Posts tagged with "single-family home":

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A house of intersecting volumes in upstate New York house offers a geometric, sustainable retreat

Sitting alone in a dense forest clearing, the Sleeve House is composed of two simple intersecting volumes whose relationship produces a series of complex interior spaces and experiences. Designed for urban clients by New York-based actual/office (a/o), the home, two hours north of Manhattan in the Hudson Valley, offers an escape. With expansive views of the Catskill and Taconic mountain ranges and generous spaces provided for art display, the Sleeve House provides a certain lifestyle through architectural moves and a selective material palette. The 2,500-square-foot house is composed of one small and elongated prism slipping into a larger but stouter one. The irregular spaces produced between the two provide for the public programs of the house. An entry gallery leads guests to a large living area, the home’s grandest space. The remainder of this in-between is used for a stair leading to the smaller inner volume, which is mounted in the middle of the house upon concrete supports. Neatly arranged within this volume are the private spaces—bedrooms, a bath, and a study—distinctly separate (formally and metaphorically) from the home’s public areas. “The project is interested in being contemporary, yet having some reference to its context and its site,” explained a/o founder Adam Dayem. “One of the references is old agricultural buildings, barns, and silos you find in upstate New York. They are very simple volumes sitting in the landscape and have these rough and weathered facades from sitting in the elements for one hundred years.” Throughout, a selective palette of materials emphasizes the formal moves of the project while enforcing the separation of public and private. Inside and out, both volumes are clad in shou sugi ban–charred wood siding. Through alternating the orientation and spacing of the continuous black boards, the geometry of the house is emphasized, while at the same time, its surface is activated with depth and pattern. Along with structurally supporting the house, large concrete walls provide space to hang art. Exposed concrete and glass further accentuate the form, appearing on both the exterior and interior. The ends of the volumes are capped with massive glass walls, framing views of the countryside for the enjoyment of which the house was sited. The high level of detail is carried through to the mechanical systems, which are meant to provide comfort while addressing sustainability concerns. The house’s entire electrical system is supplied by solar energy, a true advantage, considering the building’s relatively remote location. Triple-paned glass and radiant heat embedded in the foundational slab keep in as much heat as possible during often brutal Northeast winters, and a heat and energy recovery ventilation system efficiently heats and cools the home all year. Finding a contractor to build a leaning house with unconventional detailing presented its own challenges, but the project’s location in upstate New York helped. “I found that there is a serious culture of high-end design and construction up there. Some contractors did say no, but the contractor I went with, Lorne Dawes, is maybe not a typical contractor. He won’t say no; he will say, ‘Let’s figure this out.’”
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Rios Clementi Hale Studios uses nordic detailing for Habitat 6, a new L.A. “small-lot subdivision” development

Los Angeles–based architects Rios Clementi Hale Studios (RCH Studios), Riley Architects, and Integrated Development recently debuted Habitat 6, a collection of six new single-family homes in Los Angeles’s Los Feliz neighborhood.

The project is made possible by L.A.’s “small-lot subdivision” ordinance, a special land use maneuver instituted back in 2005 aimed at increasing the availability—and density—of single family housing across the city’s existing neighborhoods by allowing developers to subdivide existing lots into multiple properties to build collections of detached single-family residences. More controversially, the project is also the result of a protracted preservation struggle that resulted in the demolition of the Oswald Bartlett House, designed in 1914 by visionary Los Angeles architect Albert C. Martin. Applications for cultural monument status for the home were denied in 2014, paving the way for its demolition and replacement with RCH Studio’s units.

Bob Hale, partner at RCH Studios, described the difference between the design of a traditional single-family residence and a small-lot subdivision project: “The main issue here is that we have a single-family unit that’s part of a multi-family community, so engendering a sense of community in the overall project while maintaining sense of privacy for each of the units was one of the main objectives.”

As with most small-lot subdivision projects, Habitat 6’s site is organized around a central driveway used to access each unit’s two-car garage. In a nod to the normative tract house, each home features a small ground-floor yard. The homes range in size from 1,954 to 2,106 square feet and feature a flexible room on the ground floor, combined living room, kitchen, and dining areas along the second floor and two bedrooms, each with en-suite bathrooms, on the floor above.

Each home sits on a Douglas Fir wood-clad parking plinth, while the buildings’ exteriors are clad in expanses of white stucco interrupted by vertical bands of floor-to-ceiling punched picture windows. Some of these openings wrap the corners, while others are contained within wood-clad recessed and pop-out volumes. The units’ apertures are positioned such that neighboring homes do not face into one another. Inside, living room areas are designed with 10-foot ceiling heights (generous by Los Angeles standards), and feature clean, white walls accented with raw wood planks. Other interior finishes include marble countertops and backsplashes in the kitchen, and tile and board-formed concrete wall surfaces.

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House in Cambridge by Armando and di Robilant

A translucent polycarbonate skin transforms an early-19th century Massachusetts home.

