, Sandy Rendel Architects transformed it into a beautiful modern home with a building shell that was made of SIPS (structured insulated panels), and prefabricated offsite. It's now available to buy for approximately $2.54 million.  

Courtesy of The Modern House

Sited off a roughcast concrete river wall, within an area known as South Downs National Park, the property is set against an intense backdrop of a cliff that rises steeply from the ground.  

Courtesy of The Modern House

The layout of the house orients the interiors in a way that allows for serene views of a river and low-lying meadow, while external pockets of shelter on the road-facing side serve as sound buffers. 

Courtesy of The Modern House

A human scale is achieved with the addition of two single-story elements on the road-facing side of the house, along with a break in the roofline that makes the center of the ridge look as if it's been carved away.

Courtesy of The Modern House

The single-story elements protrude from the front elevation of the house to frame an entrance courtyard that's protected from the road by a mesh fence.  

Courtesy of The Modern House

At ground level, an in situ concrete frame is infilled with local ash-glazed brickwork and glass. On the upper level, a continuous skin of Cor-Ten steel clads the walls and roof. 

Courtesy of The Modern House

As the Cor-Ten steel weathers, it takes on an interesting ochre color, echoing the shade of the local red clay brickwork that's commonly seen in the Georgian and Victorian heritage houses in this part of England.  

Courtesy of The Modern House

Inside, on the ground level, a capacious entrance hall opens onto a lateral living area that’s flanked by floor-to-ceiling glazing on three sides to reveal views of the river, cliff, and meadows. 

Courtesy of The Modern House

At one end of this living area is a kitchen with two large islands of lava stone and cupboards hidden behind rough-sawn timber cladding. From the kitchen, sliding doors open to a sheltered terrace. On the opposite end of the kitchen is a lounge area with sliding doors that lead to another terrace and a garden beyond.

Courtesy of The Modern House

Also on the ground level is a study, utility room, and WC, which are housed under the single-story structures near the roadside frontage of the house.  

Courtesy of The Modern House

An open-tread oak staircase leads to the first floor, where the five bedrooms are located. All of the bedrooms (one of which doubles as a study) are positioned along the river-facing side to make the most of the spectacular views.   

Courtesy of The Modern House

With a dramatic form that complements its surroundings and heritage, this house won the RIBA 2017 National Award, a RIBA South East Award, and the Sunday Times British Home Award 2016 for the "best one-off home in the UK."  


A New Chicago Bed-and-Breakfast Occupies a Former Publishing House

Permalink - Posted on 2017-07-26 21:21

Aptly named The Publishing House, a just-opened bed-and-breakfast in Chicago's West Loop neighborhood avoids the kitsch of traditional B&Bs.

Instead, the owners and hosts, Shawn Uldridge and Kimberly Lowerly, sought to preserve the building's historic character and infuse it with decor that's both stylish and homey, making for a refreshing B&B experience.  

Bethany Fritz of Maypole Studios Photography

Bethany Fritz of Maypole Studios Photography

Constructed in 1909, the building was named for its original occupants, The Free Methodist Publishing House, before it became the Museum of Holography, and was bought by the new owners in 2012. They tapped Nushu Architecture and contractor Vero Design + Build for a renovation of the structure to include 11 bedrooms, a capacious communal area, a kitchen, and a fully-equipped lounge. 

Nushu describes the results on their website: "The interior brings to fore the building's sometimes quirky original structure, and maximizes natural light, views, and an expansive floor plate." Finished guest rooms were then named for local literary luminaries such as Upton Sinclair, Sandra Cisneros, and Saul Bellow.

Perry Fish of Alluring Chicago

For the interiors, Nicole Alexander of Siren Betty Design combined a colorful palette with an impressive collection of vintage pieces, which was assembled over a two-year scavenging period at flea markets around the country. She mixed restored finds—like a buffet refinished in teal automotive paint—with original art, Persian rugs, and in the communal room, a brass chandelier fabricated by the local Wayward Machine Company.  

Ralph Klisiewicz

High ceilings, exposed brick walls, and refinished wood floors now coexist with modern interventions, such as the stairwell composed of sapele, glass, and steel, and custom maple built-ins in the cozy library lounge. Time to pick up a copy of The House on Mango Street and tuck in.

Ralph Klisiewicz

Bethany Fritz of Maypole Studios Photography


Spring Ranch

Permalink - Posted on 2017-07-26 20:47

Located in California’s Central Valley, this family retreat nestles amidst the grazing livestock of a thriving walnut farm. From the base of a large hill, the house opens up to eastward views of rolling hills along the San Andreas Fault. Three long, gently arcing rammed earth walls anchor both the indoor and outdoor spaces to the site. Private suites and a bunk-room offer lodging options for guests and the owner’s grown children and grandchildren, while large communal gathering and cooking spaces bring everyone together. A palette of wood, glass, steel, and stone compliment the bold texture of rammed earth. The House achieves LEED Gold performance through passive heating and cooling, alternative energy, sustainably-harvested materials, and drought-tolerant landscape design. Site-generated geothermal energy runs the home’s radiant heating and cooling system, while solar thermal and photovoltaic arrays power the net-zero home. Solar orientation optimizes southeast glazing to warm concrete flooring and earthen walls. Roof overhangs and external shades moderate light and heat throughout the summer months.


