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LEARNING HUB
a project by Heatherwick Studio
Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, completed 2015
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London-based Heatherwick Studio collaborated with local firm CPG Consultants on the Learning Hub, a new eight-storey teaching facility at Nanyang Technological University. To avoid creating "miles of corridors linking box-like lecture rooms", the building was designed as a cluster of tapered towers surrounding an expansive atrium. The idea was to combine learning facilities with social spaces including balconies, gardens and open-air corridors, to encourage as many opportunities for staff and student interactions as possible.

"Heatherwick Studio's first major new building in Asia has offered us an extraordinary opportunity to rethink the traditional university building," explained Thomas Heatherwick. "In the information age the most important commodity on a campus is social space to meet and bump into and learn from each other."

The 12 towers, which each taper inwards towards the base, accommodate a total of 56 oval classrooms. According to the designers, the non-hierarchal round shape – without any corners or obvious fronts or backs – will encourage more collaborative learning. Clad with curved concrete panels, the towers feature irregular horizontal stripes that were created using 10 adjustable silicone moulds. This texture lends each tower the look of a root vegetable, although the designers liken the appearance with wet clay. Balconies extend around the inside of the towers and get larger towards the top of the building, offering views into the atrium. This space is naturally ventilated, allowing air to circulate throughout.

"The Learning Hub is a collection of handmade concrete towers surrounding a central space that brings everyone together, interspersed with nooks, balconies and gardens for informal collaborative learning," added Heatherwick.

The towers are raised off the ground on 61 angled concrete columns, each featuring an undulating surface texture, and small areas of planting surround many of them. Meanwhile, the concrete walls surrounding the stair and elevator cores slotted between the towers have been embossed with over 700 drawings by illustrator Sara Fanelli, depicting images from science, art and literature.

"The new Learning Hub provides an exciting mix of learning, community and recreational spaces for NTU students, professors and researchers from various disciplines to gather and interact," said NTU Professor Kam Chan Hin. "By bringing people and their ideas together, NTU can spark future innovations and new knowledge that increasingly happen at the intersection of disciplines."

The project forms part of a wider campus redevelopment for Nanyang Technological University which, with over 33,000 students, is one of Singapore's largest public universities. 

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Arch Daily: http://goo.gl/xZ5Is4
Gizmag: http://goo.gl/Yfh7k6
Designboom: http://goo.gl/Mhhw5D
Dezeen: http://goo.gl/zNmYy9
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TOWER 41
a project by Alberto Kalach
Mexico City, Mexico, completed 2014
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Located in a strategic point of Mexico City, facing the majestic Chapultepec Park, Tower 41 designed by Alberto Kalach’s office TAX is displayed to the immediate context as a light sculpture at nightfall. The interior spaces were designed as a consequence of the structure of the volume, two structural concrete walls supporting steel mezzanines, reinforced by a secondary steel structure on the facade. Thus, the structural configuration generates free plans, allowing flexible spaces for any office use.

Functionally, the building has 7 floors for offices, a triple-height lobby, vertical circulation to the west and a roof garden on the top floor, which opens the dialogue and relates to the outside. The office building was designed with the intention of not integrating heating and air conditioning systems. The strategy is bio-climatic, with cross ventilation from operable windows on both sides. The apparent materiality of the place is exposed to an excellent level of detail and without extra ornaments, achieving a warm atmosphere inside. To mitigate the hostility of noise caused by traffic, TAX designed a garden, water fountains and an acoustic wall on the ground floor that absorb and counteract the noise pollution.

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Arch Daily: http://goo.gl/yb2DpF

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EARTH HOUSE PROJECT
a project by molos group
Tirana, Albania, completed 2014
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The Earth House Project located in Tirana, Albania was designed by the Molos Group from Kosovo as an innovative contemporary structure integrated with the landscape by replacing most of the exterior walls with vegetation.

The structure is far from the urban environment of Tirana and thus the designers wanted it to be as integrated with its landscape as possible. The back side of the home expands from the pitching hill to give access to the upper floor while creating a complex geometry to link the contemporary structure with the rest of the environment through an open interior layout that provides a great view.

