When space is an issue building up is a solution few designers dare to do. Here are 7 homes that successfully solve spatial challenges of city living by expanding upwards.
House NA from 2011 has glass walls and a steel structural frame containing a matrix of tiny rectangular rooms and outdoor terraces, each on a separate floor level linked by stairs, ladders, or movable steps. Hemmed in by neighboring homes on three sides and a narrow street in front, the house belongs to a couple clearly at ease with Tokyo’s urban condition.
The striking black facade of Pieter Weijnen's new home is the result of the Japanese practice of charring wood. Weijnen, an architect at the Amsterdam firm Faro, first discovered charred wood through the work of Terunobu Fujimori and later traveled to the Japanese island of Naoshima to observe the traditional technique. Photos by Hans Peter Follmi.
The designer added a 500-square-foot third floor—hidden from the street—with a small, bluestone roof deck, to create a master suite. The roofline was reoriented due south and covered in a combination of solar thermal panels by Stielbel Eltron (to heat the domestic hot water) and Unirac SolarMount SunFrame with 190w photovoltaic panels (for electricity). The rear facade, like the top-floor addition, is faced in rectangular panels of black rainscreen Richlite over exterior mineral wool insulation. Photo by Hai Zhang.
While most people living in the Fort Greene neighborhood of Brooklyn didn’t see much to love about an abandoned, weedy lot squeezed between two old town houses, one couple couldn’t help but see it as an opportunity to finally build their own home. Though the couple’s house is much younger than its immediate neighbors, it manages to fit right in—adding to, rather than detracting from, the neighborhood’s historic character. Photo by Dean Kaufman.
Yvette Leeper-Bueno and Adrian Bueno’s home, on West 112th Street, is recognizable by its two-story bay window angled to bring light and views into the dark, narrow structure. The house’s 38-foot-high rear wall conceals the two-story stair. Photo by Adam Friedberg.
Making the most of vertical space unleashes the potential of a petite San Francisco project. Architect Christi Azevedo clad the newly raised section of the house—which is located adjacent to a furniture and metal workshop—in ReziBond steel. “It looks great, it’s affordable, it’s easy to install, and it can be sourced locally,” she says. “You get the custom metal siding look for not that much money.”