El Caracol

Permalink - Posted on 2017-07-26 20:47

Nestled in a Mediterranean pine forest at the confluence of two rivers in Lledó, Spain, is El Caracol, a rustic-modern domed holiday house that from afar, looks like half of an eggshell that's balancing on a precipice. Inside, full-height windows lean outwards at an angle, giving the interiors a strong connection with the outdoors. The entrance to El Caracol consists of a timber door that stands under a wagon bow-shaped arc. On the ground level is a spacious open-plan kitchen where a concrete worktop with a cooking range is held up by V-shaped steel supports. This makes the cooking surface look as if it's floating in the middle of the space. The kitchen flows into the dining, bar, and living areas, where the V-shaped steel supports demarcate the different functional zones. Additionally, they serve as shelving for books and plants. On the ground floor, there's also a pantry and a bathroom with a washing machine. On the upper level are three bedrooms, two of which have attached bathrooms. The central bedroom, which has two single beds, works well for children. The master bedroom has a convex wall at the back of the bed and full glazing on one side, which presents views of the forest outside. Additional guests can be accommodated with a sofa bed in the living room. To enhance the feeling of outdoor living, the property has a shaded outdoor dining terrace and BBQ area, a hammock, and a small infinity pool that looks out to the forest and mountains beyond. The three-bedroom house, which can sleep up to eight guests, is available for rent through CoolStays.


The Tent House

Permalink - Posted on 2017-07-26 20:47

On Waiheke Island near Auckland, New Zealand, the Tent House sits among wetlands on a patch of undeveloped land. It captures the back-to-basics simplicity of camping, thanks to architect Chris Tate. Though he originally created the cabin to be a personal retreat/studio, Tate ended up experimenting with the design in order to challenge conventional expectations of what makes an ideal weekend escape. Now available for short-term rental, the one-bedroom, one-bathroom, 753-square-foot home includes a sleeping area on the mezzanine, a fully functional kitchen, an open-plan living area, and a front deck designed to "fan out"—giving the illusion of a shadow cast by the A-frame structure. Situated in the New Zealand rain forest, the Tent House perfectly integrates into its sylvan setting. The site was landscaped with hundreds of plants exclusive to New Zealand in order to recreate the natural native forest. As a result, many native birds have returned to populate the location. The self-taught architect, who has been practicing in Auckland with a team of architects and engineers for approximately 10 years, explains the building process as being "very hands-on and experimental." He continues about working closely with architecture students, "We did the foundations, floors, and framing—and had professionals take over with certain services, cladding, etc." Tate is now embarking on setting up a satellite design practice in Los Angeles with a local partner. "We absolutely love the West Coast and we strongly believe that our buildings—which are often based on the modernist movement—are well-suited to California, which made it an easy choice," he explains. The Tent House has been shortlisted for the World Architecture Festival in Berlin 2017. It can be rented out for short-term rentals and photo shoots here.

The tent-like home responds to the challenging site in a dynamic way.
The sharp ridgeline and soaring soffit reference a tent-like experience in an architecturally elegant way.
A lack of walls and doors generates a compact but continuous space for living.


Ocotea Renovation

Permalink - Posted on 2017-07-26 20:47

Rescued from disorder and disrepair by In Situ Studio, a revived midcentury abode in Raleigh, North Carolina, is in search of a new owner. When current homeowner Joseph Amory purchased 3322 Ocotea Street in 2014, the 1959 residence’s midcentury plan had been corrupted. The basement had been inefficiently divided to hold additional bedrooms, the main level had been awkwardly reconfigured, and a poorly-executed sunroom had been added to the right side. Undaunted, Amory enlisted In Situ Studio to modernize the 3,400-square-foot dwelling while preserving its midcentury roots. The revamped four-bedroom, three-bath property is now back on the market for $975,000. By removing the sunroom and extending the roof over the space, the architects created a new carport and lightened the visual impact of the home. A new entry stairway and a narrow, wrap-around deck also help alleviate the residence’s formerly blocky silhouette. Inside, the wall dividing the living room and kitchen was taken down, creating a new, open plan that wraps around the brick fireplace. The architects introduced casework objects and slatted screens to organize the space while keeping its airy feel. Flipping an existing stair, they also allowed access to the basement from the main floor and took advantage of a new skylight. The slatted guardrail that lines the stairs stretches down to the lower story, unifying the two areas. The new master bedroom enjoys a vaulted ceiling, and is illuminated by a "lantern shower"—a skylit shower that allows the sun to pass into the interior through a frosted glass partition. A small private deck leads to the yard. Preserving the prevailing concepts of midcentury modernism, this updated home in Raleigh, North Carolina is a superb example of a thoughtful renovation.