The entrance to the home is landscaped with a passage across a small pond continuing the raw pavement and thus setting a serene tone for the inhabitants from the moment they make their first steps into the home. The interior is very open since the remoteness of the home provides the privacy needed and there are large balconies on the two sides from where you can enjoy the outdoors.

From the Architect:
A world known architect once said: “At times walls manifest a power that borders on the violent. They have the power to divide space, transfigure place, and create new domains. Walls are the most basic elements of architecture, but they can also be the most enriching.” In this case, this project was treated in the most enriching way possible. The position of the house is in the midst of nature, far away the busy streets of Tirana. The house was projected that way, to be by all means in touch with nature, because we believe that the beauty in architecture is a reflection of the beauty of nature.

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EL BLOK
a project by FUSTER + Architects
Vieques, Puerto Rico, completed 2014
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El Blok is a boutique hotel located in Esperanza, a quiet town on the south side of the island of Vieques, located 13km off the east coast of Puerto Rico.  The hotel is situated on a small commercial lot along Esperanza’s waterfront. The compact form of the hotel houses a program of 23 guest rooms, a restaurant, a roof terrace with Jacuzzi, parking and service areas.

Conceptually the hotel is conceived as a block of coral removed from the sea; inspired by the form, density and porosity of the coral reefs located just off shore.  The exterior of the hotel is made of glass fiber reinforced concrete (GfRC) panels; whose design is derived from corals. These panels act as a continuous screen that filters natural light and fresh air into the balconies of the guest rooms. The patterns of natural light created by these panels and other building apertures act as perpetually changing ornamentation within the hotel.  Some of the exterior panels open to allow for uninterrupted views of the exterior. The curvilinear forms of El Blok also make reference to the sinuous line of the Caribbean shore line and the adjacent road.

An exposed concrete stair enters the hotel unfolding like a fan that brings you up to the second floor, which is defined by a ample open terrace where the hotel restaurant is located. This space is at once both open and closed, acting as a great threshold between the exterior world and the interior world of the hotel. The guest rooms are on the subsequent two floors and are organized radially around a center oval patio that references the Caribbean architectural vernacular.  The radial organization also serves to optimize access to the guest rooms and reduce travel distance.  The guest rooms recreate the organic and permeable world of the hotel within the microcosm of each room. The hotel culminates in a roof terrace with a bioluminescent pre-fabricated jacuzzi and prefabricated light/ventilation chimneys that also serve to house service pipes and establish a vertical counterpoint on the horizon.

The principal structure is reinforced concrete, principally exposed, offering a diverse experience in each space. The floor is covered principally in hydraulic concrete tiles designed specifically for the hotel using a pattern inspired by the building’s floor plan and using the colors of the Caribbean basin.  The woodwork is done largely using local woods. The design and compact organization help to minimize the physical and ecological footprint and the building makes maximum use of natural light and ventilation.  The roof and wall envelopes are thermally very efficient.  Additionally the roof deck collects rainwater for reuse.

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Arch Daily: http://goo.gl/9vt7Fl
designboom: http://goo.gl/9Y4Osc
Architectural Digest: http://goo.gl/1VGtIv
Architectism: http://goo.gl/o1NqMj

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SHONAN CHRIST CHURCH
a project by Takeshi Hosaka
Kanagawa, Japan, completed 2014
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In order to create a spatially emotive worship hall, Takeshi Hosaka Architects has composed the ‘Shonan Christ Church’ with curving concrete roof forms separated by banded skylights, resulting in a striking lighting condition. The convex shapes produce a gradient tonality, while bands of direct sunlight accent the space and surfaces. Located in the coastal Japanese city of Fujisawa, the building is a five-minute walk from the Shonan Sea.

The concrete roof is made of six separate forms, which represent the six days of creation as documented in the biblical book of genesis, while the worship space below symbolizes the seventh day. The characteristic 6 curved slab is designed not only architectural reason but also it provides structural, acoustic, and lighting benefits.

An effect from their curvature, the roof can span 7.6m length with only 250mm thickness and the void spaces within each curved slab which reduces the weight of the structure. Natural light enters the interior from the gaps between each of the overlapping roofs. The openings are also designed to avoid direct sunlight during the time of worship.

