In a new television series produced by i2i television for Discovery RealTime, Building the Ultimate House looks at how modern homes are being designed and built to meet the needs of rapidly changing contemporary lifestyles.
Presented by Garry Miley, a practicing architect from Dublin, and master craftsman Alan Herd, Building the Ultimate House follows the story of two projects, one self build and one restoration, that are equally unique in their aspirations. The show reflects on the question "How do we want to live in the 21st century?" and follows the construction of 'Dreamfields', an ambitious, £5m house of award winning design quality in Hampshire, UK and the restoration of Park Farm, a 16th century farmhouse in rural Herefordshire.
Throughout the series we also look at high concept builds from around the world, taking you inside some of the most innovative and extraordinary houseseverconceived. Garry visits Emilio Ambasz’s ‘Casa de Retiro Espiritual’ in Seville, Paul Krunnenberg and Gerard Van der Erve’s Laminata House in Holland and Le Corbusier’s Villa Savoye in France amongst other stunning examples of contemporary architecture featured below.
The needs and requirements of the 21st century family are quite different to those of 500 or even 50 years ago. Park Farm, a large 16th century Herefordshire farmhouse, is almost 500 years old and has been continuously occupied since it was constructed. The spectacular renovation of the property benefits from many new technology features - modern insulation, damp-
proofing, central heating, plumbing and wiring, but uses traditional materials, oak, lime-plaster, brick and slate to maintain the architectural integrity of the building. The result is a contemporary 21st century home and a building restored to survive another 500 years of family life.
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The expression of a house that works as a vessel for the residents, their actions, their objects, was the concept for this project. The designer has created a space where architectural details play background and set the stage for the bright accents of the client's art, book and furniture collection.
The project is divided into three zones: a private zone, containing the family's individual rooms; an intermediate zone, with a Japanese-style room and atelier and a third, shared utility living zone with kitchen and dining. These simple volumes are defined by glass opaque screens, ceiling-height variations and the interplay of inside-outside space.
[ more info ]ARCHITECT: DASIC ARCHITECTS
Lighthouse, the first net zero carbon house in the UK has opened at the BRE's OFFSITE2007 exhibition. With unrivalled levels of efficiency in terms of the construction method, energy use, CO 2 emissions and carbon footprint, this high performance, prototype sustainable home is the first to achieve the Code for Sustainable Homes Level 6, the standard to which all new homes should be designed and constructed by 2016.
Designed by Sheppard Robson with Kingspan Off-Site and engineers Arup the Lighthouse prototype is a two-and-a-half storey two/three-bedroom house, part of a family of houses and apartments, which explore how housing can respond to changing demographics to create socially varied sustainable communities. It creates a new model for future living, challenging the traditional house layout to encourage lifestyles, which are inherently 'light' on the world's resources.
[ more info ]ARCHITECT: SHEPPARD ROBSON
CASA de RETIRO ESPIRITUAL was designed by Emilio Ambasz in 1975. This house, that has been thought to be by some, a minimalist idea, and by others a deconstructionist fable, is, instead, an unclassifiable statement about architectural essentials and beauty.
"The design that first brought Emilio Ambasz to international attention as an architect is one of the most compelling architectural images of our time. Unforgettably, two tall white walls rise like sails from a green sea of grass. A steep cantilevered staircase climbs each of the walls to meet at the right-angled juncture of the two white sheets.
This dual mirror like image soars mysteriously above a square sunken courtyard. Beyond this lies the house itself, waiting to be discovered, its alcove-like-rooms spread out amid serpentine skylights and openings."
Excerpt from an essay by Peter Buchanan
[ more info ]ARCHITECT: EMILIO AMBASZ & ASSOCIATES
The Villa Savoye is considered by many to be the seminal work of the Swiss architect Le Corbusier. Situated at Poissy, outside of Paris, it is an iconic architectural example of early modernism, the so-called International Style. Construction was completed circa 1929 but fell into disrepair during World War II. It has since been fully restored and is open for viewing.