Before the renovation, 3322 Ocotea Street had a poorly built sunroom on the right side.


The Shudio

Permalink - Posted on 2017-07-26 20:45

The Shudio (part shed, part studio) was created by Seth and Melissa Hanley who also happen to be architects and co-founders of Design Blitz, an architecture firm based in San Francisco. Located in their backyard in Sebastopol, the Shudio replaced a falling-down potting shed and brings the best of his-and-hers space planning: a painting studio for her and a beer brewing shed for him. During their frequent backyard parties (which often host more than 90 guests) the Shudio transforms into a bar with easy through traffic and a built in keg-orator. The finishes are simple with the primary surface being charcoal painted T111 with accents of western red cedar and a white washed ash plywood interior. The sliding barn doors and trim are constructed of California redwood. The trellis with its varied pattern creates a shadow pattern that changes throughout the day. The trellis helps to enclose the informal patio (decomposed granite) and provide privacy from neighboring properties. Existing mature rhododendrons were prioritized in the design and protected in place where possible. As practicing architects specializing in large-scale commercial space, Seth and Melissa took the Shudio as an opportunity to play with the intimate scale to create a muliti-funcional space that doesn't take itself too seriously.

The Shudio and patio with privacy trellis.
The interior of the shudio has a ceiling of western red cedar and whitewashed ash walls. Furniture is flexible to host a variety of functions.
The Shudio Exterior.
The Shudio exterior and interior.
The Shudio entrance.


A Brooklyn Carriage House Is Revamped With a Penthouse Made From Shipping Containers

Permalink - Posted on 2017-07-26 19:23

On a tree-lined street in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn, a former carriage house from the 1930s is now a colorful modern home that boasts bright orange shipping containers.

Commissioned by an artist, a gallerist, and their daughter, LOT-EK was tasked with renovating and expanding their existing two-story home. The new design rotates around an extension made out of stacked shipping containers, and features vibrant colors and a centralized-floor plan. As a result, the architecture is now organized around a polychromatic core volume that extends from the ground floor to the roof terrace. 

Danny Bright


Danny Bright

The redesign includes a bright orange penthouse, which was retrofitted out of four stacked shipping containers. This part of the house dictates the flow between each space and provides access to an external rooftop terrace. The same color continues throughout—intersecting, connecting, and organizing various internal sections. 

Danny Bright

Danny Bright


Danny Bright

On the ground floor, the home is entered though a mudroom that sits adjacent to the kitchen and living room. Just above, the master bedroom is isolated from the child’s playroom/bedroom by the orange containers. Upwards, stairs lead to the home’s uppermost story—the penthouse. In this area, the family can enjoy their own private outdoor area—an outright luxury in New York City. 

Danny Bright

From street level, the rooftop shipping containers remain out of sight, yet subtly implied by obscured views of orange. The stripes painted across the matte black facade reference the diagonal voids that define the scheme’s interior.

Danny Bright

Danny Bright


Danny Bright

Danny Bright

Danny Bright


River Garden Trail Residence

Permalink - Posted on 2017-07-26 18:09

THE GOAL To create a showplace for a professional motorcycle racer to host fellow athletes. THE PROCESS Although the original house sat on a hilltop with a stunning view of Lake Austin, its architecture failed to take advantage of the setting. The client wanted a better layout and stylish aesthetics that revealed the house's hidden beauty. Part of our strategy was to clarify roof lines throughout the structure, as well as in the entry and back patio canopies and the porte cochere. As demolition proceeded, it also became clear that other issues demanded attention: Waterproofing, drainage, and landscaping needed to be addressed in addition to renovation. The expanded agenda meant that design flaws original to the house could be erased, too. Ductwork in the living room ceiling was reworked, and a dormer above the living area was removed to allow the creation of a double-height vaulted wood ceiling that extends into the upstairs master bedroom. The living room’s focal point is overhead: A dramatic steel motorcycle platform outside the bedroom presents a new industrial aesthetic while featuring two of the client's most cherished motorcycles. We also opened interior spaces, removing walls in the kitchen and rebuilding the stairwell as open and expansive to invite maximum light. New high-end finishes such as blackened steel on the fireplace were introduced to update the look. Some finishes have personal significance for the homeowner: The master bedroom headboard and the office door were fabricated from pecan trees from the homeowner’s parents' property, which burned in the 2011 Bastrop wildfires. An ipe deck and barbecue area extend from the formal living area, further expanding the homeowner’s options for entertaining. THE FINAL RESULT The new layout and more modern aesthetic now meet the client’s social needs and are a powerful expression of his personality.

