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Villa A

Najjar & Najjar Architects

Hovering lightly alongside a hillside of Linz, the villa designed by the Austrian firm of Najjar and Najjar is a statement on materials and at the same time a celebration of lightness and air. There are elements long familiar to modernism-the pure planes of glass and travertine, the open interior arrangement, the adherence to a few, carefully chosen materials, in this case, aluminium, stone and glass, that are allowed to have not only a functional but an aesthetic presence. But then there is a flourish and a calm, dynamism and stillness in this house that takes modernist precepts to a new level of engagement. Though they are known for their experiments with kinetic architecture and futuristic yacht design, the architects deny that they had any specific theme or model in mind when this project was conceived. The basic mechanics of the 420 sq m house follow a logical sense of order and progression. Working away from the hillside, there is a dugout basement, then, a concrete foundation and walls support a steel structure that is hung with glass and clad in aluminium. The solidity of the hillside, the grounding of the house is emphasized by the use of stone, the dugout sections and a series of pools - reflecting pools at the entrance and a neat rectilinear swimming pool at the rear. The entrance side of the house on the north-west corner sits on a level surface of the hill and presents a solid facing of limestone; while the lower ground floor, which offers an open view over the medieval and modern townscape of Linz, is clad in a series of glass panels, some of which can be fully opened to light and air. From earthy beginnings, the structure then nearly takes flight with the glazed southeast façade and the angular roof shapes that have the profile, the sense of movement, of a large bird or a streamlined jet. This uplifting quality, of what is actually a very large and complex roof structure, is induced by the cantilever, which extends 9 metres at its farthest reach,...

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