The Dune house looks half-buried in the earth, a striking sight on the island of Terschelling in the Netherlands. The unusual design comes courtesy of Marc Koehler Architects, and its diamond shape delivers a most unsual perspective of the surrounding plains and the distant North Sea.
Inside the home you’ll find a layout that mimicks the name, creating a sense of wandering a dune as you traverse the various levels. Regardless of where you are, plenty of windows illuminate the shapes and angles inside with a dazzling light. A variety of sustainable elements went into the build, including prefab wood, solar panels, and a biomass fireplace.
Some of the most emotionally visceral architectural achievements are a result of a properly handled adaptive re-use. Blending the old with the new is a delicate exercise in restraint and creativity. So when one comes around that achieves such a sought-after level of success, we feel the obligation to share it with you.
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Wespi de Meuron Romeo Architects renovated this ancient stone building, which has long-since resided in a historic and picturesque Swiss village. The rustic, monolithic shell provided an apt base of inspiration for the architect to draw upon when designing the interiors and carving openings into its facades. Although there is much that is new, contemporary and modern to be found inside, you are never far removed from the history that exists in what remains of the stone ruins.
This project shows us the importance of our history, and to take the time to appreciate where we’ve come from as we move to where we are going.
We know not to judge a book by its cover, or in this case a home by its exterior. This 200-year-old stone house in Linescio, Switzerland certainly proves that better than most anything we’ve seen. Even as you walk around the outside and see the crumbling stone walls right in front of your face, you’d have a hard time believing it was recently renovated. That’s because it was only renovated on the inside.
Buchner Bründler Architekten completed this unique restoration that basically involved building a home within a home. They left the exterior more or less untouched, and built a fresh interior shell using a minimalist design approach. While the outside still retains the rugged stones that made up the original walls, the inside now has fresh concrete surfaces and modern finishes throughout. Each concrete slab was carefully brought inside and assembled; tall wood shutters fold open to reveal the original window frames, a new bathtub was sunk into the concrete floor, and a single slab was used for the kitchen counter.
This stark, utilitarian home in Nakana, Tokyo gets its geometric namesake from the angle it takes to the adjacent street: 63.02°. All windows and doors, including the main entry, are concentrated outward from the angled facade that is prominently exposed as if sliced clean like a hot samurai sword through miso.
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The abundance of exposed concrete – both interior and exterior – is common in contemporary Japanese architecture and gives the structure a juxtaposing visual heaviness that is offset by the delicately revealed curtain wall. Interiors are minimal and subdued, drawing further attention to the primary focal point that is the angled facade. The home was designed by Schemata Architecture Office.
Who needs doors, right? That’s exactly what Nat Cheshire of Cheshire Architects said when he designed this pair of isolated structures off the coast of New Zealand. The cabins are completely open air and can be entered via a large square opening that steps you down into the main living area. The interiors are simple and clean, utilizing the warmth of native wood to tie the spaces to the adjacent landscape.
There is modesty and serenity in the way the buildings are anchored to the hillside. A quick glance would make them seem as if they were dark boulders jutting up and out of the grassy plains that carpet the surrounding countryside. They become a part of the iconic terrain rather than fight to visually overpower it. This harmony is echoed by the openness that results from having no doors. Protection might be limited, but the visceral experience is not.
Hong Kong couple Andy and Michelle had a decision to make: should they purchase a larger apartment, or renovate the 309 square foot apartment they already had in a location they both loved? They had a long list of things they wanted that seemed unrealistic in the beginning: a full kitchen and bathroom, home theater, gym, storage, and it had to be cat-friendly (the couple owns three cats: Banoffee, Dumpling, and Tuxedo). – In a stroke of luck, Andy and Michelle stumbled upon design house LAAB, who, after 40 design attempts, came up with a way to make those seemingly-unrealistic requirements a feasible and chic reality.
The team at LAAB ultimately came up with the idea to design the apartment around the “Form Follows Time” philosophy. This philosophy means that various spaces of the apartment, such as the bathtub in the full bathroom, can be opened or closed depending on what space you need whenever you need it. The bathtub can be covered up and used as a couch for the home movie theater, and later on it can be used as a guest bed in the guest bedroom!