Master bedroom loft
Stairs
Front exterior
Master bedroom
Exterior - pool


Mid-Century Mash-Up

Permalink - Posted on 2017-07-26 17:54

Although postwar California modernism is generally associated with Southern California, the Bay Area’s own tradition has begun in recent years to be more widely acknowledged, and its surviving treasures have gained an appreciative audience. San Francisco’s modernists were faced with the issue of building within a firmly established stylistic tradition—think bay windows and gingerbread. Henry Hill’s 1947 renovation of a 1908 Victorian tucked away on an alley in historic Russian Hill provides a remarkable response to the dilemma.

Farnham walks the couple’s Vizsla, Kasia, down the sloped alley upon which the 

house sits. Hill’s renovation maintains some Victorian character in the decorative eaves 

and scaling, but the home is largely an anomaly for San Francisco.

Upon completion of Harvard’s graduate design program under Walter Gropius in 1937, the English-born Hill returned to Berkeley, California, and worked extensively with John Ekin Dinwiddie, one of San Francisco’s modernist pioneers. After World War II—during which Hill served in London assessing damage from bombing run photographs—he and Dinwiddie went into practice for a brief period with the progressive German architect Erich Mendelsohn. By 1948 Hill was in business for himself and had established himself as an architect capable of seamlessly melding the traditions of European modernism with an almost laid-back Californian sensibility. Landscape architect Robert Royston, who once shared an office with Hill on Clay Street, paints the picture: "It was wonderful, he would show up to work with the top down on his car, with a great Beethoven or Britten symphony playing on his radio."

Farnham walks the couple’s Vizsla, Kasia, down the sloped alley upon which the 

house sits. Hill’s renovation maintains some Victorian character in the decorative eaves 

and scaling, but the home is largely an anomaly for San Francisco.


The mahogany-paneled vestibule features gently angled stairs that rise to the living area, which boasts an impressive atrium.


In 2005, Gretchen Rice and Kevin Farnham acquired the unique home. Prior to that the couple lived only a few blocks away but, according to Farnham, "couldn’t believe that something like this existed in our neighborhood." The two had pretty much written off San Francisco’s real estate market, but over the course of one weekend—when Farnham accidentally stumbled upon the listing on a website—everything changed. "I knew right then that I was in trouble," recounts Farnham of walking into the house for the first time. "I had never really encountered a house in San Francisco that I actually wanted. I knew I had to have this."

Farnham and Kasia sit in front of the home’s most impressive feature: an enclosed atrium overlooking the living area. In 2007, Dale Loughins outfitted the atrium with all manner of exotic epiphytes and an automated misting system.


In the dining area, Metropolitan side chairs by Jeffrey Bernett for B&B Italia surround a Surf Table designed by Carlo Colombo for Zanotta.


The home’s exterior is so modest you could walk by it a hun-dred times without a second glance, but open the oversized orange door and you are engulfed by an unexpected new world. "It’s a pronounced experience," says Farnham of Hill’s sweeping design statement. A slight series of stairs angles lazily up to the home’s main level. Tongue-and-groove mahogany paneling elegantly cloaks the walls. A long waist-high horizontal built-in, a fireplace, and embedded hi-fi speaker (remember that in 1947 we’re talking mono), extends back to the façade and its wall of opaque glass. And then there are the atriums: Near the stairs, in the corner between the dining area and kitchen, and along one whole wall of the living area, these magnificent volumetric voids dazzle the eye and flood the otherwise enclosed space with light and plant life.

A 1972 ticket to the Munich Olympics, a vintage lacquer plate, and Eva Zeisel salt and pepper shakers for Nambe perch in front of the atrium which abuts the kitchen.


The bank of translucent glass windows diffuses light evenly in the living room and contributes to the sensation that you have left the world behind. Eames chairs for Herman Miller are accompanied by Italian manufacturer U-vola’s unique speakers from Elite Audio Systems.


Impressive as Hill’s great room was, the home’s downstairs had little going for it. Designer John Randolph, whom Farnham and Rice have since commissioned to tackle a handful of domestic projects, even describes a "double happiness" symbol etched in the decaying floor. Almost immediately, Farnham set about updating the space. He hired Jeff Thomasson, a contractor now "on a semipermanent retainer," to tackle the lighting, walls, and flooring, and commissioned Atlas Industries to wrap the room with its modular shelving and storage. Eventually Atlas also designed the custom wet bar and bar, furnishing CAD drawings for Thomasson to follow. Seated on an expansive Patricia Urquiola sofa, Rice claims it’s "the ultimate man palace." (However, she has been known to take in more than the occasional NFL game.)

Tidy shelving provides perfect storage for Phaidon’s Art and Ideas series. Joseph Albers prints hang in the background.


Farnham installed Cat6 two-gigabit ethernet throughout the home, the epicenter of which is this herculean massing of hardware.


