While it’s true that we all wish to feel safe in the privacy of our home, to know that those walls separate us from everything that’s happening outside, we also want to feel like a part of the whole picture. There’s also lots of beauty outside and we want to be able to admire it. It’s why we open our homes towards the outside world by opting for floor-to-ceiling windows and glass facades. These contemporary homes are wonderful examples.
Two-faced cottage on Loosdrechtse Lake.
When you get to build your home is a beautiful environment like this one, you obviously want to be able to enjoy it. In the cold of winter there’s no better way to do that than from the coziness of your home, through the glass walls. This beautiful country cottage is located on Loosdrechtse Lake, on an island that measures 5 meters by 100 meters.
The cottage was designed and built by Netherlands’ architecture firm 2by4-architects. We’ve mentioned that it’s a two-faced cottage and that’s because it seems to have two different identities, depending on where you’re staying when you’re looking at it. From one side, it looks like a traditional cottage with wood cladding and a pitched roof. From the other side, however, it’s a modern home with a glass façade that both separates it from the exterior and brings it closer to nature.
When the weather is friendly, one portion of the glass façade opens and the deck becomes an extension of the interior. The outdoors and the indoors are no longer separated. Inside, even though the space is limited, this cottage seems airy and spacious. It contains a kitchen, a bathroom, even a storage space. In the center there’s a suspended fireplace that can be rotated to face either the interior or the exterior.
The Flip House from San Francisco, California.
Located in San Francisco, California, the Flip House impresses with its striking contemporary design. However, the house is not a modern creation. It has been around for quite some time but only recently it gained a new identity. It was all thanks to Fougeron Architecture who gave it a completely new look.
Their task was to transform the house, to give a modern look and to restructure its interior. Another important request was to reconnect the house to the beautiful surrounding landscape. Responding to all these requests was challenging. The house basically had to be reinvented. The façade and the interior spaces had to be redesigned. The house had several levels but they didn’t actually communicate with each other like they should.
The orientation of the house was not ideal either. But all that was going to change. Soon, the back of the house became its primary façade. It got a faceted custom-built glass wall that opened it towards the exterior and allowed the sun to finally get through. The glass wall has three vertical panels and that be pushed in and out and that create a dynamic look. The internal organization also went through serious changes. The living spaces were moved to the back of the house and the bedrooms were brought to the front.
The Möllmann Residence in Germany.
The Möllmann Residence is located near Bielefeld in Germany and it was designed and built by Wannenmacher + Möller. Since it’s situated in a rural region, one of the concerns when building the house was to integrate it into the surroundings. The architects had to find a way to make it modern without standing out too much.
The house was designed as a rectangular structure with a double pitched roof. It has masonry facades on three sides and this allows it to seamlessly blend in. But don’t let the exterior fool you. The house is still modern, even though it might not seem the case when you see it from the street. The traditional architecture is just a formal detail meant to disguise the house and to allow it to blend into the surroundings.
The interior of the house is modern. It has an open plan and, on the side, the glass façade almost completely eliminates the barrier between interior and exterior. The main living spaces are very airy and spacious. The numerous built-in storage spaces keep everything out of the way, allowing the rooms to be clutter-free. The furniture is also minimalist and the materials used for the interior include sandstone for the floors, white plaster for the walls, oak for the furniture and glass and aluminum for the windows.
Contemporary residence in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Located in Johannesburg, South Africa, this striking contemporary residence was designed by SAOTA – Stefan Antoni Olmesdahl Truen Architects and ANTONI ASSOCIATES. The team was asked to come up with a design for a contemporary home for an extended family. The site chosen had a gentle slope and it was surrounded by trees. The privacy that was already provided by the site allowed the architects to come up with a design that almost completely opens the house towards the exterior.
The house was separated into two zones that share a common entrance and driveway. They are basically two houses with U-shaped designs that are organized around the courtyard. But, even though the two houses are separated one from the other, they also share a series of communal spaces. For example, the ribbon spiral staircase connects the two volumes in the center. The main living spaces along with the kitchen are located to the north. The games room, the gym and the pool are situated to on the west side.
The wet-facing façade features a series of large shutters that drop below the level of the first floor and they provide protection from the sun and privacy. What’s beautiful here is the fact that all the rooms that are organized around the internal courtyard have floor-to-ceiling windows that open them towards the exterior and thus let the outdoors in.
Contemporary house in Costa d’en Blanes.
On this long and narrow plot there once was an old house. It was charming but it no longer responded to its owner’s needs. It’s why SCT Estudio de Arquitectura was commissioned to demolish the house and to build a new one in its place. The new house is located in Costa d’en Blanes in Mallorca, Spain and has a very interesting contemporary design.
