Dhaka-based Rafiq Azam of Shatotto received the ‘Residential Building of the Year Award’ (multiple occupancy), for SA Residence project, at the 2012 Emirates Glass LEAF Awards, which took place during this year’s London Design Festival.
The human form has two parts – body as the shell and thoughts as the soul. Architecture is similar, with the building envelope as the shell and nature as the soul.
The building envelope of this three-storey contemporary Bangladesh residence is a pure square, constructed of a single material, cast-concrete. The sphere, the universal celestial form, in this case is transformed to its terrestrial expression in the shape of a square.
Considering the socio-economic conditions of Dhaka, the architectural vocabulary is kept simple, with traditional spaces like the courtyard, pond, ghat (steps to water) and ample green to merge together urban and rural typologies in this urban context.
Multistory buildings surround the site, so an introverted design strategy was adopted, placing a water-court as a swimming pool in the middle of the house to ensure privacy. It is the interrelationship between form and void which is at the heart of 18th-century mystic minstrel Lalon’s philosophy: “If one thing is not there inside the body, then it is not outside the body either,” which was the underlying inspiration for this building. The open quad at the centre depicts nothingness.
The south and southeast faces have been designed to bring in cool breeze during the hot, humid summer and the warmth of the sun during the winter. The central water court acts as a natural exhaust system, allowing hot air to escape and making the middle court a cool sanctuary.
A small boat waits by the ghat , green and light with its silence – and the space becomes a natural habitat within a man-made dwelling, with layers of understanding to unfold nothingness.
House Roces is a steel and glass structure. Perpendicular to the road, the elongated volume contrasts with the verticality of the trees. The glass box allows a panoramic view from each living space, and provides the experience of luxury living in a primal surrounding and maximum day lighting in a shady forest.
When the dwelling was being traced out, the floor height of 4.4m appeared to be difficult to capture. Two levels were formed, with bedrooms on each, joined by an inclined plane and a floating zinc stair. The high steel window frames with glass are the basic principle of the steel load bearing construction. This consists of a grid integrating the steel columns into the glass façade.
The wind bracing in the head of the contemporary Belgium property provides a certain privacy from the street, while the other stabilisers are hidden in the space divider between cloakroom and dining room, and between the bathroom and the children’s bedroom. The house is positively captured between space and construction and expresses transparency and corporality at the same time. The walls are a refined connection between constructive window elements that are as able as load bearing masonry to delineate space.
The interior floor covering of Basaltino or Roman lava rock extends the coolness of the glass in the interior spaces, while the concrete terrace elements contribute to the visual rhythm. Comparable to the way the enormous pivoting glass surfaces play with the transition from house to garden, the 53m-long afrormosia wooden wall with a ceiling-height double entrance door acts as a mediator between the cool steel construction and the vast forest.
In the Les Bossons area of the Chamonix Valley, Chalet Amazon Creek sleeps up to ten guests in five stunning bedrooms, all with en-suite bathrooms. The chalet boasts vast living areas, a cinema room and a fully equipped luxury spa with hammam steam room, sauna and sunken Jacuzzi—total bliss!
From the moment you arrive it will become clear why the luxury French chalet is the most luxurious chalet in the Mont Blanc Valley. Nestled in woodland next to a mountain stream, the property combines pure luxury, tranquillity and comfort.
Each of the five en-suite bedrooms is designed and furnished to the highest standards using neutral fabrics to give a fresh and warm feel.
Wake to fresh coffee served in your bedroom, then enjoy a delicious breakfast and breath taking views of the Aiguille du Midi. After a day on the slopes, cosy the children into the cinema room and reward yourself with a massage in the superbly equipped spa with wonderful views of the forest. Alternatively, settle down with a glass of wine from the superbly stocked wine cellar.
The luxury French chalet may also be rented fully catered in conjunction with Chalet Baby Bear for parties of 14 or both Chalet Baby Bear and Baloo for groups of up to 24.
Stefan Antoni Olmesdahl Truen Architects (SAOTA) have completed the Victoria 73 project. Completed in 2005, this is another dream property designed by the Cape Town-based studio. The contemporary property can be found in Bantry Bay, Cape Town, South Africa.
The brief given to the design team called for a dynamic response to capitalise on the site, by creating an outdoor lifestyle environment for the client, a young family.
According to the architects: “The design was driven by the need to create a family home, which accommodated the kitchen, living and dining room in one space. The secondary living area was to be an entertainment space. The pool terrace allows for covered and uncovered areas to relax around the pool. The entertainment lounge accommodates a generous bar, and is close to the outdoor braai area. A dramatic gazebo structure is perched at the edge of the pool deck. These living levels are located on the fourth and fifth floor. The sixth floor accommodates the master suite, children’s bedrooms and lounge, while the guest and staff accommodation and the library can be found on the second and third storey. The ground floor of the contemporary South African property accommodates the entrance hall and a five car garage. A glass lift connects the building vertically.
“The contemporary South African house is strongly influenced by the Californian School of ‘Case Study’ houses. It also takes its cue from Miesien Planar Designs – demonstrated with the cantilever roof slab which is supported by a marble clad wall plane, reminiscent of the stone walls of the Barcelona Pavilion.
“The main double volume living level relates directly to the sea view and is framed by the red chimney flue and a Nero Marquina marble clad wall. The dining space opens out into a garden courtyard with a water feature and sculpture.
“Finishes include textured stone cladding to various walls. This is contrasted with the roughness of the off-shutter concrete soffit to the living room, dining room and kitchen on the fifth floor. The finishes are varied, including timber cladding to various rooms, and richly coloured mosaic finishes. The interiors are casual and sleek with each furniture piece carefully considered to create a successful fusion of 20th-century iconic design pieces with custom-made items by Antoni Associates. Also, the client’s eclectic art collection played an integral part in the interior design. A neutral colour palette which included walnut timber, charcoal linen and earth tones was juxtaposed with textural elements such as vintage leathers and soft woven carpets.”
Queensland-based design studio mmpP Architects has designed the HP Tree House project. The single-storey contemporary property can be found suspended above the forest floor of Mount Whitfield in Cairns, Australia.
According to the architects: “The contemporary Cairns property is set on a secluded and private lot on the flanks of Mount Whitfield in Cairns, the principle aims of this low budget home included simple, elegant and unpretentious form, easy access, minimum impact on site, sustainability and low maintenance. Sustainability is enhanced with long term low maintenance materials, sustainably harvested or plantation grown timber, locally sourced natural stone retaining walls.
“Suspended above the forest floor, living in this contemporary Australian home is akin to life on a roofed platform within the rainforest canopy. A relaxed and easy ambience contributes to a harmonious relationship between the house and its occupants.
“Of the HP Tree House project the jury noted ‘a house which cleverly engages its rainforest shroud from every room and interstitial space. Its unassuming exterior belies a sequence of varied scaled interior spaces that embody a relaxed tropical lifestyle in all possible weather conditions.”