"I spend 80 percent of my time down here," admits the tech, media, and design junkie Farnham. Whether it’s behind the bar mixing an eclectic array of cocktails, navigating TiVo through the evening’s NBA proceedings, or keeping up with work at the "wired to the teeth" computer station, the downstairs space is a physical extension of Farnham’s character (which surely includes the grill just outside the back door). While the couple is investigating if the home can be raised to accommodate a parking space or considering the possibility of a small additional story, Hill’s design is in good hands. "I’m basically future-proofing the house," Farnham explains.

Hill included a hidden turntable and mono speaker cabinet in the original design.
Built-ins in the bedroom echo the cabinetry from the great room.
Rice surfs the net at the built-in desk.
Atlas shelving provides the framework for Farnham’s entertainment center. Almost 100 square feet of Patricia Urquiola’s Tufty-Time sofa for B&B Italia provides ample space to stretch out.
Atlas designed the wet bar to meld seamlessly with the modular shelving that encircles the kitchen.
The miniature backyard was landscaped and now accommodates a Viking grill, a custom picnic table and benches by Ohio Design, and a nook which buttresses the small garden.


Stay in a Tent-Inspired A-Frame Cabin in the New Zealand Rain Forest

Permalink - Posted on 2017-07-26 17:19

On Waiheke Island near Auckland, New Zealand, the Tent House sits among wetlands on a patch of undeveloped land. It captures the back-to-basics simplicity of camping, thanks to architect Chris Tate.

Though he originally created the cabin to be a personal retreat/studio, Tate ended up experimenting with the design in order to challenge conventional expectations of what makes an ideal weekend escape. Now available for short-term rental, the one-bedroom, one-bathroom, 753-square-foot home includes a sleeping area on the mezzanine, a fully functional kitchen, an open-plan living area, and a front deck designed to "fan out"—giving the illusion of a shadow cast by the A-frame structure. 

The tent-like home responds to the challenging site in a dynamic way.

The tent-like home responds to the challenging site in a dynamic way. 

Chris Tate Architecture

Situated in the New Zealand rain forest, the Tent House perfectly integrates into its sylvan setting. The site was landscaped with hundreds of plants exclusive to New Zealand in order to recreate the natural native forest. As a result, many native birds have returned to populate the location. 

"Every time I visit the house, I get excited by the complexity and simplicity of its form. It has that 'happy place' feeling for me," says Tate. 

Chris Tate Architecture

The self-taught architect, who has been practicing in Auckland with a team of architects and engineers for approximately 10 years, explains the building process as being "very hands-on and experimental." He continues about working closely with architecture students, "We did the foundations, floors, and framing—and had professionals take over with certain services, cladding, etc." 

The sharp ridgeline and soaring soffit reference a tent-like experience in an architecturally elegant way.

The sharp ridgeline and soaring soffit reference a tent shape in an architecturally elegant way. 

Chris Tate Architecture

Tate is now embarking on setting up a satellite design practice in Los Angeles with a local partner. "We absolutely love the West Coast and we strongly believe that our buildings—which are often based on the modernist movement—are well-suited to California, which made it an easy choice," he explains.

A lack of walls and doors generates a compact but continuous space for living.

A lack of walls and doors generates a compact yet continuous space for living. 

Chris Tate Architecture

The Tent House has been shortlisted for the World Architecture Festival in Berlin 2017. It can be rented out for short-term rentals and photo shoots here.  

Inside, the complex interplay of angles creates an energised feeling of space that belies the modest floorplan. This is enhanced by the full-height glazing on the north face, which draws in the deck and the wetland bush beyond.

Inside, the complex interplay of angles creates an energized feeling of space that belies the modest floorplan. This is enhanced by the full-height glazing on the north face, which draws in the deck and the wetland bush beyond.

Chris Tate Architecture


Set in the New Zealand rain forest, the Tate has landscaped the site with hundreds of plants exclusive to New Zealand to recreate a natural native forest landscape.

Set in the New Zealand rain forest, it's landscaped with hundreds of plants that are exclusive to New Zealand in order to recreate a natural native landscape.

Chris Tate Architecture


The front deck was designed to

The front deck was designed to "fan out"—giving the illusion of a shadow cast by the A-frame structure. 

