| 20 : 30 – 12 January 2019 |
Vertical House – a contemporary house in Dallas designed by Miro Rivera Architects features clean lines, glass walls and sculptural sun shades.
Rising above surrounding treetops, Vertical House is a 5-storey residence which seems like a glass cube enclosed by 60 feet tall screen walls. A material palette of white walls, polished concrete floors, Ipe wood, carrara marble and natural limestone bedrock is used throughout the house. The common spaces having transparent glass walls are oriented towards the rich diverse garden.
Glass wall and screen walls enclose the spaces of Vertical house
The private spaces are enclosed by opaque glass walls within the house which is conceived as two interlocking volumes. A dramatic driveway allows visitors to pass by the garden dotted with exotic plants and enter a carport. The main entrance of the residence is via a bridge connecting on the second floor. A master bedroom on the above floor has a projecting balcony over the bridge. The living room on fourth floor provides stunning views of the treetops giving the place a sense of floating high above ground. Northside of the property has a pool house with guest accommodations, gym and 65-foot long pool amidst the natural limestone bedrocks.
Pool house on the north side of the property
From the Architects –
Located on one of the few lots in Texas, Dallas elevated enough to enjoy a view of the downtown skyline, the five-story Vertical House rises dramatically above the treetops to capture views of the surrounding gardens and the skyline beyond.
The house is characterized by clean lines, sheer glass walls, and sculptural sun shades. This sharply-detailed residence offers an intriguing counterpoint to tropical ambiance of its forest-like setting.
Mix of native and exotic plants around the house
The client, an avid collector of exotic plants, wanted a house that would not only maximize site views, but also maintain privacy from neighboring properties. In response, the house was conceived as two interlocking, contrasting volumes: one half is transparent and oriented toward views of the gardens. While the other half is solid and geared toward providing privacy to the spaces within. Each floor contains a specific portion of the program. More public spaces are situated on the transparent side of the structure, and vice versa.
Transparent glass enclosure from the front-side
Screen walls –
Starting at the lowest level, two 60-foot-tall exterior screen walls surge upward on both sides of the house. The verticality of the screen walls-combined with structure’s compact footprint – accentuates the home’s slenderness and height.
Comprised of 6 X 2 hollow tube steel sections spaced 6″ on center, the screens provide primary structural support for the floor plates. The plate consists of conventionally-spaced wide flanges framed by steel channels on all sides. A series of ¾” steel plates transfers the load from each floor to external screen wall. The wall is offset from the structure in order to achieve a floating effect from within. On one side, floor-to-ceiling butt-glazed windows create the impression of a taut. The transparent volume flanked by a delicate trellis and vertical steel tubes double as solar shading to eastern and western exposures.
On the opposite side, large blocks of locally-quarried roughback Leuders limestone create a contrasting effect, providing shade and privacy. Smaller, inset windows reinforce the sense of weight and enclosure, while giving fenestration’s a
pronounced shadow line. The first floor is partially burrowed into the site and accessed via a spiraling driveway carved in limestone bedrock.
View of the driveway from the street. Photo – © Miro Rivera Architects
Commencing at the street, a metal gate set into bastions clad in Leuders limestone hangs from a short pedestrian bridge. The dramatic approach along driveway allows for an almost subterranean experience of the landscaped canopy above. The driveway terminates in a small auto court, and the first floor of the house contains a carport (with one side formed by the screen wall), storage/utility rooms, and powder room.
Driveway guarded by metal gate
Balcony of master bedroom extends over the footbridge, Carport below the bridge. Photo – © Miro Rivera Architects
Second floor –
The main entrance to the house is located on the second floor (at natural grade). Visitors to the house park in a separate auto court and follow a footpath and gardens. The green space features both native and exotic flora. The visitors pass via an exposed steel footbridge with glass handrails.
Steel footbridge connecting the house
A cantilevered balcony – its underside finished in warm Ipe wood – projects from the master bedroom on the third floor to define the entryway. A guest bedroom on this level takes advantage of the floor-to-ceiling windows.The laundry room and bathroom are nestled into the more opaque half. Worth noting is the shower, which includes an exterior door that opens directly into a small aviary enclosed by a thin mesh canopy overhead.
View from the shower room
Third floor –
Moving vertically through the house from the entrance, every major space is immediately accessible from the glass-enclosed stairwell (reflecting one of the client’s key requirements). Views of the landscape and skyline beyond become ever more impressive as the ground below falls away, and a palpable sense of suspension takes hold.
Glass enclosed stairwell and connecting bridge
The third floor hosts the master suite, while on the fourth floor the living room seems to hang in midair. Like a sensation reinforced by a fireplace made of thin plate steel that appears to hover in front of the windows.
Glass enclosure shower area
Material palette in Vertical House –
The subdued material palette throughout the interior consists of white walls and polished concrete floors (ground down slightly to expose the aggregate), with a continuous accent wall of bookmatched Carrara marble that runs the height of
the stair connecting all the floors.
Stunning ‘white’ kitchen
The progression terminates at an inviting open-air roof terrace, which offers breathtaking 360-degree views. A mechanical skylight provides access from inside, and the terrace is shaded from the afternoon sun by an extension of the screen wall, which turns 90 degrees to form an airy pergola. Captured rainwater from the roof supplements irrigation for the surrounding landscaping.
Screen wall becomes a pergola for rooftop lounge. Photo – © Miro Rivera Architects
Pool House –
A pool house located on the north side of the property, with a dedicated entrance and auto court, contains a gym and guest accommodations. A tubular steel trellis echoes the design of the main house, in this case taking the form of a long, lowslung
canopy that cantilevers over a private patio at one end, and turns down to enclose a carport at the other. The pool house opens up to a 65-foot long lap pool via floor-to-ceiling glass doors and windows. Lush vegetation spills over the heavy limestone block walls that surround the swimming pool and deck, providing a secluded space for exercise and recreation.
Pool house with the swimming pool
Project details –
Project Name – Vertical House
Location – Dallas, Texas, United States of America
Architect Firm – Miró Rivera Architects
Lead Architects – Juan Miró, FAIA & Miguel Rivera, FAIA
Design team – Ken Jones, AIA; Carina Coel; Matthew Helveston; Edward Richardson; Andrew Torres
Project type – Residence, Private home
Photography – © Paul Finkel | Piston Design
Completion Year – 2018
Site area – 1.4 acres
Builtup area – 4220 sq.ft.
Awards – Design Award, Texas Society of Architects, Honor Award, AIA Austin, National Award, AISC IDEAS² Awards, Honorable Mention, American Architecture Prize, Judges’ Commendation, Barbara Cappochin Prize
Civil Engineer – Lim & Associates, Inc.
Structural Engineer – Datum Engineers
MEP Engineer – A. A. Gonzalez Engineers
Geotechnical engineer – Henley-Johnston & Associates, Inc.
Lighting engineer – ArcLight Design