Among the acoustical design requirements for the sanctuary, a focus was made on ensuring that the congregation would be able to hear the sermons clearly. To this end, the reverberation of the space was limited to an appropriate level and measures were taken to inhibit the occurrence of undesirable echoes.

Architecturally, the sanctuary’s ceiling was planned to be the exposed underside of the building’s curved concrete roof. From an acoustical design perspective, this curved shape provides abundant early sound reflections to the sanctuary uniformly. On the other hand, since the side walls of the sanctuary were designed to be parallel, smooth concrete surfaces could result in undesirable echoes. Furthermore, sound absorbing material was added to the side walls to avoid excessive reverberation. For both of these, a pattern of vertical ribs with a random periodicity was created on the concrete side walls. And between the ribs, strips of sound absorbing black urethane foam were inserted. In the sanctuary, the pastor's speech could be heard clearly and easily throughout the space, while the hymns could be heard softly.

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Arch Daily: http://goo.gl/mq7eDO
designboom: http://goo.gl/e2R3DD
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KONZERTHAUS BLAIBACH
a project by Peter Haimerl Architektur
Blaibach, Germany, completed 2014
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As part of an urban redevelopment project aimed at revitalizing the center of Blaibach, Germany, architect Peter Haimerl has designed the town’s concert hall as a stone clad rectangular volume, which emerges from the ground with an inclined orientation. The building’s tilt produces the slope necessary for the auditorium’s seating, while also creating the building’s main entry from the adjacent public square. Inside, the hall’s surfaces are made of overlapping pre-cast concrete panels, whose composition conceals the lighting and regulates acoustical qualities of the space.

When entering the building from Blaibach’s new village square, guests descend down a staircase beneath the angled volume, to reach a wood-clad foyer containing access to functional areas such as the wardrobe, bathrooms, and bar. The space circulates around the tilted volume, leading to the inner concert hall.

The heavily textured stone cladding of the exterior contrasts with the smooth concrete and timber walls that line the interior spaces and auditorium. In the auditorium, slivers of artificial light stream through gaps between layers of untreated concrete that make up the walls. These "lively" textured surfaces are designed to help dampen sound, with bass absorbers located beneath the slits and under the steps to achieve optimal acoustics for the space. LED bulbs are discretely integrated within the walls and ceiling, to produce gradients of indirect light across the unfinished and variably-textured concrete surfaces. The auditorium’s seating is intended to be visually transparent and seemingly floating, composed of steel wire chairs supported by slender fins beneath. The space’s stage has been designed for the particular conditions of musical performances, as opposed to being flexible for multifunctional purposes.

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Architizer: http://goo.gl/XCGrD7
designboom: http://goo.gl/mNS1Oo
Dezeen: http://goo.gl/iDgoA0
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urdesign: http://goo.gl/fNMMJV

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RIBBON CHAPEL
a project by NAP Architects
Hiroshima, Japan, completed 2013
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Two curving staircases encircle the exterior of this wedding chapel by Tokyo-based architect Hiroshi Nakamura, meeting at a rooftop platform that overlooks the Hiroshima coastline. The Ribbon Chapel by Hiroshi Nakamura takes its name from the pair of timber-clad staircases that wind around the exterior of the glazed wedding chapel.

The 15.4-metre-tall structure is set on a grassy hillside in the grounds of the hotel Bella Vista Sakaigahama to take in views of the Seto Inland Sea, which borders the city of Onomichi in Hiroshima Prefecture. The intertwining staircases, which cross paths at several points to provide support for each other, are designed to be symbolic of the unity that matrimony brings. The stairs are clad in vertical planks of white-painted wood, and have curving titanium zinc alloy handrests to withstand erosion from the sea breeze.

"Just as two lives go through twists and turns before uniting as one, the two spirals seamlessly connect at their 15.4-metre summit to form a single ribbon," said Nakamura.