Chris Tate Architecture


Kitchen//Extension

Permalink - Posted on 2017-07-26 16:50

3D Visualisation of a kitchen extension


Custom Cat House

Permalink - Posted on 2017-07-26 16:49

Award-winning minimalist design driven by clients’ unique pet-related needs Architects Kathy Hancox and Michael Kothke have been creating minimalist gems for over two decades in British Columbia, San Francisco, and, for the past 14 years, Tucson. They’ve designed homes with the cold, the heat, the rain, and the sun in the mind. But cats had never been a factor. Until now. “We’d never had an animal-focused project before,” says Hancox, of HK Associates in Tucson. “So it was a fun challenge to come up with a design.” The couple’s clients own more than a dozen rescue cats that require being separated into three colonies, so Hancox and Kothke got to work figuring out a way to accommodate the felines and provide their pet parents with the indoor-outdoor living they also requested for their first custom home. What the architects came up with is the Courtyard House, a 3,500-square-foot home with a spatially layered, free-flowing floor plan (in fact, the only interior door is to a powder room off the main living space) interspersed with a series of courtyards where the cats reside and Tucson’s bountiful natural light fills the interior. The home has been a hit with Hancox and Kothke’s clients and, presumably, the cats. But it also was recognized as the American Institute of Architects’ Southern Arizona division as the 2016 Home of the Year. The same group also bestowed upon the husband-and-wife team the 2016 Honor Award for Distinguished Architect, no doubt for the architects’ use large glass to create visual and physical indoor-outdoor connections. “There’s the illusion that from certain angles that all the courtyards are connected. It’s interesting because you can look from one courtyard through the inside of the home through another courtyard through another courtyard to the outside of the home,” says Kothke. “The main courtyard is U-shaped, and then there’s a series of four smaller courtyards that really create unique outdoor spaces.” And leading to the main courtyard from main living/kitchen/dining area is a massive, four-panel Western Window Systems Series 600 Multi-Slide Door, which seamlessly merges the interior with the outdoors, letting in natural light and fresh air that courses through the open floor plan. Also opening to the main courtyard on either side of it, with the master suite on one side and the office and guest bedroom on the other, are Series 600 Sliding Doors flanked by huge floor-to-ceiling fixed windows from Western Window Systems. “Our objective is always to do something that’s elegant and timeless and modern.” Kathy Hancox, partner, HK Associates

“We all like to think of architecture in the daytime,” says architect Michael Kothke. “But this house is equally impressive at night.”
Custom Cat House
The architects liked the visual punch and economical price of Western Window Systems’ sliding glass doors.
HK Associates also designed the interior of the home, focusing on furniture that can withstand the rigors of the more than a dozen rescue cats living in the house.
Huge panels of glass give the clients the ability to see into any number of the home’s courtyards at once.


Elegantly Renovated, a Midcentury Home in Raleigh Asks $975K

Permalink - Posted on 2017-07-26 15:44

Rescued from disorder and disrepair by In Situ Studio, a revived midcentury abode in Raleigh, North Carolina, is in search of a new owner.

When current homeowner Joseph Amory purchased 3322 Ocotea Street in 2014, the 1959 residence’s midcentury plan had been corrupted. The basement had been inefficiently divided to hold additional bedrooms, the main level had been awkwardly reconfigured, and a poorly-executed sunroom had been added to the right side. Undaunted, Amory enlisted In Situ Studio to modernize the 3,400-square-foot dwelling while preserving its midcentury roots. The revamped four-bedroom, three-bath property is now back on the market for $975,000.

Before the renovation, 3322 Ocotea Street had a poorly built sunroom on the right side.

Before the renovation, 3322 Ocotea Street had a poorly built sunroom on the right side. 

Courtesy of RE/MAX One Realty

Keith Isaacs

By removing the sunroom and extending the roof over the space, the architects created a new carport and lightened the visual impact of the home. A new entry stairway and a narrow, wrap-around deck also help alleviate the residence’s formerly blocky silhouette. 

Keith Isaacs

Inside, the wall dividing the living room and kitchen was taken down, creating a new, open plan that wraps around the brick fireplace. The architects introduced casework objects and slatted screens to organize the space while keeping its airy feel. Flipping an existing stair, they also allowed access to the basement from the main floor and took advantage of a new skylight. The slatted guardrail that lines the stairs stretches down to the lower story, unifying the two areas. 

Courtesy of RE/MAX One Realty

Keith Isaacs

The new master bedroom enjoys a vaulted ceiling, and is illuminated by a "lantern shower"—a skylit shower that allows the sun to pass into the interior through a frosted glass partition. A small private deck leads to the yard. 

Keith Isaacs

Keith Isaacs

Keith Isaacs

Keith Isaacs

Keith Isaacs

Keith Isaacs

Keith Isaacs

Preserving the prevailing concepts of midcentury modernism, this updated home in Raleigh, North Carolina is a superb example of a thoughtful renovation.

Know of a home for sale or rent that should be featured on Dwell.com? Drop us a line at jxie@dwell.com.


9 Innovative Light Fixtures That Combine Art, Design, and Technology

Permalink - Posted on 2017-07-25 23:37

Lighting lives somewhere on the borderline between visual art, design, and technology—and is responsible for meeting both aesthetic and practical needs.

These nine lighting fixtures have unique sensibilities and functions, and are sure to optimize any space for both living and working. Take a look!

Spark of Life by Teresa van Dongen

A recent alumni of the Design Academy Eindhoven designed this "living lamp," which is powered by electrochemically-active bacteria. Inside the vessel, the special bacteria emits small electrical currents in its metabolism while cleaning the water.

