Exhibited at the 2004 Venice Biennale, this loft space was designed by Carlo Ratti Associati for an ‘archi-enthusiast’ building owner in Turin [Italy] with a simple goal: refurbish the space and rent it out.
According to the Italian rental laws, tenants must paint their own walls, and maintain hardwood floors at their own cost. The landlord, therefore, needed only to provide simple plaster walls floors - for which low-cost industrial hardwood floors made of sawmill rejects/scraps were used.
This desire for a simple solution led the designers to develop an insertion into the space, based on the concept of an unfolding box. This created an interesting folding aesthetic - walls folding into shelves, bed space, counters, etc. This concept also inspired the ninjas over at Ratti Associati to integrate the everywhere display into the space, using video projections to enliven the simple forms.
IBM’s everywhere display is a video projector with a rotating mirror that allows any surface around it to become a potential screen. Its envisaged use in this project informed the design and modeling of interior spaces. The flat is designed around one core ambient, with low-rise partitions in order to maximize the co-visibility of surfaces. This allows projections on most internal walls and potentially creates a home-like pervasive computing environment - as demonstrated by MIT’s House_n group [from Carlo Ratti Associati].
The wall that you see the projections on in the images [shown blank in the image above] closes in a low-walled space for a bed - just a few steps off the floor of the main loft space. The understated forms and folding floor plane keep with the overall simplicity of the project, leaving color and other design choices to the individual tenants - or simply providing a clean, crisp aesthetic to be accentuated by the projections alone [which, is what I would do - forget painting anything].
::all images and info from Carlo Ratti Associati::
Similar to a post over at AMNP on living in a bookcase, we’ve got the recent Lubetkin Prize [RIBA] winning Casa Kike - designed by Gianni Botsford Architects. Located in Cahuita, Costa Rica, the home was built for a writer - and is meant to house 17,000 books [I bet there’s lots of pictures…]. Here’s RIBA’s description of the award:
It is awarded for the most outstanding building outside the EU by an RIBA member and is chosen from winners of RIBA International Awards| following visits by a jury of architects and a lay judge.
And if I had to weigh-in, I’d have to say that the house is pretty siiick - and I want one. Two connected pavilions, the home is separated by function: the larger volume contains one large open space, containing the authors book, work space, and a grand piano - while the smaller volume contains a bedroom and bath [if I’m not mistaken, there is an existing structure on the property, containing kitchen, etc].
The two structures are built with a locally [and sustainably] harvested wood, clad in corrugated metal panels [another local material], and sit on four foot tall wood piles [a hard wood called CachAA - which is so dense that it sinks in water, and as a result is also naturally termite proof].
I particularly love the way the structure bends from roof to wall, forming the frame work for the bookcase - a feature element of the writer’s studio space. That, and the way the different volumes are connected through these outdoor decks [last image, below] - it must be pretty incredible to live in a location where you can treat the outside as a connector between your living spaces. Although, doesn’t it rain a lot in Costa Rica?
::info and images via Gianni Botsford Architects::
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This week’s Ninja Homes feature takes us to the coast, two hours from Tokyo to Sou Fujimoto Architects’ House O - a weekend house for a couple. Built atop a rocky shoreline, the home is designed so as to appear to be part of the rocky terrain, with blank concrete walls rising from the rock outcroppings to meet the approaching visitor.
This enclosed feeling changes immediately upon entering the house, which opens up almost entirely to the Pacific Ocean on the other side. Described by the architects as ‘tree-like’, the plan creates a continuous space that branches off into the separate rooms/space - all of which frame ‘cave-like’ views of the ocean beyond.
The house offers a variety of views/perspectives of the ocean - distinguishing between each space through its relationship to the water [which, I must say, is pretty feckin’ dope]. Described as ‘akin to a walking trail along a coast‘, the resident/visitor could ‘happen by a panoramic view, sometimes feel the ocean at [their] back or find the ocean through a small gap‘ - emphasizing the idea that the house is an extension of the rocky terrain upon which it sits.
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Located in Boston, the Davol Loft by HAAweler + Yoon was created by combining two 1,100 sf loft spaces on the top floor of a building in Chinatown. The two lofts were mirror images of one another, organized around a central core and separated by a partition wall.
