Cold or Warm? Concrete Box Houses an Open-Plan Interior

Concrete alone may not be the most welcoming material, but its cool and impersonal properties can invite warm contrast. In this case, a boxy modern concrete-and-glass house exterior give way to a dynamic, open ?and livable home within.

It is probably best to understand this structure in terms of its sequence. So, moving from the outside toward the inside, a resident (or guest) follows the gravel driveway and parks under an unremarkable (minimalist) concrete overhang. On approach, a few windows and the overall shape of the main dwelling suggest there may be more than meets the eye, but mostly one is faced with more concrete, some tinted glass and metal roofing.

On the interior, everything shifts quite suddenly. Space and lines of sight open up drawing the eye across multiple floors, and out the back toward various framed views of natural landscapes beyond. A prominently-suspended fireplace conveys a sense of warmth, reinforced by the collection of logs suspended between floors like a work of abstract modern art.

Few places are truly closed off within the plan, including the bedroom (separated from the main living room by a single suspended sheet) and sculptural bathtub (set underneath the main landing but still exposed to the main-floor common area). Nonetheless, with respect to an observer on the outside, these places remain private and separated – out of view from prying eyes.

While ‘cold’ materials like steel and concrete can be found throughout the home, orange-and-red accents, brown tiles and other mitigating features and fixtures serve to provide a healthy degree of ‘warm’ contract. Also, many of the long interior spans (making such an open plan with thin floors possible structurally) were enabled by the use of these ‘cooler’ materials. ?While it features a ?’modern box’ palette of concrete, steel, glass, black and white, other elements and design strategies make it feel homey as well as contemporary. (Design by Architects Brauning; Images by Dirk Vogel)

See more designs under Contemporary or in the Architecture category:
Supporters