Here is another custom home design by the Australian Architecture firm, URZ-SANBY Architects. This one is in the Kangaroo Valley and follows the same in door out door concept of their other designs. The entire house opens up to become part of the environment.
The brief was to build a simple weekend retreat that would respond to the local climate, the immediate site and the surrounding landscape. The site is 65 hectares, located in Kangaroo Valley, and is surrounded by steep sandstone escarpments to the south and views down the valley to the North. There were no existing services on the site.
The decision to make the house entirely self-sufficient, was made early in the project as a means of controlling the budget. This then drove the design process, toward a well considered environmental response in terms of form, structure and materials and led to a new exploration of sustainable systems and technologies for our practice.
Are you over my Portland Post? Well, dig in, because yes, here is yet another example of G Living Portland Style. The PBS series, voiced over by Brad Pitt e², has featured Portland as a city designed to the human scale. Meaning a city which has been built to give you a sense of place. You are able to walk across a street without getting killed, or feeling like an alien amongst the 6 lanes of cars. Just simple old school European village concepts re-shaped for the modern over crowded world we live in now. I know here in L.A. my favorite spots are Main Street Venice/Santa Monica and 3rd Street in Santa Monica, just because of the restrictions on cars. Get rid of the cars and all of the sudden a city feels so much better. You can actually hear birds, trees, and the person next to you. Shocking I know.
I have always thought Venice should ban all cars and have a simple Light Rail system and expanding of the Canals. It would become the most prized place to live in L.A. They could setup parking garages in key locations to all the tourist and residence. If they did something like that, I might even stay in L.A.
Here is a pretty special outdoor living style home down under, Kangaroo Valley House by Alexander Michael.
From the Architect
“There are primarily two parts to this building, one being the main living area, the other being the two individual bedrooms separated from the main building by a semi-covered walkway. As this was a weekender, I wanted it to feel like one, and so the walk outside to get to the bedrooms gives it a kind of resort atmosphere, as well as doubling as an escape from the bustle of the living area.
The Living area is basically a simple rectangular space with a polished concrete floor, eighty percent enclosed by retractable glass walls, and single-span composite timber beams supporting the sub-roof ceiling. At twenty meters long, by seven meters wide, there is no internal structure, the only division being the Utility Pod bringing the services up through the concrete slab to the kitchen, WC, laundry, and media room. Like a house of cards, the entire pod is fabricated from structural fibrous cement sheet, only held together by exposed galvanised steel braces. The Pod stops well short of the ceiling to allow for visual flow-through. Like the Pod, I’ve used the same material to sheet all of the exterior walls as well as the top of the sub-roof. In its raw state, fibrous cement sheet is a wonderful, but under-utilised and misunderstood material, thanks mostly to its infamous predecessor, asbestos sheeting. Covering all of this like a giant sun-shade, is a primary roof structure of galvanised steel supported by twelve massive timber columns, four of which stand in the twenty-seven meter long reflection pond. It is this roof that supports the sub-roof by four fine steel rods, allowing three sides of the living area to be opened to the landscape.”
Could you ever imagine being envious of people who live in Shipping Containers? Well, now you can, because the Cove Park project is just that good. A dreamy water side home complete with a grass roof.
Cove Park is a centre for established artists situated on the west coast of Scotland in 50 acres of spectacular countryside.
In 2002, Container City created three en-suite accommodation units (known as ‘cubes’) to act as artist retreats. In order to blend into the rural surroundings sliding glass doors were installed that lead out onto the decked balcony that extends over a lake with beautiful views of Loch Long.
Due to the success of the first three units, three more have been commissioned and are due for completion in June 2006.
Cove Park is situated on a 50-acre site overlooking Loch Long on the Rosneath peninsula. Located on the fringes of the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park, the peninsula is an area of outstanding natural beauty.
The Yellow Treehouse Treehugging Restaurant, was built for a reality tv show. The concept behind the show was that everything used to build this Treehouse Restaurant had be acquired by using the Yellow Page Listings.
The concept is driven by the ‘enchanted’ site which is raised above an open meadow and meandering stream on the edge of the woods.
The tree-house concept is reminiscent of childhood dreams and playtime, fairy stories of enchantment and imagination . It’s inspired through many forms found in nature -the chrysalis/cocoon protecting the emerging butterfly/moth, perhaps an onion/garlic clove form hung out to dry. It is also seen as a lantern, a beacon at night that simply glows yet during the day it might be a semi camouflaged growth, or a tree fort that provides an outlook and that offers refuge.The plan form also has loose similarities to a sea shell with the open ends spiralling to the centre .
It’s the treehouse we all dreamed of as children but could only do as an adult fantasy.
Access is via a 60m tree-top ‘accessible’ walkway –an adventure in itself.
The selected site and tree had to meet a myriad of functional requirements -18 seated people and waiting staff in relative comfort complete with a bar; gaining correct camera angles with associated light qualities for filming the adverts, web cam and stills, have unobstructed views into the valley and entrance to the site and structural soundness . The final selected tree is one of the larger trees on the site and sits above a steep part of the site which accentuates the tree’s height. Kitchen/catering facilities and toilets are at ground level.
