High in the Dolomite mountains lies an interesting looking faceted residence entitled The Cube House and designed by Plasma Studio. Settled on a steep terrain, between two existing properties in the village of Sesto, the contemporary property is creatively adapted to its environment. Triangular extensions of the facade fuse with the slope, as if rooting the building to its landscape.
According to the architects, it is the steep site that shaped the form of the project. The main living zones in the first floor and the bedrooms in the second floor are accessed via a small staircase located on the ground floor: “The single functions cooking/ eating and living are positioned around the circulation core in order to give connectivity and privacy at the same time. In the second floor, the single sleeping rooms are connected to each other in the shortest possible way”. South and east-facing balconies open up the house towards the magnificent views, while doubling the amount of floor space.
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
Energy during the construction process was saved by using FSC-certified glulam timber instead of steel to create the building’s distinctive wavy roof, while the store’s external walls use hemclad, a highly innovative insulator made from hemp, which, like all plants, absorbs CO2 from the atmosphere as it grows. An 80,000 litre water tank below ground provides water for the store’s toilets and waters the site’s green wall’, which provides natural insulation, acts as an all-natural pollution filter near the car park, and helps to encourage biodiversity. The result is a building that uses a fraction of the energy of structures of a similar size, and is still very popular with local shoppers.