The new space is was created through the insertion of an 8’x8′ courtyard into the space, along with two skylights / lightwells [check out that section above]. These combine to add a ton of additional natural light to the loft - while the courtyard space also provides an opportunity to experience the ‘outside’ while living downtown.
The most interesting aspect of the courtyard is how it’s completely contained within the loft space. Located off of the kitchen space, the 8’x8′ space is a mixture of inside+out in that it is exposed to all the elements and brings them inside the loft. On a rainy/snowy day you can look out across/through the courtyard and back into the loft, viewing the opposite space as if through a lens dependent on the weather. The choice in materials also aids in this blending of inside + out, as HAAweler + Yoon used reused Tauari [a red South American Mahogany] slats for the kitchen wall - which slip past/through the glass wall into the courtyard and climb the wall up onto the roof to form the deck.
The other interesting feature of the courtyard is it’s introspective nature. Rather than a terrace/balcony space that looks out onto the surrounding neighborhood/city, the courtyard frames a private and secluded view of the sky - with walls high enough [it appears] to block all views of the surrounding buildings.
The other two insertions into the space - the skylights/lightwells - occur in the bathroom. The skylights illuminate an acid etched glass-enclosed shower + bathtub, which both bathe the user in light while creating glowing volumes that bring additional natural light into the bedroom and study.
Additional posts on HAAweler + Yoon, over at our architecture site AMNP:
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For this week’s Ninja Homes feature we bring you the Minami-Nagano Dental Clinic & Residence by Japanese architect Hiroki Tanabe. A 274 square meter home + office combo for a dentist, the building is located in a suburb of Nagano, Japan -‘in a beautiful farm village surrounded by rice fields and peach orchards’.
In this area of Japan the building code does not allow for the construction of any more free-standing residential projects - new housing must be combined [structurally] with ‘public’ functions. To achieve this, Tanabe created a folding ‘zig-zag’ roof-wall-floor plane out of 300mm thick reinforced concrete, which both combines the two functions of the building [home and dentist’s office] structurally, while separates them volumetrically.
The three volumes he forms through this folding are a waiting area, the dentist’s office, and the dentist’s living space - each separated by a glass box that acts as a transitional zone between the various functions. This box gives occupants the impression of moving outside of the building [complete with glass ceiling] when moving between the different areas - further distinguishing between the different building uses.
The interior of the building is a classic example of modern Japanese design. Clean, simple, and elegant shapes and lines - all white urethane resin paint - define the interior spaces, which was designed column free in order to leave the building flexible for different interior arrangements in the present or even different programs in the future.
And, oh yeah - it apparently glows yellow at night, because it’s ill like that…
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Located in Glienicke - a German municipality located north or Berlin - House L is a sustainable [read : minimum impact], site-integrated home for a family of four, designed by AMNP‘s ADLS 08.10.2007 : Pott Architects.
The house literally folds up out of the landscape - constructed at the top of a hill, House L is embedded in the hillside and looks back out over the sloping forest terrain. Beyond the views it frames down the slope, this connection to the terrain also allowed the house to have a minimum impact on the existing site. The surrounding landscape was preserved as much as possible, creating a building that now seems to exist as a part of the local forest, instead of appearing as an outside insertion upon the land.
The objective was a house designed sensitively enough to harmonize with its natural surroundings, leaving intact the mature trees and the whole forest-like atmosphere of the setting. The building was to feel wide open to the changing natural seasons and the sunlight, drawing them close to the family’s everyday home life [via Pott Architects].
While I’ve been unable to find plans/sections of the house, the rooms seem to be organized so that the public space - kitchen, dining + living rooms - are all within a large, bright, open space that looks out over the landscape, while the more private spaces - bed + bath rooms - are ‘buried’ within the hillside.
::images via Pott Architects::
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[Image: Night few of the Tattoo House - a kitchen+living space addition]
I should start by saying that Andrew Maynard - with the lofty goal of ‘complete tyrannical world domination‘ [sounds familiar…] - has already reached 9th dan ninja status, and I’m pretty sure he’s not even thirty [so in architecture terms, he’s basically a child]. The Aussie architect has a unique and thoughtful approach to design, and should be watched closely by all those interested in quality, green, and seemingly low-cost buildings.
