Combining Asian design influences with a contemporary need for comfort, this villa in Phuket, Thailand is currently up for sale for an impressive $5.4 million. The four-bedroom, oceanfront home is defined by an impressive infinity pool fading into the Andaman Sea and outdoor decks with panoramic views. Concrete, stone, wood and glass ensure the visual diversity of this Phuket villa, which offers surprising details, no matter what the standpoint. Strongly connected to the surrounding environment, the interiors ensure an opulent modern lifestyle, complete with state-of-the art furniture and appliances. Floor to ceiling windows allow complete openness, great illumination and natural cross-ventilation. The interiors are tastefully decorated in a minimalist, contemporary fashion, but due to an extensive use of wood and stone (hinting a warm, diverse crib), the future owners can improvise while personalizing their residence.
Energy during the construction process was saved by using FSC-certified glulam timber instead of steel to create the building’s distinctive wavy roof, while the store’s external walls use hemclad, a highly innovative insulator made from hemp, which, like all plants, absorbs CO2 from the atmosphere as it grows. An 80,000 litre water tank below ground provides water for the store’s toilets and waters the site’s green wall’, which provides natural insulation, acts as an all-natural pollution filter near the car park, and helps to encourage biodiversity. The result is a building that uses a fraction of the energy of structures of a similar size, and is still very popular with local shoppers.
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