Spark of Life by Teresa van Dongen

Spark of Life by Teresa van Dongen

Hans Boddeke

Counterbalance by Daniel Rybakken For Luceplan

Luceplan devised a wall light that seemingly defies the laws of physics. Positioned vicariously in space, the mobility of the lamp emulates the dynamic equilibrium of a sculptural mobile. Equipped with a fluid balancing system using gear wheels, the counterweight compensates for the movements of the long arm, ensuring stability of the diffuser.

Counterbalance by Daniel Rybakken

Counterbalance by Daniel Rybakken

Luceplan

The Panta Rei Light Cube

Created by Italian designers Mattia Antonetti, Fabrizio Guarrasi, and Luis H. Vicencio, this piece is inspired by the Greek metaphor for "everything flows." The layered volume consists of intricate panels of wood enveloped in a magnetic wooden block, which artfully move forward and backward as a means to switch the light on and off. 

The Panta Rei Light Cube by Mattia Antonetti, Fabrizio Guarrasi, and Luis H. Vicencio

The Panta Rei Light Cube by Mattia Antonetti, Fabrizio Guarrasi, and Luis H. Vicencio

Courtesy of Mattia Antonetti, Fabrizio Guarrasi and Luis H. Vicencio

Babylon Light From Object/Interface

Inspired by the hanging gardens of Babylon, this lamp from Object/Interface is a multifunctional pendant for both plants and light. Toronto-based industrial designer Ryan Taylor created the vessel out of powder-coated aluminum and sealed the electrical components from the water reserve. Shop below!

Babylon Light

We’ve all been stuck, at one point or another, in a stark urban space dreaming about being outside in nature. The Babylon Light will bring nature to you with its ingenious design that combines a pendant light and a planter in a sleek, modern design. Choose the plants, add a light bulb and you’re ready to go. Whether you prefer the small white flowers of a snowdrop plant or the cascading tendrils of English ivy, this hanging lamp will revitalize both your living space and your senses. Each light is designed and made in Canada by Object/Interface.

CHORD by AlexAllenStudio

This Brooklyn-based studio designed a lighting pendant in the simple form of a delineated semicircle. The overall effect looks like a light that's emanating into a void, where the fixture becomes a portal—altering imagery within.

CHORD by AlexAllenStudio

CHORD by AlexAllenStudio

Juan Ude

CMYK up by Studio Dennis Parren

Dennis Parren fashioned a 3D-printed pendant lamp shaped like a graphic outline—which quite fittingly, casts shadows in the color model CMYK. It projects an elusive network of lines in the primary colors of light (cyan, magenta, and yellow).

CMYK up by Studio Dennis Parren

CMYK up by Studio Dennis Parren

Dennis Parren

Container by Alex Chow

This table lamp is 3D-printed with non-GMO and 100-percent renewable corn-sourced PLA. It can be made-to-order in just six days. The design incorporates the secondary function of storage, articulating a space where people naturally tend to put items on the flat surface of a lamp. 

Container by Alex Chow

Container by Alex Chow

Gantri

Han by Goula/Figuera Studio For Faro Barcelona

This lamp-coat hanger designed by Alvaro Goula and Pablo Figuera was the result of the first collaboration between both Spanish studios. Designed for Faro Barcelona, the structure is composed of a LED light source and emits a soft and warm illumination—followed by four hangers.

Han by Goula/Figuera Studio For Faro Barcelona

Han by Goula/Figuera Studio For Faro Barcelona

Goula / Figuera

COVI by Senic

Senic, a Y combinator-backed hardware and software startup, released a speech-enabled interior light that doubles as a smart home hub (currently seeking funding via Kickstarter). It allows users to trigger events on their smart devices based on specific times, inputs, and commands. It's supported through services like Amazon Alexa, Nest, and Hue.

COVI by Senic

COVI by Senic

Senic


Atrium Townhome

Permalink - Posted on 2017-07-25 23:36

This townhome has a 32’ atrium with a skylight running the full width of the house. Our design embraces this feature and heightens the experience of its dynamic interior volume. A fireplace is integrated as a central focal point. Atop the mantle is a grand bookcase that provides storage and visual interest as it draws one's eyes upward through the atrium. At the main living level, the kitchen has been relocated from the front of the home to the rear where it now enjoys more open space and daylight in its position adjacent a window wall with views to a newly designed garden. A carefully detailed millwork 'cube' is a primary organizing element of the ground floor plan. It is a nicely proportioned object that orients movement through the space as it separates the living room from the atrium and kitchen. The 'cube' contains two concealed glass pocket doors that enable the living room to be closed off. It also conceals a coat closet at the main entry of the home and hides a discreet powder room. At the ground floor level and up through the atrium and main stair, vertical grain Douglas fir slats provide screened views through the home and eliminate the necessity for guardrails. Douglas fir, concrete floors, and white lacquered millwork combine to create a crisp and clean material palette with a sense of warmth. At the third floor level, a net 'floor' has been installed at the top of the atrium allowing the void space to become a dramatic play surface adjacent to the kid’s bedrooms. The use of a net in this location precludes the need for guardrails and opens the floor plan to unimpeded views to and from the third floor. Riggers from Cirque du Soleil provided and installed the trapeze net. In the garden a covered seating area adjacent to the kitchen serves to blur the boundary between the interior living spaces and the exterior. Carefully placed hornbeams create an aerial hedge offering privacy from adjacent buildings while focusing attention towards the rear of the garden. At the garden's terminus, views are borrowed from a mature grove of hemlocks and spruce trees, enhancing the sense of lushness in this small city garden. Additionally, a small, shallow, fountain built into a concrete bench serves as a focal point.