The Architectural component embodies a simple oval form wrapped ‘organically’ around the trunk and structurally tied at top and bottom, with a circular plan that is split apart on the axis with the rear floor portion raised. This allows the approach from the rear via a playful tree-top walkway experience, slipping inside the exposed face of the pod and being enchanted by the juxtaposition of being in an enclosed space that is also quite ‘open’ and permeable to the treetop views. There is also a ‘Juliet’ deck opposite the entrance that looks down the valley.
The scale and form of the tree-house creates a memorable statement without dominating its setting. While its natural ‘organic’ form sits comfortably, the rhythm of the various materials retains its strong architectural statement. The verticality of the fins mimics the verticality of the redwoods and enable the building to naturally ‘blend’ into its setting, as though it were a natural growth.
We are always on the look out for good container home designs and this isn’t one of them. Okay it is a student project, but come on, this is pretty getto compared to what other architects and designers have done with shipping containers. We are only posting it to contrast the good from the bad.
The project is by Chrissie Beavis, a student at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, California. Looks like she created the design way back in 2004, so maybe she has fine tuned her container designs by now. We couldn’t find any updates or new design by Chrissie, so maybe this was a one off for her.
Chrissie says: “The final product will be a home that is approx 250 sq.ft. It will be just as mobile as the standard shipping container (truck, train, ship). Any standard container can be turned into a home with this design. Thus it has the potential to possibly provide disaster relief housing while putting to use the surplus of containers in the world. It also has the potential to be used in many applications from an upscale guest house to migrant worker housing. The home can be extruded from the container in less than five minutes by one person, and has the option of being fully furnished (major appliances included).”
Another Architect tries out using shipping containers as building blocks for new home construction. This one is in Victoria BC and the home uses both containers and traditional building technics in the construction. The cost of the home with upgraded appliances is coming in under $180 per sq ft, which the Architect says is good for that part of Canada and he expects the next few buildings he designs will come down in cost. Continue Reading / See Additional Photos
The Maurer Residence by Allen+Maurer Architects. No tree was cut, no rock was blasted, no contours remodelled. 4 small buildings surrounded by existing trees form a private, tranquill garden. The simple shed roofs flow with the land toward a splendid view of Okanagan Lake.
“Form-Follows-Physics” guided the design: simple roofs, no roof intersections, large overhangs, good ventilation, finishes that are durable and appropriate to the climate: tile flooring, metal cladding and -roofing, state-of-the-art Low-E glazing.
Placement of buildings, roof overhangs, existing mature trees, performance of glazing product, thermal mass of concrete slab and tile flooring, all reduce heat gain in summer and made air conditioning unnecessary.
Want to see what a Prefab Weehouse actually looks like when its completed on site. Here is one by Alchemy Architect in Honesdale, Pennsylvania. Weehouse are purchased by picking out a few modules and fitting them together like giant legos.
This 2,200SF 3BR retreat home consists of a larger main unit accommodating most daily activities and a smaller sleeping tower. Both units are connected by an elevated patio bridge component. The main unit’s upper level is designed to allow for numerous vista points and provides an almost complete immersion into the spectacular setting of the heavily wooded site.
Bercy Chen Studio: Our concept revolved around the notions of recycling a building, reusing natural and manmade resources and reclaiming the ancient ideal that buildings can and should be sacred places, especially the home.
The project began as a modest remodel, but turned into a full master-planning for the site; including complete interior and exterior recycle, an addition to an existing 1970’s home, as well as re-organization of the garden. As the original house was poorly sited, a large motivation of the design was to reconnect the house with its site by utilizing the steep topography to capture the expansive views.
One goal was to integrate the architecture with the native garden and creek at the bottom of the property. To fully enjoy the reclaimed views, the house is wrapped by exterior decks with glass railings. The inspiration is kiyomizu temple in kyoto, japan, (founded 7th century a.d.) which sits above the landscape and provides panoramic views of the city.
Shipping Container homes are really starting to go mainstream, when the History Channel jumps on the bandwagon. Here is a clip for the show Modern Marvels. The show features two projects we have covered here on G Living in the past. Container City in London and the Aussie Shack Container. The London project is the “G’er” of the two and is something we wouldn’t mind housing out studios in. Continue Reading / See Additional Photos
One of my goals in the next few years is to build a new headquarters for G Living just outside of Portland Oregon. The idea in my head is something made out of shipping containers, that doesn’t look like shipping containers. Basically only using the steel beams to create a very airy building which becomes part of the landscape. Something like this place.
Description by UTZ-SANBY Architects
This new house is on a steep sloping block, facing due East toward Pittwater. The decision to locate the house at the top of the slope toward the rear of the block was made with the clients, early in the design phase, to ensure that the house took best advantage of the views, privacy and natural vegetation on the site.
The house sits amongst the trees and is supported on a series of concrete piles with treelike steel supports. The house has a simple linear plan and is softened by the addition of timber decks that meet the ground at the back of the house. The curved steel beams that frame the decks and floor plate, are reminiscent of a ships prow and hover above the ground. An angled steel stair leads to the front door, which is painted a bright red, in contrast to the lush green landscape.