The body of the marriage ceremony is conducted inside the glazed chapel, where a wooden aisle bracketed by two banks of seating leads to an altar. Nuptials are completed on the rooftop, where the two staircases widen and connect to unite the bride and groom who travel up separate flights. Once the vows are completed the couple can then pick one route to descend together.

Aside from the symbolic nature of the structure, the architect said the double stairs were chosen to create a stable structure. "By entwining two spiral stairways, we realised a free-standing building of unprecedented composition and architecturally embodied the act of marriage in a pure form," he said. The two staircases support each other horizontally, while steel posts with a diameter of 10-centimetres bear the vertical load to form a stable structure. These posts, designed by engineering firm Arup, were deliberately slanted at construction stage and righted into a vertical position by gravity once the supports were removed.

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Arch Daily: http://goo.gl/pM6r9c
Contemporist: http://goo.gl/I7ZVAF
Dezeen: http://goo.gl/dg7ixo
Designboom: http://goo.gl/y5VgNz

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Wow, what gorgeous architecture and a gorgeous landscape. I can't believe it's a chapel!
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JELLYFISH HOUSE
a project by Wiel Arets Architects
Marbella, Spain, completed 2013
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Situated right on the coast of Spain in Marbella, the Jellyfish House, designed by Wiel Arets Architects (WAA), utilizes a cantilevered design so that when the homeowners are on the top floor the views of the ocean can always be seen. The cantilevered design holds something pretty unique – a pool on the roof with a glass bottom. The blueness of the water through the glass creates a beautiful ceiling to the outdoor space below.

Spread out over four floors, the home has two staircases set up to circulate between them – a fast and a slow set of stairs. The fast stairs, which are enclosed in glass, take you from the exterior straight up to the roof, while the slow stairs are outfitted with long treads and short risers and span the length of the house, from ground floor to the roof. The slow stairs are open to the outdoor elements but are still on the interior.

The house has five bedrooms, with two guest bedrooms on the bottom level that get their own private terrace. The structure of the home is made up of poured concrete that’s supported by one column at the rear edge of the pool, and several smaller columns near the rear dining terrace. The rest of the walls are made up of windows allowing the sun’s light to filter in.

Accordion doors open up the interiors to the outdoor space, expanding the square footage. With all staircases leading to the top, the oasis that houses the magnificent pool sits on the roof and cantilevers out 9 meters towards the southwest. The pool has an infinity edge making you feel like you’re connected to the ocean out in the distance. Those people sitting below can be voyeurs watching the people swim up above. A window on the interior also lets those in the kitchen watch the swimmers.

"Taking full advantage of the ever-present Spanish sun, the Jellyfish House is an avant-garde expression of luxurious living," said the designers. "As most of its facades can be opened and as its staircases are mainly outdoor, the house's ever shifting boundaries between inside and outside are curiously blurred."

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text and images via:
Arch Daily: http://goo.gl/Bmwa03
Design Milk: http://goo.gl/wmtFvD
designboom: http://goo.gl/Ic0n2n
Architect Magazine: http://goo.gl/8Xfy8I
Dezeen: http://goo.gl/rsXZDi
The Inspiration: http://goo.gl/ZFr7H2

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Fascinating ideas here +@rchitecture, although I was disappointed that the pool on the roof didn't appear to have any type of lounging space 
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CLIFF HOUSE
a project by Modscape
Victoria, Australia, 2014
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Prefabricated architecture specialists Modscape have planned a conceptual property perched above the ocean in the Australian state of Victoria. The project, which is designed for a couple exploring options for a holiday home, hangs off the cliff face in the same way that barnacles cling to the side of a ship. Envisioned as a natural extension of the landscape, the dwelling shares a direct relationship with the sea below, utilizing modular design technologies and prefabrication methods. 

The five story modular home clings to the side of a cliff in this conceptual design entitled the Cliff House. The design is a theoretical response to clients who have approached Modscape to explore design options for extreme parcels of coastal land in Australia. Inspired by the way barnacles cling to the hull of a ship, a concept was developed for a modular home to hang off the side of a cliff as opposed to sitting on top of it. The home is visualized as a natural extension of the cliff face rather than an addition to the landscape, creating an absolute connection with the ocean. As the design itself would make conventional construction prohibitive, the concept utilizes Modscape’s modular design and prefabrication technologies to deliver a series of stacked modules that are anchored into the cliff face using engineered steel pins. Entry to the home is through a carport on the top floor, where a lift vertically connects the user through each of the descending living spaces. Internally, the living spaces feature minimalistic furnishings to ensure that the transcendent views of the ocean and the unique spatial experience of the location remain the integral focal point of the design.

