Bergen-based design studio Todd Saunders have completed the Long Studio project. Completed in 2010, the contemporary building can be found on Fogo Island, Newfoundland, Canada.
The Shorefast Foundation and the Fogo Island Arts Corporation commissioned Todd Saunders to design a series of six artists’ studios on various Fogo Island locations. The organisation is committed to preserving the Islanders’ traditions and aims at rejuvenating the island through the arts and culture.
According to the architect: “The solitary, off-the-grid Long Studio, Located near the Newfoundland community of Joe Batt’s Arm hovers on a series of stilts that lifts the structure above the ground to frame a view of the North Atlantic Ocean.
“Todd Saunders, as an insider to the Newfoundland psyche, has also brought an outsider’s design sensibility to the table in his design of the six studios for the Fogo Island Arts Corporation. A fresh approach grounded by his astute observations and memories of this place. As a result, the project seems strangely familiar.
“They fit the landscape, in the case of the Long Studio, its form seems to trace the gentle slope of the bedrock, as its hundred-foot long south elevation, an uninterrupted expanse of rough-sawn spruce planks, rises towards the sea. The project’s robust architectural character certainly resonates with the sensibility of this place. It has a duel character as a viewing device that frames the landscape, the sea or a cloud overhead, as well as, an introverted place of repose for the artistic soul – a well-insulated industrial object designed to weather any storm. As a further study of contrasts, all the exterior surfaces of the contemporary Canadian building are clad with pre-finished rough-sawn, pine planks stained black to counter the interior that is lined in its entirety with smooth planks of wood that are painted white. A three foot wide zone to the left of the entry area is filled with mechanical equipment, storage areas, a water tank, a compost toilet, a sink, a shower, a kitchenette, an eating area, a wood-burning stove, and a ladder that leads to an elevated sleeping loft, for the occasional overnight stay.
“The overall tube-like structure, clipped at both ends at a forty-five degree angle, forms a parallelogram in which an angular geometry zigzags throughout its length. Saunders has carefully choreographed a sequence of events that responds to the seasons, given the contemporary Canadian studios will be used spring, summer and fall. It begins with a covered exterior entry area that provides a degree of shelter from the rain and wind. This entry zone then mutates into an exposed exterior patio, a notch in an otherwise uninterrupted black box, that faces south to capture the sun. The last zone is a fully enclosed, insulated workspace, designed to filter light and direct views.”
Singapore-based design studio Formwerkz Architects has designed the Apartment House. Completed in 2009, this three-storey contemporary property can be found in Singapore.
According to the architects the brief was: “The scale and programme of the house suggests more of a communal dwelling for a multi-tier family. The family called for a design that can accommodate a long wish list of desires of every members and the flexibility for change and expansion of the household.
“The strategy of the contemporary Singaporean house is organised in two linear volumes, split by a common pool in the middle but connected on the upper floors by the family space. The 2-storey volume houses the parents’ master en-suite on the upper floors, floating above the main living space. A lawn garden sits above on the roof. The three-storey block primarily, apart from the dining and kitchen on the ground floor, are tailored to the lifestyles of the three siblings yielding to their individual narratives.
“Apart from this long list of specifics, the contemporary Singaporean house design has to accommodate for change. This incidentally explains its relatively simple form and raw finish. At the macro scale, the two volumes can be sub-divided into two separate bungalow plots with minor alteration to the existing structures. Internally, the spaces are organised to be easily re-configurable as the service spaces and circulation are arranged neatly to one side. This allows most of the room to have high ceiling spaces (to the slab) without the need for a false ceiling.
“The challenge brought us to engage the very traditional Asian Concept of Multi-generation living in our ageing society and to address the differences in habits, desires, taste or even the potential tensions between individuals or sub-families.”
São Paulo-based sdesign tudio Guilherme Torres has completed the FF House project. Completed in 2006, this contemporary property can be found in Londrina, in the state of Paraná, Brazil.
According to the architects: “The concept of this project comprises of four cubes. The volume covered with caramel Portuguese tiles signalises the entrance hall and a glass window of 2x5m, reveals the living room. All the leisure and service area are intertwined on the ground floor, painted in a chocolate tone, is at the base of the upper floor, where the intimate area is located.
“Exploring the cube concept, the application of coating materials subvert the traditional employment. Both stone coverings and wood floorings were used in order to seal all the volumes in a global way, overlaying simultaneously walls and floors. This concept grants strength and continuity to the contemporary Brazilian building.
“All the materials and textures were decided at our first meeting with our client, they wanted a contemporary Brazilian house with modern lines and at the same time ‘warm’ materials with many textures to provide a cozy feeling. Nothing is linked with fads but a fresh look at materials that can be found easily in the region.
“What’s really special about this contemporary Brazilian house is not only the finishings, textures and materials but the owners joy of living, that granted their ‘bossa’ and personality in every detail of the property, revealing a very Brazilian way of living.”
The Grand Hotel Villa Cora is located inside a centuries-old park that overlooks the Boboli Gardens, on the hills just outside the historical centre of Florence.
The main villa is an aristocratic residence built at the end of the XIX century by Baron Oppenheim reflecting the architectural styles of that period, dominated by a strong eclectic decor that provides the villa with different, sometimes even bizarre, artistic styles. Villa Cora, inaugurated when Florence was the capital of the Kingdom of Italy, has become throughout the years one of the major cultural and cosmopolitan symbols of Florence.
The luxury Florence hotel is comprised of three different structures which were restored to the minutest of details with the aim of conserving the original architectural style as much as possible.
In the main villa (Villa Cora) there are 30 suites and rooms divided into 4 floors, each with its own style. The decorations were inspired by famous people who have stayed there, such as the Japanese Emperor Hirohito to whom the imperial suite is dedicated.
The luxury Florence villa is also home to two restaurants. The first of the two is located in a luminous winter garden, while the second in located in the villa’s ancient cellars. The latter is dedicated to the Pasha Isma’il who stayed for numerous years in the villa.
The luxury Florence villa comes with its own spa offering luxurious treatments such as tepidarium, sauna, and hammam. The wellness centre also offers Asian and European massages as well as beauty treatments in collaboration with the cosmetic-pharmaceutical company MacPharma.
Bergen-based architect Todd Saunders and Røyneberg-based Tommie Wilhelmsen have designed the Aurland Lookout. Completed in 2006, the award-winning contemporary structure can be found in the Aurland, a small town in Sogn og Fjordane, Norway.
According to the architects: “Nature first and architecture second was the guiding principal when we sat down to design this contemporary Norwegian building. It was immediately obvious to us that in such beautiful surroundings one must make the least possible encroachment in the existing landscape and terrain. The landscape is so fantastic that it is difficult to improve the place, but at the same time very easy to destroy the atmosphere by inserting too many elements into the site. Even though we have chosen an expressive form, the concept is a form of minimalism, in an attempt to conserve and complement the existing nature.”
The contemporary viewing structure has 30 viewpoints and was commissioned by the Norwegian Highways Department. The 4m lookout stretches out 30m wide over the pine trees and is only 9m high.
“To make the situation even more dramatic it was important for us to create the experience of leaving the mountainside. We wanted people to come out in the air. The construction creates a distinct horizon; a bridge in the open room of this large fjord. It is imperative that the landscape and the vegetation not altered, but are protected so that one came come out from the landscape and experience it from new standpoint.
“We have managed to behold all of the large pine trees on the site. This allows us to create an interaction between the contemporary Norwegian structure and nature. One can walk out into the air through the treetops, helping dramatise the experience of nature and the larger landscape room,” adds Saunders.