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With the sharp increase in home renovation and building shows, the UK, as a nation, are becoming more and more involved and immersed in architecture.
There are more blogs, websites and TV shows on the subject than ever before, and more and more of us are actually building and designing our own homes too. I know that it is a personal dream of some of our team to do just that, but how about you? Is it something you have dreamed about doing for a long time?
This increased interest in architecture and large-scale home renovating has really caught our attention, so we have compiled a list of our favourite architectural projects from this year. Although we have a slight preference towards spacious homes with high ceilings and glass panels, there are a few surprising elements to these homes - like an indoor Zen garden and a grass roof for instance. So please let us know your thoughts – which style of architecture do you prefer? Have you built your own home? Get in touch via our social media channels – we are always up for a chat!
Edgeland House – Austin, Texas
The first house we take a closer look at is Edgeland House in Texas, designed by Bercy Chen Studio. This home mixes Native American architecture, cutting-edge technology and ecological concerns - creating a dramatic yet eco-friendly home.
The ecological merits of Edgeland House are vast. Firstly it has been erected on disused brownfield land, making use of abandoned areas. It has been designed with genuine thought to the original landscape by being built 7 feet into the ground - reducing the visual impact on the landscape. And lastly, it has a grass roof – allowing for maximum energy efficiency.
The building itself is constructed from a steel frame, and is fitted with double-glazed tinted low-E glass panels and concrete retaining walls. It is a striking design made from honest materials. The interior of the house is unique in that it is divided into two clear sections – one for sleeping and one for living/entertaining, which can clearly be seen in the photo above. The omission of a hallway was one that was made on purpose – to encourage more time spent outside whilst moving between the two areas.
The house was built to essentially "enhance one's experience of nature" says architect Bercy Chen - something that can be seen immediately from the outset.
Image: Bercy Chen Studio via Designboom
Flip House – San Francisco
Continuing the modern lines and angles from Edgeland House, we take a look at Flip House, a quirky property located in the heart of San Francisco.
This project proves that you don’t need to build your own home from scratch to have your own ‘grand design’. The owners approached local architectural firm Fougeron Architecture looking for an ‘edgy’ remodel of their original home. Although large structural work was carried out (floors were lowered and ceilings were raised), the bones of the house were already in place.
Flip House has been updated with stunning angled glass panels covering the whole of the back wall which work to bring in plenty of natural light – more so than traditional straight glass windows. The interior has been completely renovated with modern furnishings in modern materials – perforated metal staircases, white sofas and transparent Kartell furnishings. The interior has been re-designed to be conducive to modern-day living, giving the home a spacious feel.
One of the main reasons this project caught our eye was due to its location in heart of a metropolitan city. Many architectural projects are built in remote areas, so it’s great to see a large-scale project being carried out in the middle of a busy city, thus proving that you don’t need to move to the outskirts to have your perfect home.
Image: Joe Fletcher via Designboom
Optical Glass House – Hiroshima
Lastly we take a look at the Optical Glass House by Hiroshi Nakamura, based in Hiroshima. This project is unique in that it is constructed using contrasting materials – man-made concrete and glass sit happily alongside natural timber, stone and indoor Zen gardens.
The outside façade of the Optical Glass House features a two storey glass wall constructed from 6,000 borosilicate glass bricks. The bricks, which are more durable than conventional glass, offer privacy without being impenetrable.
Indoors, numerous Zen-like gardens are dotted throughout offering a place of tranquility from the bustling city life outside. In addition to these green spaces, the interior is constructed from even more glass bricks (to maximize light), built-in wooden furnishings and stone floors. The main reason this home made it onto our list is the use of these materials, which work to create a warm, cosy interior whilst still maintaining a contemporary feel.
Image: Koji Fujii / Nacasa & partners via Designboom
If you’re thinking (or dreaming!) of designing your own project, why not have a look at Dezeen, Design Milk and Designboom for some online inspiration. Alternatively, print-based resources include Icon Magazine and Grand Designs Magazine – both of which are packed full of inspiring projects and news.