Our House In The City
By Christopher William Reeves
Our House in the City is an explosion of stories, dreams and strategies that showcase the best and brightest designs for contemporary city living; city living that is undergoing a downtown revival. For the established architect, the interior designer, the inspiration hungry student, the homeowner, the renter, the trendy young professional and the mother of three, this book is a slice of escapism documenting the best examples of innovative and fresh solutions to modern day city living. From the master plan to the multifunctional cupboard there are endless and proven takes on how to improve your own personal wedge of urban space.
Some say urban living is undergoing something of a revolution, a revolution that is slowly unraveling the suburbanization movement fueled by the aspirations of the masses since the 1950s. In recent years however, citizens have begun to reverse this trend, rejecting the sprawl, the traffic jams and packed trains; slowly and surely life has trickled back into the formerly neglected and crumbling downtown districts of our ever-densifying cities. A rejuvenation of city living is being realized, and some of those lucky enough to have the opportunity to build their dream ‘urban nest’ are featured in ‘Our House in the City’.
Urban Dwelling Revival
From the outset Our House in the City proves its worth in demonstrating novel solutions to complex city living. Studio Velocity’s MontBlanc House is a shining example of clever design and collaboration between resident and architect. The peaked house demonstrates how the home and workplace can be successfully merged. In true ‘Gestalten’ style the reader is readily informed of the story, motivations, aims, challenges and solutions behind the site design. Short and sweet, this story of how and why the build looks and functions as it does is supplemented with beautiful photography and informative floor plans and briefings. One is not left swimming through a sea of detail but intrigued and informed about the urban designs at hand. This process is repeated across the 38-featured buildings, from Japan to Vietnam, the UK to Australia, urban renewal looks good!
Structured in no particular order the reader is free to roam the various designs. Whether the buildings are jammed between residential structures, in districts awaiting renewal or extensions of former industrial sites, the designs show there is no perfect urban location, yet their existance shows that there are solutions available that turn standard or limited space into a personalized home.
House, House by Andrew Maynard Architects is a prime example of such personalization. Two generations of one family have adapted their home against the Australian tradition of wide and low design to create two separate and flexible forms that adapt to the complex moods of their occupants. Such is the kitchen counter that extends through the rear glass wall, enabling outdoor living…inside! Mirrors are strategically placed to create light illusions, obscuring room boundaries to create flexible living areas, whilst automated louvers reflect sunlight from the glass roof, regulating shading and climate control as the user desires.
Following our reviews of Gestalten’s Work Scape, New Space for New Work and The Monocle Guide to Better Living, the German publishing firm have produced another absolute cracker of a book! For any fan of cutting edge visual culture get this one on the wishlist!