Hidden behind a semi-opaque perforated panel, the concrete residence, known as The House 0605, defined by Simpraxis Architects in Nicosia, Cyprus, is a modern home, designed for a family of three. The smooth volumetric concrete structure identifies the needs of a family in search of a serene and breezy home environment. Despite the fact that the main material is concrete, the architects didn’t seek to create a cold living space, but to establish a certain harmony between the exterior and the interior.
Rich in…grey shades of concrete and pale neutral colours, the interior is decorated with minimalist, yet stylish furniture: a dark couch, a table with chairs here and there, a neat kitchen and a suspended fireplace. Remember? Less is more. The stairs, the walls, even the ceiling give you the feeling of that industrially-urban unpolished look, reminding us of that great cosmopolite design which adornes the attic lofts from the great cities. The house accommodates a small interior courtyard, embellishing the area with small “mounds” of pebble stones and small tree offsprings. A relaxing swimming pool is also part of the interior courtyard’s design. The access to the pool is made through the open space living area, which reunites the living room, the kitchen and the dining area.
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
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