Monday, July 14, 2014
This design is right up my alley with the water, the openness and the plants.
Description by Guz Architects
On a relatively small site at the end of a cul-de-sac, Wilkinson designed a tropical courtyard house with an identical parti to the Sun House: two pavilions on an L-shaped plan are placed at the perimeter, looking over a water garden comprising a large fishpond with an archipelago of tree-filled islands, which appears to merge with a lap pool encased in a sheer glass rim. These two houses are described by Wilkinson as his ‘most watery’, and the Cluny House does reinforce the oft-repeated observation that small tropical houses come alive when water is used as the focal point of a central courtyard. But to refer to this house as small seems rather incongruous, as the scale and transparency of the landscape, and the reflections of the sky and trees in the pond, conspire to allude to the infinite, with the architectural massing all but hidden. Wilkinson was using the water garden to draw the eye away from the structure and the elements, thus creating an over-riding illusion.
At the request of the client, the main staircase was enclosed within the house, a decision that prevented the usual two-level promenade architecturale of Wilkinson’s open circulation routes, which pass through an exposed staircase zone. As the house thus comprises two discrete floors, it possesses a distinctively dissimilar appearance on elevation to his contemporaneous houses. Wilkinson was able to turn this to his advantage, however, as by cantilevering second floor roof gardens along the length of the uniform elevation, he created a barrier of greenery to screen the upper level, so that the mass of the house appears recessed, hidden by the plantings. Further visual trickery was employed in the landscaping to hide the proportions of the architecture: Wilkinson was concerned that the proportions of the open verandah, projecting into the water garden, would appear short and stubby, so he spanned a vine draped trellis over the pool to continue the form and length of the fin-wall in the verandah.
The Cluny House was orientated towards its views, but every view is internal, confined within the boundaries of the site. Wilkinson designed a completely self-referential world, which provides its own delights and creates its own micro-climate. The most sublime vista is to be had from the long L-shaped walkway beneath the lip of the cantilevered roof gardens, where the low wide soffits ripple and sparkle in the sunlight reflected from the surface of the ponds. The panorama of tropical fecundity is languid and luscious, framed and contained by Wilkinson’s careful delineation of line and edge.
Monday, July 7, 2014
Description by Leverone Design
This classically modern 1950′s pied-a-terre is located on San Francisco’s Nob Hill. Perched above Huntington Park and a stones throw from Grace Cathedral, the building’s multiple steel framed windows give access to extraordinary views. Never wanting to compete with the exceptional urban setting, a neutral gray palette was chosen for the interior’s backdrop. The introduction of oak paneling and the layering of rich deep blue’s add warmth and calm. Soft wools and crisp linens wrap tailored, sophisticated furniture – transforming the previously cold and sterile space into an inviting interior that stands up to its world class location.
Wednesday, May 28, 2014
Sunday, May 25, 2014
Description by Smart Design Studio
This exciting renovation and extension of a turn-of-the-century terrace house in Sydney’s Potts Point focuses on a grand and gracefully spiralling stair that forms the pivotal junction of the old and new parts of the house. The staircase, spanning the width of the building, features delicate fan-like steel treads cantilevered from the central steel post and winding their way past six split levels, offset between the old and new sides of the house. The stair was conceived as the element that grafts the contemporary and new minimal structure to the refined, trimmed and formal older portion of the dwelling.
Spacious living areas and private zones open out from each side of the stair with one area per level alternating between the old and new building. Formal living, dining, kitchen and informal living; master suite, guest suite, study and laundry: each zone maintains a natural sense of privacy from the other through the offset in level yet maintains a sense of interconnection in the openness and movement created by the stair.
Internally, finishes in the old portion of the house are contemporary and elegant in a stripped-classical style with deep flush skirting boards, mannered panelled doors and wide timber floorboards, all in gloss white paint and offset by richly coloured set plaster walls. In contrast, the mainly white extension with the same gloss white floorboards, features a black stained timber-boarded joinery element across three levels. Bronze window frames, ironmongery and trims unite both portions of the three-storey home.
Externally, the connection to the outdoors is accentuated through a 13 metre clear span wall of sliding doors that overlooks a pocket garden. An addition to this, the bi-folding doors are concealed by joinery to provide a seamless connection to the tiered rear garden with mature pepper tree. This house offers extraordinary spaces complemented by confident forms, understated design and exquisite detail.