View of the main atrium space with vertical grain douglas fir wood slats, and custom steel library ladder.
View from entry.
View from within the atrium looking south towards the kitchen.
Cascade coil drape keeps the owner's great dane out of the kitchen.
Sleek white kitchen with Heath tile backsplash


Strikingly Minimal

Permalink - Posted on 2017-07-25 22:23

The architects of two Czech studios, Mjölk and DDAANN, combined forces to design this unique 522 square foot space. The owner of a large apartment in Prague sought the means to house family from abroad who would stay for extended periods.

A kitchen, complete with a small dining area, allows guests to reverse roles and host the hosts. The blue Muuto Unfold light accents against the otherwise black and white space; the chairs are Hay Copenhague bar stools.
The kitchen appliances are by Mora and the sink is by Franke.
The owner is an avid cyclist; the guest apartment's hallway entrance features this unique storage space for his roadbike. Old damaged floors were replaced with a durable polyurethane coating.
A large bed hides behind the couch. The lights affixed to the canopy bed frame are Nordlux Cyclone reading lamps.
The bathroom features fixtures from Laufen and Hansgrohe.


Beacon Hill

Permalink - Posted on 2017-07-25 22:19

In Boston's Beacon Hill neighborhood, where space is tight and the cost of a home averages close to $1,000 per square foot, architect Chris Greenawalt of Bunker Workshop dug up some room for a minuscule apartment. For more small space inspiration, including another hands-on renovation by Bunker Workshop, grab a copy of our November issue, on newsstands now.

Architects who practice in dense cities know its almost impossible to add square footage to an apartment. Yet at a garden-level residence in Boston's historic Beacon Hill neighborhood, Chris Greenawalt of Bunker Workshop was able to unearth 70 square feet of living space through a little excavation.
At 525 square feet, the expanded apartment is still quite petite, so integrating solutions for managing clutter was essential. By relocating the kitchen, Greenawalt freed space for storage in the bedroom.
The renovation revealed a 30-foot-deep well beneath the bedroom, which the team half-jokingly considered turning into a fish tank. Instead, they opted for a simple bedroom with plenty of built-in storage.
Along with historic wood and steel details, several warm brick walls were exhumed and left exposed.
The historic apartment has been updated throughout with white paint and minimalist accents, adapting its rustic character to the 21st-century.


Ravenswood Residence

Permalink - Posted on 2017-07-25 22:18

Architect John Ronan recast a former office building as a private home in a fast-evolving Chicago railroad corridor. In Chicago’s Ravenswood neighborhood, a one-story bowstring commercial building was adapted and extended vertically as a loft residence by architect John Ronan for a photographer/artist couple. The existing structure was hollowed out for living space and a two-pronged studio, and bedrooms were hoisted into a three-story volume clad in metal siding with a scattershot of windows. The vertical massing preserves a healthy share of the site for courtyard—a seasonal extension of living space.

Appearing almost as a glowing container stack, the corrugated aluminum addition relates to the low-lying structure’s commercial past. Not that owners Dave and Jeannette Jordano were saddled with rehab and remediation. The previous occupant, architecture firm Morgante Wilson, outgrew the 50-foot-by-50-foot footprint but left the space in fine condition.
“We had to talk John into doing this project,” says Dave Jordano. “He wanted nothing to do with renovation, but we gave him total freedom and, two months later, we were presented with this exhilarating design.” The experience changes dramatically as one travels the perimeter, moving from the front elevation’s equilibrium to lopsided massing along the alley. As the original structure recedes, the addition absolutely towers over the courtyard.
The gated courtyard was conceived in halves: a slightly sunken sandbox-like patio and a miniature green space. Its connection to both pieces of the house and the garage encourages traversal and use as an outdoor living space.
A new skylight regulates the living room’s natural light. Ronan set up great contrasts in the space with the bone white walls and ceiling, black wall unit with built-in fireplace, and the crisply framed courtyard. The owners enhanced the space further with vibrant photography and furnishings.
Saturation demarcates the line between the primary living space and kitchen in the existing open-plan structure. Were it not for tonal contrasts, aided also by a ground and polished concrete floor, the kitchen would be a virtual whiteout.