Special design elements for Andy and Michelle’s cats include a “cat walk” around the ceiling, a hidden litter box beneath the bathroom sink, cat food trays that can slide into the kitchen cabinets, and even a special den just for them. The materials, details, and mechanical systems were all designed with keeping the apartment dry, cleanable, free of undesirable smells, and all-around cat-friendly. The video below showcases Andy and Michelle, their revitalized apartment, and, of course, their cats.
Swedish architect Leo Qvarsebo has built a geometrically inspired home out of mostly salvaged materials that was initially envisioned as a “tree house for adults.” The triangular shape results in a sloping facade that opens out to Sweden’s county side and even doubles as a recreational climbing wall! On the inside, a series of overlapping spaces create interesting nooks and an abundance of modern charm. Large south-facing openings bring in plenty of light and exploit the sprawling views offered by the landscape.
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The interior boasts finished birch plywood panels that were salvaged from an old puzzle factory, adding to the story of the summer home’s conception and construction. The application of material reinforces the playful character of the form and function of the spaces themselves.
This contemporary manifestation of the iconic pyramid form makes an emphatic statement about the simplicity of an inherently structural architectural expression. Before architects and builders developed building technology to more efficiently battle gravity’s limitations, we relied on literal formal response to those rules. Simply put, the higher you built, the smaller the footprint. The result was the pyramid: a pure geometric form that allowed ancient builders to reach heights never seen before.
This conceptual design from Mexican architect Juan Carlos Ramos pays homage to this classic vernacular while mixing in features that can only be constructed using modern techniques and materials. It’s an interesting dichotomy of old vs. new, telling a story of how far we’ve come as builders. For example, one of the facades is completely transparent, housing a massive triangular glazed opening.
Horizontal and vertical slices are cut into the pyramid, opening up areas for decks, views, and even a car port.
The main living space welcomes an open view to the outside, speaking to the structural and architectural feats we are able to achieve.
As part of a massive neighborhood revitalization project in the Güemes district in the city of Córdoba, Argentina, this funky, open concept brewery was crafted from the shell of an old, broken down police station. What was once home to handcuffed criminals, on-duty patrolmen and stale donuts now serves locals cold, crisp lagers and plenty of interesting sights. The rennovation was led by Guillermo Cacciavillani, cofounder and creative director of Bar Makers.
In the architect’s words: “To transform the neighborhood, making it an engaging place, a living history, is the spirit that is revitalizing an area that for many years was marginalized in the urban scene of the city.” What better what to inject life and vigor into a neglected area than to provide a vibrant social gathering space as functionally appropriate and majestically pulled off as the Capitan Central Brewery?
The beauty in the juxtaposition of old against new is immediately noticeable, giving new life to an old shell.Concrete benches and planters are used to reinforce the starkness of new material that plays on what was once there.Flashes of bright red punctuate interior circulation, both of people and the brewery equipment systems.A wall of delicately detailed windows open the space to an outdoor court, providing the interior with ample natural light.
The courtyard sits adjacent to the massive concrete entry. The grand industrial procession pays homage to the police station that once stood here.
New meets old in this adaptive re-use studio that retains an existing brick ruin, effectively celebrating the structure it now replaces. London based firm Haworth Tomplin’s Studio designed the lofted space that fits neatly into what’s left of the eroded masonry shell. The use of stark exterior matches the brick in color, but otherwise creates a harsh contrast to the ruin in a move that celebrates the site’s history.
Take a step through the front door and that contrast is further highlighted by the fact that everything on the interior is fresh and new. Nothing existing remains; a reminder that the once proud two story structure was no match for the grasp of father time.
The building resides on the grounds of Dovecote Studio campus, an internationally recognized music campus at Snape Maltings. The updated space is used as a practice space for multiple instruments, and even acts as sleeping quarters for a live-in student.
The gabled form pays homage to the original structure’s shape, but with a modern twist, or course. Section drawings show how little of the existing building was able to be salvaged. It’s enough, however, to make an impact that will last another century.