Architecture studio Alter & Company has updated a mid-century house in East Sussex, England, using a layout and materials palette inspired by trips to Sri Lanka.
Bawa House, named after Sri Lankan modernist Geoffrey Bawa, is a renovation of a typical two-storey detached house built in the 1960s.
Alter & Company's design sees the interior layout reconfigured to better connect with the gardens – just like many of Bawa's projects – while the exterior features a new cladding of vertical larch battens.
The Sri Lanka reference originally came from the property's owners, who love the country and spend a lot of time there. They run a travel company, Soul & Surf, which specialises in surfing and yoga trips.
For Alter & Company directors Grant Shepherd and Leith Mckenzie, this led them to explore some of Bawa's house designs, with a particular focus on the flow through indoor and outdoor living spaces.
By adding extensions to the ground floor on both sides, then flipping the orientation of the existing staircase, they were able to create a more open-plan ground floor for Bawa House with various openings to the gardens.
"The house is positioned central to the plot, which enabled us to design a house that had multiple vistas into the gardens," said Shepherd.
"Taking from Bawa's work a distinct relationship the interior has with its landscape, our approach was to make it feel like the garden opens on to the interior, not the other way around," he told Dezeen.
Externally the 200-square-metre building looks very different.
The new larch cladding on the upper section of the walls made it possible for extra insulation to be added, improving the building's thermal performance. Brickwork is still exposed below, but has been painted in a dark grey shade.
"The style of the architecture is very much a retro-mod villa," said Mckenzie.
"However, the experience of the house looks to Bawa's architecture for sense of approach, relationship to nature, and attention to craftsmanship and materials."
Inside, the house brings together a range of materials, tones and textures.
In the ground-floor kitchen, dining and living areas, a mix of dark and light surfaces include a black tiled fireplace, oak parquet flooring, a two-tone kitchen and wooden pocket doors.
The hallway features a soft shade of pink, while the bathrooms feature dark green, hexagonal tiles and speckled terrazzo.
With the new layout, the house now contains four bedrooms. In addition to the three upstairs, there is now a guest suite on the ground floor that might one day house an elderly parent.
"Turning the existing staircase around opened up a number of spatial opportunities," added Mckenzie.
"It allowed us to remove the landing floor and create a double-height entrance hall, and it better connected the bedrooms and bathrooms, which in turn meant the master suite became more private," he added.
This main bedroom now includes an oak window seat overlooking the south garden.
Photography is by Lorenzo Zandri.
A courtyard designed to create an "idealised atmosphere of the Pacific Northwest" sits at the centre of this house in Seattle by local architects Chadbourne + Doss.
Named The Perch, the three-storey house is located in the city's residential Queen Anne Hill neighbourhood. Facing west to enjoy views of the Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains, the home encircles "a courtyard that encapsulates an idealised atmosphere of the Pacific Northwest," according to Chadbourne + Doss.
This central outdoor space is accessed by pivoting open a large cedar door, revealing a mossy island and a tree enclosed by board-formed concrete walls.
"One is greeted with the sights and sounds of a water feature with a lush island, walnut swings that float over the water, and a patio with fire pit that opens to western views of the [Puget] Sound," the architects added.
The courtyard separates the two wings of the 5,500-square-foot (511-square-metre) home.
The owner's quarters occupy the western half of the house, while the east has space for entertaining guests, or potentially hosting a future caretaker for the residents.
A dramatic suspended staircase connects the two halves, and overlooks the courtyard through a window wall that spans the full height of the building.
Stair treads are made of walnut, while vertical blackened steel rods form balusters that are intended to reference the area's high annual rainfall.
All of the home's bedrooms are on the intermediate level. Here, the architects also included a secondary sitting area and kitchenette, which could be used by long-term guests, family, or a live-in caretaker.
"They wanted a house that would age well, support their active lifestyle, and adapt as they age," Chadbourne + Doss said of the homeowners.
The upper level contains the public areas, which have an open-concept configuration that makes the most of the dramatic sunset views towards the Salish Sea.
"The landscape is ever-changing, with views of the Olympic Mountains on gloriously sunny days and urban vistas in the foreground when the fog hangs low," the architects said.
Sliding glass doors open out onto a covered balcony, which helps residents enjoy the outdoors despite Seattle's frequent rain. On the eastern side of the home, another terrace has a large dining table and a barbecue, offering of the city.
The exterior palette includes board-formed concrete, metal siding, and red cedar, all of which were chosen for their durability and low maintenance.
Chadbourne + Doss also included sustainable features such as high-performance windows, and a photovoltaic array on the roof that produces more energy than the occupants consume.
The minimalist interiors feature muted tones, with tactile accents that include a three-storey plaster surface alongside the staircase and a light-coloured felt wall covering in the owner's bedroom.
Chadbourne + Doss is led by Lisa Chadbourne and Daren Doss, a couple who met while studying architecture at the University of Washington. They established their firm in Seattle in 2001, and also have an office in Astoria, Oregon.
Other homes in Seattle include a modernist floating home on Lake Union by Studio DIAA, and a historical bungalow that was refurbished by Best Practice Architecture.
The photography is by Kevin Scott.
Production designer Alex McDowell has launched Planet Junk, a project that invites university students to imagine a future world that is built on the detritus of our current planet.
The project, which McDowell first introduced during a panel discussion with Twinmotion on redesigning the world, started with the fundamental question: what if we destroy ourselves as a civilisation?
From this prompt, McDowell challenged students from 12 universities across six continents to use his "World Building" technique to come up with a society that exists 300 years from now.
The World Building technique involves creating conceptual versions of a world in which "characters" can be inserted to test the environment.
To start building their worlds, the students – who come from a diverse range of fields such as architecture and economics – examined current events and disasters across the planet in order to look forward.
"We've created a new society in 300 years, but we had to look back at this destroyed civilization in order to extract all of the things that are really valuable for a new society," McDowell told Dezeen.
"We start off with how you can create a realistic world. In order to do that, you need to reflect on what's happening right now in the sense of global warming, rising sea levels, fires, the pandemic and so on," he explained.
For example, in San Francisco where McDowell teaches, students are exploring how the current rise in homelessness might look in a new world.
One of the concepts they came up with is a world in which the hierarchy of our current society is turned on its head.
"The people who would be the least valuable or the most useless in surviving a future world would be the technologists. So Silicon Valley would be of no value whatsoever," said McDowell.
"But homeless and indigenous tribes who are deeply resourceful would have the most chance of survival so they would move to the top of the hierarchy."
Each of the 12 universities currently involved in the project will come up with their own new world, based on catastrophes unique to their region.
"One of the things that quickly emerged out of this was that if we took a global view, we'd start amassing this deep, informed view from multiple different cultures," McDowell said.
The university team will then create an online museum, or "junk archive" as McDowell calls it, where users can log in and traverse the different worlds in one place.
Although the project has dystopian qualities, McDowell is confident that at its core, it is aspirational.
"As much as it sounds like this, the intent is not dystopian but quite the reverse: if the world is destroyed, what would you do differently?" he said.
McDowell's World Building technique was first used in films such as the Minority Report and Man of Steel.
It has since been transferred to practical applications, like the development of future cities in the face of refugee migrations.
The project aligns with Dezeen's Redesign the World competition, in partnership with Epic Games, which calls for radical proposals to rethink planet Earth.