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text and images via:
Arch Daily: http://goo.gl/C4TwXY
designboom: http://goo.gl/zDswxg
Inhabitat: http://goo.gl/llVeJG
Gizmag: http://goo.gl/swD5Rn
The Inspiration: http://goo.gl/evQkrH
Modscape: http://goo.gl/gXDLDv


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ISSAM FARES INSTITUTE
a project by Zaha Hadid Architects
Bliss, Lebanon, completed 2014
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The ‘Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs’ (IFI), designed by Zaha Hadid Architects, has been completed at the American University of Beirut as part of an on-going campus redevelopment. The facility immediately serves the school’s students and administrators, but on a larger scale is a hub for local, regional, and international academics, researchers, and politicians. The IFI comprises a rigorous educational program that the design of this building seeks to facilitate. It aims to harness, develop, and initiate research of the arab world, in order to enhance and broaden debate on public policy and international relations.

The IFI was established as a neutral, dynamic, civil, and open space where people representing all viewpoints in society cangather and discuss significant issues, anchored in a long-standing commitment to mutual understanding and high quality research. The institute aims to harness, develop and initiate research of the Arab world to enhance and broaden debate on public policy and international relations. It currently works on several programs addressing the region’s issues including the refugee crisis, climate change, food security, and water scar city, youth, social justice and development, urbanism, and the UN in the Arab world. 

In 2006, the competition jury selected ZHA’s proposal to build the new institute. The design significantly reduces the building’s footprint by ‘floating’ much of the IFI’s facilities above the entrance courtyard to preserve the existing landscape integral to the 2002 master-plan, create a new public space for the campus, and establish links from the university’s Central Oval to the Middle Campus and Mediterranean Sea to the north.

The 3,000 sq. m. Issam Fares Institute building is defined by the many routes and connections within AUB; interweaving the pathways and views within the campus to create a forum for the exchange of ideas – a centre of interaction and dialogue – at the heart of the university.

By elevating a majority of the building’s mass through a large cantilever on the structure’s west side, the building’s footprint is greatly reduced, allowing for an increase in outdoor public spaces. The surrounding landscape was given thorough attention to create fluid linkages from the campus to the interior, while also producing areas for relaxation. The two ground floor entrances seek to blur the boundary between inside and outside, and interweave at their meeting point to create a center point of circulation.

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Arch Daily: http://goo.gl/Shb2uT
designboom: http://goo.gl/MClg5c

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Great design!
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KEŽMARSKÁ HUT
a project by Atelier 8000
High Tatras, Slovakia, competition entry 2014
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Atelier 8000 has design a sustainable mountain hut for Slovakia’s High Tatras as part of the Kežmarská Chata (Kežmarská Hut) international competition. Seated on one of its vertices, the simple cube “evokes an erratic block left behind by the retreating glacier,” while it’s “sharp edges” blend into the mountain backdrop.

“Thanks to the positioning of the construction, three sides of the facade are visible from any viewing point, which amplifies the play of light and shadows – the same effect which can be observed on the neighboring rocks,” described Atelier 8000. “The glass surfaces of windows and photovoltaic panels along with the light transparency of the metal plating complete the whole picture of the site with a touch of glimmer – just like the glints and reflections which can be observed on the surface of a mountain lake or on thawing ice.”

The construction is built with glued laminated timber beams made from larch wood. The aluminum facade system is designed in the form of square panels. The dimensions of the individual elements of the facade are designed in the module of 1×1 meter to facilitate easy handling and transport to the building site.

At its base, the hut provides a snowmobile garage, staff entrance, ski storage, drying room and restrooms. The ground floor is made up of a restaurant and deck, while the upper floors accommodate sleeping and emergency recovery areas.

