Villa At (House) by Todd Saunders
2018 - 2019, Platinum A' Architecture, Building and Structure Design Award Winner
Villa AT emphasises and enhances the strong connection to landscape, promoting the best sightlines while also preserving a sense of intimacy and privacy. ‘We take pride in how our work respects the landscape,’ says Saunders, ‘and these clients knew the site intimately; where the sun went down, the best views, where the wind was the strongest, they would paddle kayak in the mornings and evenings – they knew everything about the land.’
Villa AT is located on a high vantage point, with an L-shaped floor plan pivots around a long curved glass façade, offering cinematic views of the landscape. The house stands in contrast to these boxy, conventional forms with a curving façade that uses wood in a fluid, contemporary way. Thin timber slats gently curve around the façade to create strong but soft forms. From a distance, the Villa AT has a serene, minimal appearance, but up close the rough texture of timber slats become apparent.
Design Challenges
Saunders describes the design process as a ‘riddle.’ ‘We kept reaching solutions, but knew there was a better one,’ he says, ‘Then one day I took some cardboard and a glue gun and started sketching on that. I came up with the softer forms you see, which combine functional design with the flow of daily life.’
Production Technology
The house sits on a podium, with wraparound terraces and steps that accommodate the changes in level and a roof that extends over the external spaces to create shelter from the weather. Steps made of local stone lead down to a swimming pool and terrace overlooking the water; the pool is treated as a strong geometric element set amidst the existing natural contours. Inside, finishes and fittings use a simple, reduced palette, with white walls and wooden floors throughout. Slatted timber ceilings mirror the exterior façade, which in turn evoke the area’s traditionally built houses.
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