Staying true to the principles of Japanese architecture, yet adding that little extra that makes a home comfortable and welcoming, Japanese studio ALTS Design Office designed a charming family home in Shiga, Honshu Island. Kofunaki House has a total surface of 1,424 square feet and is structured on two levels. According to the designers, the concept behind the project is the connection between man and nature, a liaison that has been around since ancient times. Large windows connect the interiors with the surrounding landscape, while wood is present throughout the house, inspiring warmth. Pebbles and flower pots, ethereal curtains, cement flooring and plenty of natural light- all these elements diminish the indoor/outdoor borders. Even though the arrangements are minimalist, the design of this contemporary home turns simplicity into bliss. Every room seems especially “equipped” to offer a comfortable life, without the pretentious details most modern home owners put on display. To conclude, the Kofunaki House showcases an “honesty” that I personally love. How do you find it?
What is new and exciting now can quickly begin to look tired and out of fashion, so the best buildings don’t just consider what will be interesting to look at now, but also how it might look to people in five, fifty or even a hundred years’ time. 2013’s hotly contested RIBA Stirling Prize went to Witherford Watson Mann Architects for their work on Astley Castle, Warwickshire. In what RIBA Past President Stephen Hodder has described as an extreme retrofit, the project essentially saw a new building inserted subtly into the heart of the old, with a new, two storey residence now hidden within the sandstone walls of the ruins of this medieval castle, to be used as a holiday home for up to eight guests
Value for money is not, and never was, the same as being cheap. Value for money means making the most of whatever budget is available. A good example of this is Hayes Primary School in London, by Hayhurst and Co. Having to contend with a tightly controlled 3 million local authority budget, they worked with the existing structure of the primary school to give it a much needed update. A striking polished stainless steel brise-soleil facade installed at the school’s entrance, gives the school’s many different buildings a sense of identity, while new classrooms have been created in a range of shapes and sizes, and are often flooded with natural light