Bringing a bit of the Wild, Wild West to Albuquerque’s West Mesa, the Mesa House by architect Antoine Predock embraces its surroundings – the sand, the sun, the dusty orange horizon – and brings elements of the environment into its architecture and interior style. A grand stairway leads visitors up to the sheltered courtyard, providing a warm welcome to this contemporary desert house. This modern design boasts a three-tiered vertical floor plan, which leads you from the ground-level garage, through to the raised living area, and up to the master suite topping this stylish abode. Interiors echo with a warm, rustic aesthetic, where comfort is king. An oddly urban fireplace – simple, geometric and very minimalist – becomes a natural focal point for lounging and storytelling. Bi-level terraces extent living space to the outdoors, perfect for entertaining or stealing a moment along with the sunset. Antoine Predock Architect.
Shaped like a canoe and indicative of what "u can do" for the environment, the Canuhome prefabricated house design offers peek into the future of sustainable home building. The 850-sq.-ft. traveling exhibit includes a kitchen, dining room, living room, bathroom and bedroom, all designed and built with eco-friendly features for urban living. The futuristic design is brought to you by a partnership between Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), George Brown College's Institute Without Boundaries (IwB) and the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), among others. Architecture by IwB incorporates eco initiatives like CMHC’s Equilibrium, HealthyHousing and Flexhousing initiatives; Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified wood products; and adheres to stringent LEED standards. The result is a feasible housing option that’s adaptable and cost-efficient, with improved indoor air and environment quality, and reduced consumption of energy, water and resources. The model aims to illustrate that sustainable living doesn’t have to compromise on fashion or function. Canuhome.
For a taste of modern residential architecture with a twist, Dupli.Casa in Ludwigsburg, Germany, is the contemporary design for you. Originally built in 1984, modern architect Jurgen Mayer H revised and renewed the “twisted” footprint for this gorgeous futuristic villa. Unique about this contemporary architecture is its unlikely, yet completely logical source of inspiration. According to the architect, “The new building echoes the ‘family archeology’ by duplication and rotation.” The layering of levels and living spaces results is a semi-public interior space sandwiched between upper and lower private areas. The imaginative floor plan also allows for easy integration of outdoor living into interior living areas via a series of terraces and patios. Jurgen Mayer H
The contemporary Hill House rises as a shard among the rocks of this Los Angeles, California hillside. Enjoying picture-perfect views of Santa Monica Canyon, this modern home designed by Johnston Marklee Architects boasts a bold shape that cooperates with the complex landscape, with stunning results. Set on an irregular, uneven and steeply sloped plot of land, the architect developed an equally irregular house with an obscure roofline and oblique walls, all in white except for the deep-set windows stretching across the facade. The wide windows frame the breathtaking views, while flooding interiors with natural light, revealing a modern, minimalist style. Living areas are predominantly white, with cool stone playing against warm woods in rich finishes. A cool upper loft area, enclosed in a barely-there glass balcony, overlooks the open-concept living area below, and beyond that, the lush valley is visible from virtually any angle in the home. Johnston Marklee Architects
Beautifully blending architecture with nature, this contemporary house by Marc Koehler Architects was designed as a vertical garden in a concrete jungle. The house in IJburg, Amsterdam, features various spaces seemingly “carved out” from a “monolithic sculptural mass” in a series of open and private spaces, as described by the architect, which unifies all elements of this contemporary design – the exterior, interior, and of course, the unique vertical garden and large rooftop terrace. The facade incorporates brick work for visual interest as well as to accommodate growing greenery. Interiors are bright with natural light. The contemporary layout features a main floor housing three bedrooms, a bathroom, a powder room and a large multi-purpose space. Upstairs, a kitchen, dining area and large living area offer views of the surrounding city and garden just outside the expansive windows. Marc Koehler Architects.
Japanese Architect Koji Tsutsui has designed this modern house in Tokyo, Japan, for an industrial designer, with a distinctly industrial edge. At the outset, it was required that the house work with the client’s own sentiments towards the fashion and function of design. In addition, the list of must-haves included a studio that opens to the outdoors; a study with a view of the car; a separate guest wing; and a living area that would also act as a showroom for the would-be homeowner’s industrial art. And thus aptly named Industrial Design House was planned with a living/dining area and gallery at its core, featuring a bare white backdrop and tall ceilings that invite the flood of natural light. The remainder of the house is much of the same, with bright, spacious rooms with a modern, minimalist appeal. Each room provides its own individual feel and function, but they are all interwoven via the basic elements of architecture – “floor, wall, ceiling, stairs, void and openings,” according to Best House Design. Koji Tsutsui Architect & Associates
via Best House Design
Like an animal adapts to its environment, so too does this modern repurposed rail carriage on Dungeness Beach in Kent, UK. Designed by architect Simon Conder, El Ray is a modern home designed to both blend into its sandy surroundings and weather their storms. The two-bedroom house is a restoration and reformation of a railway carriage circa 1890 sits at the heart of the home, now transformed into the home’s main hub – the kitchen. A sloping roof invites visitors to revel in the breathtaking view that is the sea. One elevation takes on a semi-circular form, while facing south is a fully-glazed facade overlooks the Channel. The architect used FSC-certified wood where possible, making it a sustainable choice. Adding to the eco-friendly appeal, this modern house design also incorporates passive solar power, cross ventilation and wind turbines as a source of natural heating, cooling and off-the-grid power. Simon Conder.
Read the full article by Graham Bizley for Building Design magazine.