In terms of its energy generation and consumption the hut has been developed as a passive building. The shape and orientation of the hut maximize solar energy, while parts of the facade with energy generation units are oriented southwards and eastwards to face the sunrays directly.

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text and images via:
Arch Daily: http://goo.gl/GK7D85
designboom: http://goo.gl/H78gGq
Inhabitat: http://goo.gl/oP8puL
Dezeen: http://goo.gl/eQGzRM
Gizmodo: http://goo.gl/EqE5Nu

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HOUSE IN BYOUBUGAURA
a project by Takeshi Hosaka
Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan, completed 2012
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A regular concrete box and glass facade define the exterior of Byoubugaura by Japanese practice Takeshi Hosaka Architect, but further observation reveals quite a unique interactive home with unexpected spaces. The home consists of a basement level and two floors above grade - simple in program but complex in structure. The concrete floor plates are drastically curved upwards at the front and rear facades, allowing no direct view into the spaces, which are in reality sunken below the grid established by the structure. No matter which floor you are on, they feel the exact same, blurring the spatial distinction between below and above grade. The design also blocks the site of neighboring structures around the house and instead  wooden floors make the house livable and reflect the indirect light seeping in through the walls. Four glass panes at each level slide back and forth allowing for a variety open-air configurations. A circular stairway slicing through the bend in the floor plate connects level, exposing a small section of the floor construction. 

From the Architect:
A house with a basement and two floors above ground was planned in a residential area in Yokohama, which is characterized by rolling hills. The 60-square meter site is sandwiched by existing houses to the south and the north. On the east side, the site faces a 3m-tall retaining wall. In these ways, the site at first looked like it was buried by the surroundings.

In response, the design sought to pull in an equal amount of light and wind in section to both the basement and the ground level. Each floor was given the same ceiling height. The slab on each floor was bent near the exterior to give the same window size in section to each floor. When looking at the elevation, the same four sliding windows line up as if to indicate that the house, with a height of a two-story building, is three stories tall.

In the basement, a wind unexpected in a room located underground travels from the window on the east to the window on the west. Moreover, the core height of the furniture was set at 300mm below the slab so that the wind would travel above it. The ceiling of the concrete, which gradually rise, invites natural light to the interior. The green of the slope on the east side can be seen at the end of the rising ceiling.

On the first floor, the rising floor blocks view from the street and ensures privacy, while also inviting light and wind from outside. In addition, the oppressive feeling exuded by the 3m-tall retaining wall on the east side is skillfully minimized by the rising floor, directing the eye to the green that is beyond. An acryl was used for the toilet’s ceiling, located in the core furniture of the first floor, allowing natural light to enter even though it is placed at the center of the floor.

The second floor gradually slopes to provide a comfortable space as if to replicate the hills outside. The roof slab is also slightly bent. This was done to prevent the rainwater that collects on the parapet-less roof from flowing to the windows. The water that is collected at the center travels to the ground through the slit on the southern wall.

The design sought to build a house with one basement floor and two stories above ground in which the levels underground and above ground are stacked in an equal way. However, once the framework was completed at the site, everyone began to call the basement the first floor, the first floor the second floor, and the third floor the second floor. In the end, we could not tell which floor was which, giving life to a very intriguing house in which you are above the ground while you remain below it.

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Arch Daily: http://goo.gl/hlcejD
designboom: http://goo.gl/Xa6cnB
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A digital archive of architecture and design from around the web.
Introduction
Here at +@rchitecture we take great pride in scouring the information superhighway for great architecture and design to showcase.  Each post consists of a collection of photos highlighting the featured project and an accompanying description.  This collection originally started as a Tumblr blog, but now we've added Google+ to the mix as a further resource for promoting architecture and design. Please visit our blog at rchitecture.co for further information.

Copyright Notice:
The majority of the photos shared on this sight were not created by @rchitecture. We make no claim that any of the images posted are ours unless stated otherwise and we make every effort to credit the source(s) where text and images were obtained. The original owner(s) retains all legal and intellectual property rights. If additional credit is needed, we will gladly update any post.