Here we have the Tattoo House - an addition to an existing 3 bedroom home in Fitzroy North [a suburb of Melbourne] providing the current residents with new living and kitchen space, opening onto a new deck.
[Image: Close-up of the house’s ‘tattoo’ and the shadows it creates]
Many of the design decisions behind the Tattoo House were based on the budget, along with local building requirements - truly using the project’s restrictions to drive the design. The addition is therefore simple square - where each element serves multiple functions for ‘maximum return’. More design for your buck.
[Image: View of the kitchen - in particular the counter in the back as it becomes the landing for the stairs to the second level]
The new kitchen, located on the ground floor, is an open plan with large sliding glass panels that allow the space to be opened to the outside - merging with the deck to form an even larger interior/exterior room, which is accentuated by the double-height area created along the exterior wall.
[Image: View of kitchen/dining area’s double height space, which opens onto the deck]
Above, on the second level, a new family room overlooks the kitchen’s double height space and is given a nice level of privacy by the house’s ‘tattoo’ - UV stable stickers in the form of tree supergraphics, based on images of trees from a local park. More than a simple decoration, the tree graphic is a response to the local building council requiring that the second storey spaces be at 75% opacity. The solution screens the inside - eliminating the need for curtains, reflects heat and glare away from the expansive windows - controlling solar heat gain, and [last but definitely not least] creates an incredible play of light + shadow on the additions interior surface. Pretty siiick.
[Image: View showing kitchen opening onto exterior deck, forming a new, large open space]
We’re kicking off a new Wednesday feature here on Myninjaplease: Ninja Homes. Each week we’ll be bringing you coverage of some 9th dan level housing - so drop us an email if you know of a project that you think should be featured.
I first came across this project, the Torque House by Mass Studies, in the February issue of Dwell Magazine - who feature a full page image [the shot above] of the home as a ‘house [they] love’ - and I was compelled to find out more. Located in, Gyeonggi-do, Korea, the project is a three-story, 134-pyeong [I’ve learned from Mass Studies that 1 pyeong equals 3.3 square meters - cool to know] house for a family of four.
Deemed ‘irregular’ by the masterplan due to a curve in the nearby road, the site was programed to house a ‘linear’ building by the planners. This was used by Mass Studies as a basis for the home’s slightly curving volume - described as a building reacting to its surrounding environment - creating the ‘torque’.
As sharp stones are worn down by a flowing stream and transformed into pebbles, a rectangular building becomes torqued through the movement of curves.
Other site conditions - nearby houses, vehicular traffic, etc - were factors in creating the fairly large expanse of solid wall [seen below] on two sides of the house, while the building opens up on the others [particularly in the family space - kitchen + living areas], looking out to the surrounding landscape.
One of the most interesting aspects of the house is the ‘green’ wall treatment. For the Torque House, Mass Studies incorporated a ‘moss catch system‘ [basically a panelized wall system covered in moss] at the suggestion of a local landscaping designer, in the hopes of reducing the ‘spartan’ quality of the large bare walls. Additionally, it serves to absorb noise from the street, further insulate the building, and is ‘green’ [does that whole photosynthesis thing]. Imported from Japan by the previously mentioned landscape company [whose name isn’t given by Mass Studies, oddly], the house is the first building to employ the system - a type of geotextile that has been used to improve the aesthetic quality of roadside retaining walls - in this way.
The product, manufactured by mixing two types of mosses that grow well on both south and north sides, was perfect for applying to this building, and currently sprouts of the mosses are gradually growing on its walls, making it a "synthetic mass" with multiple functions as part of the landscape in Heyri Art Valley.
The project combines working space for both husband and wife [a classical music recording engineer and painter, respectively] with the private living space needed by a small family. Both the atelier for the wife/artist, and the studio for the husband/recording engineer required a level of privacy that was achieved with the previously mentioned long, predominantly solid walls. On the interior, spaces are also separated by private vs public - situating the staircase to allow for visitors going up to the third floor recording studio without disturbing the family’s privacy.
Lastly, we’ve got what I thought was a pretty siiick staircase leading up to a roof terrace, playing on the ‘torque’ of the building. The bend in the concrete wall [image above] to form a ceiling over the stairs offers an interesting frame for a view of the sky while walking up the stairs - while the ‘window’ cut through this wall emphasizes the in-between quality of this space -not in, not out.