Apparatus Architecture - Lawrence Residence

Apparatus Architecture
Lawrence Residence

The H shape provides an ideal layout for houses, as discussed in my post about Michelle Kauffmann’s Breeze house. Apparatus Architects have a fine H here with dining and kitchen in one wing and then a living area connecting to the bedrooms and study in the other. I’m sure my wife would be well into the traditional crisscross glazed doors and sloped roof, something a lot of the houses I enjoy lack. On a plus side, each room opens to either the front or back courtyard and the kitchen’s back door lead out to a sheltered courtyard for breakfast and the BBQ (unfortunately gas).

The earth construction also appeals to me, not the exposed beams of the roof, but the solidity of the foot plus thick walls and the permanent feel of the structure. Not a classical Rammed Earth structure, this build uses PISE, stabilised earth construction, which is just with a little cement added to hold it together. This house would definitely store heat in the floors and walls. Topping off the thick walls, the rear pond and front courtyard pool would help regulate temperatures in summer.

The colours also work. The subtle shades on the roof, the earthy brown walls that reflect the surrounding colours are complemented by the simply varnished timber doorframes and windowsills. The bathroom also has a unique draining system with black pebbles surrounding wooden platforms, a classy contrast, although probably hard to maintain.


Andrew Lister - Hughes Kinugawa House

Andrew Lister
Hughes Kinugawa House

Overlooking an estuary in Waterview, Auckland, New Zealand, this house has great northern views out over the bay. Like its owners, a wonderful blend of Japanese and New Zealand culture the house sings compact Japanese simplicity with a green Kiwi bach twist. Inconspicuously blending in with the surrounding garden of imported succulents, cacti and mature local trees, the raw cedar weatherboards are a greener take on the vernacular white weatherboard planks common throughout NZ.

The house consists of two cubes, connected by a wide corridor housing the bathroom and toilet. The bigger brother of the two cubes holding: the eat-in kitchen, living come library and a guest loft above. Double height windows bathe the living area with light, complementing the dark bookshelves and making an optimum reading nook for the couple, which are obviously book fanatics. This part of the house, designed for guests and entertaining has a slightly more Kiwi feel about it. Logically, due to size the kitchen and library are really for intimate guests only, but the large deck area would help host bigger summer parties.
Descending the stairs of the corridor, a deep traditional Ofuro, shower and separate toilet, are passed on the left. The door-less corridor has decorative Japanese prints hanging from the ceiling that tactfully block views into the master bedroom should the door be left open. The bedroom wing has a far more Japanese influence. The modernistic twist though, is that rather than the floor being Tatami mats throughout, the bed has been framed with them. This room also opens out onto the north facing deck and has east facing windows to catch the morning sun.

This is one of the outtakes of my Pacific Modern reading and I think a fine example of a Kiwi bach type house that would work very well as accommodation for parents.


Miguel Angel Roca - Casa Calamuchita

Miguel Angel Roca
Casa Calamuchita

In the main focal area of the house Miguel has created the ideal open plan living area for a weekend retreat. It's multi purpose, acting as a kitchen, dining and guest bunk area for busy weekends. The central open-planned-ness can be closed up by shutters and still has a feeling of intimacy/security with the solid stone structures in each corner. These pillars house the kitchen, bathroom and service areas (being a pantry and cellar, as all good Argentinean houses should with their fine Cab. Sav.s about).

So it's a house full of intimate nooks, an open plan area that can be both breeze filled open dining and living area, created with vernacular materials in a modern way forming a house that fits with its environment and its purpose as a weekend retreat.

Behind the open structure of the living room is a tower, wrapped in a glass encased staircase. The staircase runs around the outside, allowing views to all 4 directions as one circulates. I guess, allowing the owner to check on things as he heads up to bed and that things are in order for the day as he decends for breakfast. This means the inner structure can be more sincere with each floor set for its purpose housing: a study, bedroom and viewing platform on the top floor.

My wishes/thoughts for a similar house: -

The flat roof lends itself to a modern green or solar roof and the layout north-south will provide a lot of passive solar heating. I can also see the stone areas regulating the temperature of those large glass enclosed spaces, but remember the shutters can protect the area slightly.

If only he had created larger corner units and housed bedrooms in these. This would give everyone the sense of living in their own little cabin (protected stone cave), yet still being connected to a central gathering area.

Or one step further, to provide a sound buffer, separate the bedrooms out from the main structure in a series of covered pathways. But then again, that's me thinking of a family size house, this here works fantastic as a couples retreat where the family comes and stays on the odd occasion. And the tower gives them that split between repose and recreation.

Images follow

From Miguel's website - Notes on the project that I've translated.

The Valley of Calamuchita is a calm landscape of fields cultivated between two parallel mountain ranges. The fields lie east to west between the skirts of the great mountain ranges and the skirts of the small mountain ranges. The fields for a tapestry between mountain walls and in the case of my field, between rows of trees. The house is elevated on the hill with a smooth slope that falls towards the Valley.
The house is a transparent glass pavilion with the North - South axis parallel to the valley like a cultural reference to the natural fact. The glass box, between four stones that enclose the services, is a space fluid in its unitary interior sometimes dining sometimes an additional sleeping area. For climatic reasons of cold winters and fresh nights, and the altitude of the place, the glass box this surrounded in a wood box. This box of sliding shutters allows small or large openings providing variable dimensions and sensations of privacy or openness.
This unit completes and complements with a tower of study, bedrooms and viewing platform, that alludes to the vertical axis of the mountain. A glass enclosed stairwell spirals around the outside of the building, allowing all 4 aspects of the surroundings to be taken in as one passes from level to level. At the top you arrive at the terrace viewpoint that allows, like in each level, extended lines of vision towards the Valley. By day the living area, surrounded by the service blocks, mimics the valley, at night the tower recreates the mountain. At night I escape to the safety of the mountain tower, returning at dawn to the living area and valley.


Undurraga Devés - Lakeside House

Undurraga Devés
Lakeside House

Located on the Colico Lake in the IX Región of Chile, in fantastic surroundings, this weekend retreat grounds itself through a solid stone wall at the rear. Glass boxes protrude forward from the stone enclosure into the trees and scenery. I think the most appealing part of this house, for me, is the fact that all the service areas are tied up in the solid stone area leading to efficiencies in piping and plumbing. So apart from electricity, only glass and structural steel are required outside the stone box. Although some bedrooms can be seen from the living areas, you still have to pass through the security of the back area to get to the other rooms, so family members can head off upstairs to sleep, whilst others entertain or just admire the views. The master bedroom, located on the top floor, is separate from the rest of the house and unlike the other rooms sits above the treetops for a commanding view.

The solid heavy rear stone area, allows the glass boxes to cantilever out with minimal support at the far ends, meaning that the trees, scrubs, water and fauna can pass around the building's relatively small footprint (this is a 6 bedroom house by the way).

Thinking of the large dinner table and Chilean extended family eating marathons makes me slightly nostalgic, of fine wine and thick steaks, lakeside, on a warm Chilean summer's evening. Having lived a year in Concepción, VIII Región, Chile, north of the lake region and closer to regulating sea breezes, I can't help but think of heating/cooling all that glassed area. But hey, it sure is a way to admire the views, and what a house to do it from!


Winfried Heinze photograph

Winfried started doing fashion and beauty photographs then he started adding Lifestyle/interiors & food shoots. Some of his clients are Elle Decoration, Living etc and many others.

Hurray... I won the Baggu Bag contest at Coco Kelly. One of my daily read Blogs.

Outdoor spaces


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