Since the owners already knew what they didn’t like about the old house that used to be there, they knew exactly what to ask for when the architects started designing the new one. They wanted the internal organization to be a little different than it used to. The lower level became the night zone and the upper level the day zone. It was a decision based on privacy and views.
The clients asked for a very simple and clean design for their new home. The side facades were imagined like a ribbon that folds to form lateral panels and slabs. These structural elements contain the living areas on each floor. The so-called ribbon is made of concrete while the walls are made of glass. This creates a very interesting contrast. The new house has a contemporary design and features a beautiful patio, a covered terrace, an open terrace and a strong indoor-outdoor connection also resulted from the use of glass walls that provide beautiful, panoramic views.
The Nettleton 198 house in Cape Town.
Nettleton 198 house is a contemporary home that can be found in Clifton, Cape Town, South Africa. It was designed by Stefan Antoni Olmesdahl Truen Architects, better known as SAOTA. They designed the house for a British couple living in Cape Town. The clients wanted the house to be contemporary as well as spacious.
The architects came up with a design for a house that has seven levels. It’s not exactly the small and cozy house one would imagine a single couple would want. This house has six bedrooms and most of the rooms feature wonderful and panoramic views of the surrounding landscape. The house was built on an already existing structure. The lower levels were entirely remodeled and the upper level of the original building was demolished in order to make room for two new floors.
But even though the house is large and imposing, it doesn’t stand out much. That’s mostly because of the façade and the dark colors that were used. They allow the house to blend in by presenting characteristics similar to those of the mountain. The views from there are amazing. The panoramas over the sea are spectacular and the glass façade shows them in their entire splendor.
Loft Bauhaus in Brasilia.
We now turn our attention towards Brasilia, the capital city of Brazil, where a beautiful contemporary house was recently built. The house is called Loft Bauhaus and it was designed by Ana Paula Barros. The design is simple as well as intriguing. The building features huge windows which are actually the glass façade, supporting pillars and an open plan.
The structure and design of the house are characterized by straight lines and very clean details. Nevertheless, this doesn’t make it seem cold and uninviting. The materials used for the construction include stone, iron and wood which are all organic, natural elements that add character and beauty to the house. The result is a very nicely-balanced structure. The house contains a large living room that also features a dining area and has a balcony. The bathroom is open towards the garden and features a large glass wall. The kitchen is part of the open plan along with the dining room.
Given the locations, special care had to be given to the elements related to climate. It’s why the ventilation was an important detail. The house was raised 60 cm off the ground and has under-floor heating. The open spaces between the roof and the glass walls were designed to regulate the natural ventilation by letting the hot air escape.
The Gibbon Street House in Brisbane.
This house can be found in Brisbane, Australia. It was designed and built by Shaun Lockyer Architects and has a contemporary look. But it’s not exactly a main house. It is, in fact, an extension that was built for a Queenslander cottage. It’s situated on a small lot and contrasts greatly with the main volume.
The contemporary design was chosen in an attempt to update the already existing structure and its architecture. Of course, the two volumes were not meant to resemble but to contrast. The striking juxtaposition is unusual and it’s not just because of the design. The materials and colors used for the extension also differ from those of the existing house.
The extension contains four bedrooms and two living areas. It also features a study. The already existing volume contains several more bedrooms along with the garage and the service areas. The extension is a double height space so it’s as imposing on the inside as it is on the outside. The glass façade allows lots of natural light to invade the living spaces. The materials and colors used to build this extension are dark and strategically chosen to create a cool space that would shift the attention towards the exterior.
Striking residence in Los Angeles, California.
The last house we’ve included in this extended article is located in Los Angeles, California. It’s a contemporary residence that was built in 2010 and that was designed by Griffin Enright Architects. What’s particularly interesting about this house is the fact that it seems modest when seen from the street but it hides a spectacular design.
The location is amazing and allows panoramic views of the canyon to be admired from the interior. The property features a small front yard and a large backyard with views of the city and the canyon. The house has a huge porch, also designed to take advantage of the views. The entrance reveals the main living area. It has telescoping doors that reveal the backyard and transform this area into a covered porch.
But the beautiful views can also be enjoyed and admired from the inside thanks to the glass façade. The large porches provide protection against the summer sunlight and heat without obstructing the views. The upper level also features a sort of open court that divides the master bedroom and the children’s bedrooms. It serves as an open deck and contributes to the house’s overall unique design.