The house addressed "The Five Points", his basic tenets of a new aesthetic of architecture:
[ more info ]ARCHITECT: LE CORBUSIER
Paul van der Erve and Gerard Kruunenberg, two young Dutch architects from Amsterdam, have designed a house with walls made entirely of glass. Paul van der Erve had the original idea when he won a competition held by the Central Woningbeheer Lingesteden (CWL) celebrating the 40th anniversary of Leerdam, which is known as Holland's glass capital.
As a monument to glass, the house totally redefines the use of glass as a building material. Despite its unconventional use of glass, it is not only an experimental monument but a beautiful functional residence. The Miesian quality of lightness and transparency so sought after by modernist architects has given way to a solidity and materiality seldom associated with the use of glass. A remarkable feature is the use of laminated glass sheets for external and internal walls, which vary from 10 to an incredible 170 centimetres in thickness.
[ more info ]ARCHITECT: KRUUNENBERG VAN DER ERVE ARCHITECTEN
There's something so romantic about living waterside. Waking up to a dramatic view, whether from the banks of a lake, ocean, river, or even a tiny brook, always seems to have a soothing effect on the soul. One way to amp up the romance is to take the dwelling off the shore and put it right onto the water, as Portland, Oregon-based architect Robert Oshatz did for his clients. The professional couple, who spend most of their time in downtown Portland, had
purchased a mooring on the east side of the Willamette River, an active commercial and recreational body of water. They turned to Oshatz, known for his curvaceous, swooping architecture, to create a floating house as their weekend and summer retreat.
Ingrid Spencer, Architectural Record Magazine
[ more info ]ARCHITECT: ROBERT HARVEY OSHATZ ARCHITECT
Nestled amidst a neighbourhood of single story bungalows in Venice, California, the Solar Umbrella Residence boldly establishes a precedent for the next generation of California modernist architecture. The Solar Umbrella transforms an existing 650 square foot bungalow into a 1900 square foot residence equipped for responsible living in the twenty-first century.
Inspired by Paul Rudolph's Umbrella House of 1953, the Solar Umbrella provides a contemporary reinvention of the solar canopy - a strategy that provides thermal protection in climates with intense exposures. Integral to the design are principles of sustainability and the building takes advantage of as many opportunities for sustainable living as possible. Passive and active solar design strategies render the residence 100% energy neutral. Recycled, renewable, and high performance materials and products are specified throughout.
[ more info ]ARCHITECT: PUGH & SCARPA ARCHITECTS
Completed in October 2004, the Hill House was designed under challenging conditions generated by the modern problems of building on a hillside. Located in Pacific Palisades, California, USA, the site offers panoramic views from Rustic and Sullivan Canyons to Santa Monica Bay and the irregularly shaped lot is situated on an uneven, downhill slope.
With the canonical Eames House nearby, the 3300 square foot Hill House provocatively continues the Case Study House tradition of experimentation and reinvention of Los Angeles lifestyles. This residential property has recently been selected for an American Architecture Award, a credible accolade for a project that was once considered to be too challenging to be successful.
[ more info ]ARCHITECT: JOHNSTON MARKLEE
The inspiration for Scorpion House lies within the Arizona desert environment in which it sits. Hillside contours, boulder fields, distant views, and stands of old saguaro, shape the forms. Interlocking the curved retaining walls, a protective shell of oxidised titanium plates integrates the 'Scorpion' forms with the desert landscape. The architects and client were committed to the ideals of sustainable building: exemplifying the principles of conservation and
encouraging the application of those principles into daily lives, through minimizing resource degradation and consumption, fostering awareness in visitors, by modelling and teaching a new ethos and a non-hierarchal way of building. All elements were considered equally important - especially as they relate to harmonious integration within the ecosystem.
[ more info ]ARCHITECT: JONES STUDIO