Somehow, the idea of living in a concrete house doesn’t sound that appealing and that’s because of the cold nature of this material. Concrete is not warm or soft or pleasant to the touch like wood is for example and that gives it a bad reputation in a certain sense. But what we don’t take into consideration in those cases is the versatility, durability and in a way also the beauty of concrete. All of these are characteristics which can be exploited in great ways by architects and designers and these dream concrete houses are perfect examples.
Would a concrete house look out of place in a forest clearing or on a plot where the only neighbors are the trees and grass? Well, yes and no. Look at Konieczny’s Ark, a project developed by KWK Promes in Krakow, Poland. It’s a house that was shaped by the site on which it stands in the sense that given the remoteness of the site, security was an issue so the architects found a clever solution: to design the house in such a way that only one corner touches the ground while the rest of the building hands over the edge of the hill. This solution also reduced the risk of landslide as rain water flown naturally under the house. So, you see, even if this concrete box doesn’t really seem to blend in at first, it’s actually very well adapted to its location.
The idea of living in a fortress can sound pretty awesome. You’d definitely have plenty of privacy and security but how would such a structure have to look like so it could more or less fit in a usual urban or rural setting? An answer to this question can be the house designed by Anako Architecture along the Rhone in Switzerland. The project uses concrete as a primary material and the house looks a lot like what would be a modern and stylized version of a fortress. It has an unusual form which mimics the silhouettes of the Alps visible in the distance. Walls of raw concrete define the facade and set a border between the interior spaces and the surroundings.
But not all concrete houses look like compact boxes or fortresses. This residence in Mexico City proves that a concrete home can also be open to the surroundings. This was a project by JJRR/Arquitectura. The architects made sure that the house takes full advantage of its location and in particular the views by elevating the building 1.3 meters above the ground. Full-height windows and a green roof terrace allow the house to blend in naturally and to open up the interior spaces to the views and the vast outdoors.
For a house that tries to close itself off as much as possible in respect to the street and the neighbors, this family home has surprisingly open spaces and facades. This unusual combination was achieved by moarqs + OTTOLENGHI architects by combining two contrasting materials: concrete and glass. The design strategy was to have a more open ground floor while the first floor is closed and private. Both floors have full-height glass walls but the difference is that there’s a concrete shell which wraps around the upper floor, framing the spaces and blocking the views but at the same time allowing them to be fully open to the courtyard.
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