November 12, 2020

6 International Houses Make the Most of Their Materials

Wood, stone, concrete, and steel turn these houses and apartments into havens of warmth and light.

Brasília, Brazil Residence by Clarice Semerene Arquitetura

Photography by Joana França.

The Brutalist modernism of Oscar Niemeyer’s iconic city is reflected in the apartment’s bold use of concrete—polished on the floors, cement plaster elsewhere—paired with either steel-and-glass or wood-clad partitions, the former for openness and connection, the latter for warmth and privacy.

Sag Harbor, New York Residence by Kevin O’Sullivan & Associates

Photography by Read McKendree/JBSA.

Cedar treated to shou sugi ban, the Japanese charring technique, and African-teak siding clad the crisp exterior volumes while white-oak flooring, walnut millwork, honed-marble countertops, and steel columns bring low-key luxe to the interiors.

Venice, California Residence by Montalba Architects

Photography by Kevin Scott.

Almost every interior space connects to the outdoors by way of expansive glass walls and sliding doors, concrete-block walls that extend from garden into living areas, and wood siding that clads under-eave soffits and indoor ceilings alike.

Milan Residence by Plus Ultra Studio

Photography by Federico Villa.

Classic oak parquet in the living room contrasts with graphic Art Deco-inspired ceramic-tile floors in the entry, hallway, and kitchen, the latter entered by a pair of French doors with a rounded shape that evokes the 1920s.

Sydney Residence by Vitale Design

Photography by Nicholas Watt/Photofoyer.

The cool, restful interiors feature an understated but robust materials palette that includes honed-limestone floors, polished-plaster walls with oak-batten paneling, and a marble kitchen island.

Chicago Residence by Vladimir Radutny Architects

Photography by Mike Schwartz.

Located in a classic Mies van der Rohe–designed lakeside tower, this apartment was entirely reconfigured, its new white paint-and-plaster shell warmed by blond oak cabinetry, partitions, and flooring, with occasional black linear elements to define the spaces.

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