On a well-traveled street in Cambridge, Massachusetts, about halfway between Harvard University and MIT, sits a house not like its neighbors. Its simple massing and pitched roof indicate old bones. But its skin is all 21st century. The house, recently renovated by Alessandro Armando and Manfredo di Robilant, is clad in translucent polycarbonate panels that reveal the structural and insulating layers beneath. For the architects, the project was an experiment in applying a cladding system designed for large-scale projects to a single-family home. “We thought this could be a possible test-bed for something more standard, something that could at least be thought of as a standard way of renovating and improving a typical American detached house,” said di Robilant. “This house is very small, but we’re now trying to fit it toward possible standardization of this approach.” When Armando and di Robilant first visited the house, its facade was in bad shape. Disintegrating wood topped by a layer of metal siding (from a 1960s update) failed to protect the home from Cambridge’s snowy winters and hot summers. The architects peeled away the old materials and thickened the facade’s profile, beginning with a layer of rigid Thermax insulating panels. Around this they built an external skeleton of TimberStrand with Parallam columns, to shore up the house’s structural system. To the timber frame they attached 40-millimeter polycarbonate panels by Rodeca. The Rodeca panels further insulate the house and offer UV protection, but they are transparent enough to provide a glimpse of what lies beneath. “The insulation panels are not directly exposed to the air, but you can see them from the outside,” said Armando. “You can see all the layers, this was one of the main features we expected to achieve, to reveal all the exterior coloring of the house.” The air gap between the inner and outer layers of insulation further boosts the home’s thermal performance, as it funnels hot air up and out before it reaches the interior.
  • Facade Manufacturer Rodeca, Weyerhaeuser, Dow Building Solutions, Bertram Corporation
  • Architects Alessandro Armando and Manfredo di Robilant, Samir Srouji
  • Facade Installer Bertram Corporation
  • Consultants Sami Kassis (Structural Engineering)
  • Location Cambridge, Massachusetts
  • Date of Completion October 2013
  • System polycarbonate panels over laminated timber structure and rigid insulating panels, custom sliding shutters
  • Products Rodeca PC 2540-7 polycarbonate panels, TimberStrand LSL, Parallam PSL columns, Thermax sheathing, custom aluminum shutters by Bertram Corporation
The most eye-catching feature of the renovation is a pair of floor-to-ceiling windows at the northeast corner of the house. Armando and di Robilant encased these in custom mahogany frames, then attached sliding aluminum shutters fabricated by Wisconsin contractors Bertram Corporation to the exterior of the house. The shutters are easy to slide manually along tracks attached to the house’s structural frame. Oversize wheels at the base of each shutter roll along the concrete base at the front of the house. “We made these big wheels to evoke something like a toy, a childish object,” said Armando. The slats of the shutters are spaced far apart near the top of each window to allow daylight to penetrate, and closer together near the bottom, to maximize privacy. In order to accommodate the shutters’ upper rails, Armando and di Robilant drilled holes in the adjacent Rodeca panels. The customization worked: the architects seamlessly integrated the window and panel systems without sacrificing watertightness. “The Rodeca system was born mostly thinking of big facades,” observed di Robilant. “It had been used in a number of cases with more surfaces. Here I think we tested, and I think this test was quite successful, the limits of Rodeca in terms of what is the minimum surface which is still okay for this system.” The architects analogize the facade system to a Russian samovar, or hot water boiler. Like a samovar, with its nested heating element and partly hidden hot-water pipe, the house’s facade reveals its own organizing principle to the knowing eye. “The idea was really to show the anatomy of the skin,” said di Robilant. “We focused our attention on the big window, but it’s also very much about the facade, and the discourse of the metaphor—the samovar.”
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Chicago Group Celebrates Bungalow Belt’s 100th Anniversary

Among Chicago’s architectural peculiarities, none is perhaps better known than its bungalow belt—the swath of elongated, single-family homes that ring the city’s outer neighborhoods and suburbs. Robin Amer has a multimedia look at the past and present of the stout, stone building type for WBEZ. The Historic Chicago Bungalow Association places the arrival of bungalows in Chicago around 100 years ago, and is planning a series of events to celebrate and discuss historic houses next year. The group attributes nearly one-third of the city’s single-family housing stock to the area’s roughly 80,000 bungalows. Amer writes:
There were a small number of bungalows built here in 1907 and 1908, and another handful in 1910. But Mary Ellen Guest, the association's executive director, said that the building of bungalows really picked up a century ago. Bungalows really started to catch fire in 1913 and 1914," Guest said, in large part because a population boom was underway. The city grew by more than 500,000 people—from 2.2 million to 2.7 million—between 1910 and 1920, according to data from the University of Illinois at Chicago.
But the family makes the home, after all, and Amer’s article ultimately puts its focus on Chicago area homeowners who share an affinity for the building type. Take a multimedia tour here.