Best Architectural Designs of the Year 2012
With 2013 coming, we made a selection of which are, in our opinion, the best architectural designs of the year.
In relation to buildings, architecture has to do with the planning, designing and constructing form, space and ambience that reflect functional, technical, social, environmental, and aesthetic considerations. It requires the creative manipulation and coordination of material, technology, light and shadow. Architecture also encompasses the pragmatic aspects of realizing buildings and structures, including scheduling, cost estimating and construction administration. As documentation produced by architects, typically drawings, plans and technical specifications, architecture defines the structure and/or behavior of a building or any other kind of system that is to be or has been constructed.
Today we showcase the most innovative and progressive designs from around the world. We want you to vote on the best home! If not in the post, please leave your choice in the comments below.
House on the Cliff
House on the Cliff is a minimal home located in Calp, Spain, designed by Fran Silvestre Arquitectos. The extremely steep plot of land offers such spectacular sea views that it invites one to spend time, relax and do nothing. A piece is incrusted into the sloping land, maintaining its natural profile which is overshadowed by the house on top.
Located on a dense hillside forest in the Santa Rosalía area of Guatemala City, Corallo House integrates the existing forest into the layout of the house. It merges nature into the architectural intervention. The design process began with the aim to preserve the existing trees, in order to have the trees interact with the living space. The floor plan is free of columns and the changes in level adapt to the existing topography. Both façades are mostly glass in order to connect the interior to the exterior. The main structural component is exposed concrete, which shows the rustic texture of the wood formwork, allowing a dialogue between the formal element and the textures of the forest.
Houseboat on the Eilbek Canal
German practice Sprenger von der Lippe, has recently completed the ‘Houseboat on the Eilbek Canal’, a floating residence situated between two bridges along a waterway in hamburg, Germany. with the moorings positioned significantly lower than street level and the sloped banks lined with natural vegetation, this dwelling offers an introverted experience for inhabitants within the quiet and secluded area. the floor at the water’s surface contains the private bedrooms, offering privacy with the inherent landforms along with a living room which overlooks the gently rippling water. The upper level contains the public spaces which offers elevated views of the scenery from the kitchen and dining area.
Brazilian firm studio mk27 has finished the ‘V4 house’ inSão Paulo, completely submerged within its context. The one-storey sub-grade dwelling stretches to the extremities of the site benefiting from the interior program as much as the exterior garden. Along one axis, a wooden box enveloped in perforated timber panels contains the private bedrooms shaded from direct light and therefore more easily acclimated. A vast exposed concrete roof mass with integrated beams extends perpendicularly disappearing into the natural stone retaining wall defining the property line, doubling as an exterior deck on grade. the public living spaces are delineated by four slender columns, wrapped in retractable glass doors to immerse the inhabitant in the outdoor environment.
Wien-based practice Judith Benzer Architektur have completed the ‘Summer House in Southern Burgenland’, a retreat residence in the countryside of Oberbergen, Austria. Surfaced with untreated larch planks, the external faces of this dwelling may be closed during winter months becoming an unobtrusive silhouette in the landscape. Typical of the region, the volume’s exterior appearance is derived from the ‘kellerstöckel’ or ‘wine house’. The two-level structure with rooms for residential use are enclosed with a strictly wooden framework while the sub-grade cellar for wine production and storage is formed with ferroconcrete massive construction.
The Edge Summer House
Anixi-based React Architects have completed ‘The Edge Summer House’ located in Paros Cyclades, Greece. Tthe building consists of two dwellings with guest areas that overlook the sea and neighboring island of Antiparos. Situated on the highest point of the lot, terraced courtyards and wide stairs lead to the plateau landings with roof top gardens which extend into the indoor and outdoor spaces. The north side elevations open onto the patio landings, while, the east side is dominated with local vegetation and the sight of transverse walls.
‘Drew House’ by australian firm Simon Laws Anthill Construction is a single family dwelling within a town just south of gladstone, along the eastern queensland coast near the great barrier reef. Two pavilions containing the living, bathing and sleeping areas create a luxury camping atmosphere. The separate entities allow privacy during family group activities. Positioned amidst a landscape of bloodwoods and palms at a ridgetop, the residence responds to the family’s connection with sugar mill iconography. Window frames and facade louvers are made from australian hardwood timber which has been naturally oiled for a minimal finish.
Conceived as a bunker nestled into the rock, ‘The Pierre’ — French for stone — celebrates the materiality of the site and the owner’s affection for a stone outcropping on her property. With its rough materiality, which encompasses stone, green roof, and surrounding foliage, the house disappears into nature from certain angles.
To embed the house deep into the site, portions of the rock outcropping were excavated using a combination of machine work and handwork. The contractor used large drills to set the outline of the building, then used dynamite, hydraulic chippers, a selection of wire saws, and other hand tools, working with finer and finer implements as construction progressed. Excavated rock was re-used as crushed aggregate in the concrete flooring. Excavation marks were left exposed on all the stonework, a reminder of the building process.
Tukwila, a suburb of Seattle, is home to Starbucks‘ reclamation drive-thru and walk-up store, the coffeehouse giant’s first space made from four refurbished shipping containers. The concept behind the design was influenced by the company imports of the coffee and tea goods from abroad, all transported from across the globe in such cargo containers.
Holiday Home for Terrorists
Hidden within the thick forest in Mösern, western Austria, on the quaint property of polish art dealer Rafael Jablonka, is the ‘Holiday Home for Terrorists’ by german artist Thomas Schütte. Originally existing only as an architectural model, Jablonka commissioned the model to be built on the property of his summer home. The dwelling seems to borrow from the famous farnsworth house, with two wooden planes separated by an inset glass wall that wraps the entire plan. Two sculptural concrete cores placed in the space help to hold up the roof structure as well as delineate different functions,with an integrated kitchen, fireplace, bathroom and bed. Colored full-height curtains may be closed for privacy or opened to submerge the interior with surrounding forest landscape. The simple contemporary home seems a quaint abode in a lovely setting, however this residence will never be lived in, or visited by anyone but the owner for that matter.