Osler modern house, located in Brasilia, Brazil, is a 2,906-sq.-ft. balancing act of earth, wind and water. Architect Marcio Kogan precariously perched an airy, glass-enclosed volume perpendicularly atop a natural wood-clad base, and stretching across a luxurious lap pool below. The deck surrounding the pool echoes the richly finished wood panels that cover the main level and slide apart to reveal some strategically placed windows and doorways. A warm glow invites visitors into cozy yet clean and contemporary interiors – simple and down to the detail. A modern floating wooden staircase climbs up the wall and leads to the upper glass level, where the panoramic views of the rooftop patio, the sprawling 8,578-sq.-ft. grounds and the horizon beyond, are the center of attention. Marcio Kogan
via Arch Daily
When it comes to artistic impressions, this is one case where it’s really hip to be square. The Natural Cube House by Japanese architects Endoh Design boasts a unique facade of reinforced concrete on a 2,900-sq.-ft. site. The basic cube shape is enhanced with modern steel panels and uniquely uneven walls that create windows in a most nontraditional and unexpected way. As expected from the exterior design, the home’s interior continues on a path of modern minimalism, almost clinical with its white-on-white palette that’s colored only by bold blasts of orange on the ceiling and walls. A barely-there exterior accent, the irregular walls create a contemporary focal point of the interiors, casting an artistic light treatment that flows in through the slits in the walls. Endoh Design.
One look at this Thai Beach House, the Samujana Villas, and you’ll know you’re home. This collection of 26 exotic, private island homes on Thailand Koh Samui is inspired by the luxurious resort lifestyle most only dream about. Overlooking the beach about 300 ft. below, Gfab Architects has designed these contemporary cliff-top villas with each approximately 4,843 sq. ft. of living space that blends the indoor and outdoors seamlessly. The elevations boast a tiered plan integrating sliding glass walls than open onto sun-soaked decks off of each floor. A “top down” entrance opens the home’s foyer to the outdoors, while transforming the rooftop reflecting pool into an infinity pool. Inside, four bedrooms, indulgent ensuites and an overall laid-back island attitude are key. Interiors are designed as contemporary, cool lounging areas that, like the infinity pools above, seem to hang over the edge endlessly. Gfab Architects
Built using traditional techniques with a modern slant on architecture, Gianni Botsford of GB Architects built this spectacular beachfront home for his father, a writer with an eclectic taste for fine details and finishes. The contemporary house in Cahuita, Costa Rica, boasts no vertical walls to uphold its prominent roof, creating a unique silhouette among the trees. Beneath the roof, the main living space is a large library housing one floor-to-ceiling wall of built-in bookshelves and another of glass. Books, a writing desk and a grand piano fill this inspiring space. An outdoor walkway leads into another pavilion that houses the sleeping and bathing quarters. GB Architects
via Arch Daily
An experiment in the integration of nature and architecture, this ultra-modern penthouse yields some stylish results. In the hands of a couple of innovative Yale professors – architect Joel Sanders and landscape architect Diana Balmori – the 3,100-sq.-ft. suite in Lower Manhattan boasts a spectacular rooftop garden (complete with an outdoor shower) that blankets a set of stairs leading inside. But nature doesn’t stop at the front door – interiors are brimming with lush plantings and an impressive irrigation system. The master bathroom showcases 50 sq. ft. of vertical plantings that conceal drip irrigation tubes, transforming the design into a living, breathing environment. Warm, natural woods finish the modern interiors – a naturally perfect complement to the lush plants both inside and out.
For details visit The New York Times
From the pages of building and architecture website BD, London, this modern residential design is a tree house by all accounts – built from trees, built among trees. With an £800,000 grant to construct in a conservation area of west Beaminster, Dorset UK, Western Design Architects have planned this sustainable home with recycled timber, a Green roof and a ground-source heat pump. The contemporary 3,875-sq.-ft. house is comprised of three pods, each approximately five ft. off the ground. And while these pods are not actually secured to the trees that dot the surrounding landscape, the magnificent oaks will pierce through the terraces of the home. "While not physically bolted to the surrounding oak trees which are protected by a tree preservation order, the oaks will penetrate each terrace so 'you can hug a tree if you want to,'" according to the architect, reports BD. Inside, the main pod houses the kitchen, dining and living areas, and is connected to the neighboring two pods which accommodate the bedrooms. The start for construction is slated for spring 2009. Western Design Architects
Read more on BD - Building Design, London
photo credit: BD
The Arizona desert is a hotspot for modern architecture. Dialogue House, designed by Wendell Burnette Architects, offers a unique balance of light, materials, styles and volumes facing opposite directions. The lower level of the home features the main living areas, and faces towards downtown Phoenix. Perched atop the main level, the upper volume of this contemporary home boasts a work studio and occupies the north-west corner of the property. After sunset, this upper level of the home appears as a floating box of light. This modern oasis in the desert includes a luxurious pool and an enclosed outdoor living area. On the other side of the floor-to-ceiling windows, the grand living spaces include all the usual suspects plus a den, three bedrooms and a loft-like master suite. Wendell Burnette Architects
The luxurious Mill House by architect Gert Wingardh is a gleaming gem of glass and wood, hidden quietly in its rural setting of Southern Sweden. In true Swedish tradition, this rustic yet refined design is “a manifestation of the ritual of sauna and sunbathing,” according to the architect – an age-old practice so loved, that the designer was compelled to incorporate living space into the spa-inspired structure. Enclosed in floor-to-ceiling glass with extensive woodwork both inside and out, the home boasts a warm appeal when regarded from the inside and out, and is surrounded by a cool pool for dipping after a good, hot steam. Gert Wingardh
via Best House Design
photos: James Silverman