Croft House

Along the South coast of Victoria near Inverloch, Australia the geography turns away from the prevailing wind.  Croft House forms a protected garden from which peripheral vision of the sea and sky is permitted by tapered facades.

Architect James Stockwell looks at the core idea of shelter in an exposed environment, designing the shelter to contain all the necessary activities of domestic life in an un-compromised way. The activities are enhanced by participating in the whole, and each yields to the other to a much greater extent.  It is shielding, robust and embracing.

It sets out primarily to achieve the expectations of the owners.  The structure has been adopted by the local community as a contemporary but contextual solution for its prominent location.  it reinforces the language of the rural context of corrugated iron and purposefulness and has been widely embraced.

The small material pallet of grey metal and concrete blends with the muted shale geology.  The protective exterior is warmed internally by compressed sand thermal mass walls as a fragment of distant sand dunes.  the interior structure and joinery is of Vic ash timber and wet areas in bluestone, all Victorian supplied.

The form of the house distorts mathematical and structural curves to achieve form.  The adopted geometry and composition of three sine curves means details are achievable with 2 dimensional radii.  Both concave and convex roof surfaces are 2 dimensional planes and constructed from conventional battens and rafters and corrugated metal.  Softwood scissors trusses were erected in 2 days on 'in plan' arch ring beams of laminated timber braced by the remnant buttresses.  Laminated timber beams most aptly suited the formation of the sine curve form of the building courtyard shape, the natural curve of material ductility.

Casa CorManca

Casa CorManca, located in Mexico City, Mexico was designed by Paul Cremoux.  Completed in 2013, the home rests on a 39ft by 42ft plot of land. the monolithic volume is transformed in order to attain luminous indoor spaces.  Slate stone at the exterior facades is contrasted with the soft beech wood finish, achieving great definition and special discovery.  The construction rises three stories out of the small plot of land looking south to the vertical vegetation garden wall.  The main patio was placed on the second level, followed by a small lecture studio.

The designers intent was to transform radically the notion of "open green patio" due to a lack of space to ensure a ground courtyard.  Vegetation in this case was not only viewed as a practical temperature-humidity comfort control device, or as a beautiful energetic view, but also as an element that functions as a light curtain, accomplishing the idea of a dramatic plane, where more space is to be found at the back.

House Within a Warehouse

Located in Hawthorn, Australia and designed by Splinter Society,  'House Within a Warehouse' is a new dwelling in an old warehouse shell designed to be a garden oasis.  Both architect and client strongly believe in compact urbanism, combined with green spaces and a sustainable approach to living, as part of a happier way of life.  The client brief asked for a highly sustainable house, executed in a clean and contemporary way and a 'warehouse feel', minus the cliches of industrial off-the shelf purchases.

The strategy to meet the brief and concept involved creating a layered system of screens and frames that split the site and lift the living spaces of the house, creating views to green spaces and established gardens beyond.  The site was a 200m2 landlocked warehouse, built to all boundaries and entered via a new residential development.  Its a dense inner urban setting, where the design solution allows the notion of 'interior' to extend beyond the infill, to the periphery of the warehouse walls, inviting the outside in.

The 'interior', a considered reassembly of parts from the existing warehouse, creates an aesthetic of texture and warmth referencing the property's historical context.  This new form steps back over three levels of built form, using the existing three storey wall to the south as one of its skins, for functional, aesthetic and sustainable qualities.  This stepping form creates four levels of green space, with roofs of spaces below forming gardens for both thermal performance and the inclusion of greenery.  Main living spaces are placed on level 1, capturing views, sun and neighboring greenery.

Functionally, the client brief asked for a sustainable, budget conscious house with clear zoning to raise young children and entertain.  The result is a house with 3 bedrooms, 2 living spaces and a study, split across three levels.  The internal floor area is 195m2, with 100m2 of outdoor built areas.  Semi open plan living spaces are contained on the first floor, where they are elevated for views over boundary walls opening onto outdoor spaces, whilst maintaining privacy from neighbors.  The zoning and layering of spaces assists in thermal performance, thereby satisfying the clients desire for a low energy house.


Flip House

The designers challenge was to reconect an erratic San Francisco home to its striking landscape, light, and views and transform its confusing program with a new modernist aesthetic.  Designers at Fougeron Architecture reinvented its typography, capturing all advantages of its natural and urban site by completely flipping the home's facade and interior spaces.

Like many San Francisco homes, this one poorly integrated its many levels with each other and with its sloping topography and solar orientation.  Reversing its reading, designers recast the back of the house as its main facade with a faceted custom-built glass wall.  Divided into three vertical panels that push in and out, this dynamic prism begins animating light and spectacular views to the communal living spaces, now placed at the rear.  Bedrooms were flipped to the front.

They also rationalized the circulation, replacing disconnected staircases with one rear stair that smoothly links all three levels and the garden below.  The street-level entry now leads to a generous foyer that is open to this staircase and to a guest room/den.  The open plan of the second floor allows the kitchen and living room space to look down into this den and outward to the striking city, bay, and garden vista beyond.

CH2 Melbourne City Council House

The Council House 2 (CH2) office building designed by DesignInc, was designed in collaboration with the city of Melbourne to be a holistic system with its occupants as participants.  The design follows a model that promotes a more interactive role between the city and nature, in which all parties depend on each other.

The City of Melbourne aims to achieve zero emissions for the municipality by 2020.  A major contribution to this strategy is the reduction in energy consumption of commercial buildings by 50%.  CH2 was piloted in an effort to provide a working example for the local development market.  the brief required a building that as far as possible relied on passive energy systems while producing a premium grade building.

It was the first new commercial office building in Australia to meet and exceed the six star rating system administered by the Green Building Council of Australia.  Equally important to its environmental features is that it provides 100% fresh air to all occupants with one complete air change every hour.  The benefits of superior indoor air quality and conservative  estimates on energy costs will see the building pay for all its innovation within five to ten years.