Tag Archives: corten

house of concrete and corten.

Concrete is the predominant material used in this beautifully considered renovation in an otherwise archetypal Victorian terrace in West London.

Cast insitu and finely detailed, it is used for floors, walls and furniture elements. Forming a storage unit or bench, walls and plinths change level or quietly recede, accommodating the day-to-day activities of a family – eating, reading, playing – whilst blurring the traditional division of rooms. The boundary is further blurred between indoor and outdoor spaces with a large window seat projecting into the garden.

The facade is clad in Corten steel with its wonderful rusted, oxide patina. Inside, Grey Elm joinery,  pale walls and brass fixtures also soften the palette and add warmth to the cool, grey concrete.

mxl-ingersoll-web-12_ohl.mxl-ingersoll-web-18_ohl.mxl-ingersoll-web-7_ohl.mxl-ingersoll-web-29a-web.1428664808mxl-ingersoll-web-32_ohl.mxl-ingersoll-web-27_ohl.

Moving up through he building, the existing structure and materials are allowed to coexist with the new. A palette of Douglas Fir floor boards, light coloured walls and exposed brickwork are the basis for a loft extension. A built-in desk extends the width of the study and becomes an open shelf as it wraps around the corner.

To me, this is the perfect solution for contemporary family living. What you think?

More Ingersoll Road by Mclaren Excell, here.

elemental house.

What was a crumbling stone stable in the countryside of western Spain is now a totally self-sufficient family home. Too remote to be connected to an electrical grid or water supply, the converted stable utilizes renewable energy sources such as hydro electricity and drinking and bathing water from two nearby streams. Deep eaves help control summer sun, large wooden shutters that slide closed like a second skin cover the windows at night to trap the daily solar heat gain.

The rustic stone of the exterior was restored using cement and local stone. Windows sit within deep recesses and can be screened behind large wooden shutters, referencing old stable doors. Within, floors are limestone, walls of exposed concrete are interspersed with slender metal posts and pale wood-lined ceilings rising to form double-height spaces. The internal structure of iron beams, metal posts and corten metal landings and steps are kept deliberately light and elegant. Internal interventions – kitchen units for example – are simple, white and linear. The kitchen bench top extends the length of the main room to form a table for dining, flanked by classic wishbone chairs and minimal black stools.

dezeen_Off-Grid-Home-in-Extremadura-by-Abaton_ss_4stablehouse_ohlimagesimages4

Did you notice the books hanging from the top bunks to allow easy reach?

Off Grid Home in Extremadura by Abaton Architects, here.

More wonderful spaces, here.

corten house.

I first came upon the architecture of John Winter (1930-2012) three years ago, experiencing it first hand in a beach house he owned on the north east Norfolk coast (you can stay there too; details, here). Inspired by Charles Eames’ west coast cabin (he worked with Eames when he moved to San Francisco early in his career), he designed and built the house out of renewable timber, steel and aluminium. It is the simplest of plans being rectilinear in form, with windows running along both of the long sides, and my favorite of all interior spaces – a sunken lounge.

The subject of this post however, is not that house but this one, in Highgate, North London. Built in 1967 by John Winter for his own use, this is a wonderful, proper modernist house, given a rare Grade II* listing by English Heritage: ‘This is a highly influential and unusual house in its structure, materials, plan and aesthetic. It is still a model for minimal housing, as influential today as it was when it was built’.

DSC_1875_LargeDSC_1867_LargeDSC_1735_LargeDSC_1886_LargeDSC_1802_Large

Constructed around a steel frame, the house has huge double-glazed picture windows that flood the interior with light. It is clad in Corten, a steel alloy that weathers naturally to a beautiful dark rust colour. This was the first domestic use of the material in Britain, and the proportions of the house and grid were designed around the dimensions of the standard, factory-produced Corten sheet, so that nothing was wasted.

DSC_1711_LargeHOME_NEW_DSC_2819_2_Large

It has three floors with, unusually for the time, the living room on the top floor, to take advantage of the views over the utterly charming Highgate cemetery and Waterlow park opposite. The interior is all original – kitchen, built-in storage, quarry tiles. The long, low linear shelf which runs the length of one wall is a detail he used often. And there is, of course, fabulous original  furniture – Barcelona arm chairs and coffee table, and Eames’ LCW wood lounge chairs and ubiquitous (but no less than fabulous) DSR chair.

It’s for sale, and sadly, I won’t be buying it. Corten house via The Modern House.

More wonderful spaces, here. More design heros, here.