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Oppenheim Architecture is a multi-continental design firm that works with a wide range of clients, cultures, and environments. The practise, which Chad Oppenheim founded in 1999, has offices in Miami and Basel and employs forty curious architects, interior designers, planners, visionaries, and technicians.
Oppenheim Architecture believes that structures should be deeply symbiotic with their surroundings, where projects “belong” to their sites and form follows emotion. Guided by three philosophical pillars—spirit of place, silent monumentality, and the essential—they have spent decades developing landmark architecture that is extraordinarily sensitive and responsive to its setting and environment.
As archaeologists looking for the key to a project‘s vision, Oppenheim Architecture investigates a site’s possibilities. When forming the design and, more significantly, the experience of a structure, various elements are discovered, examined, and taken into consideration. These include the soil, the colours, the landscape, the winds, and the movement of the sun.
Oppenheim Architecture design is crucial; each line and each shape serve a certain function. Ideas are condensed into their essential components and expressions, with the unneeded information being removed in order to emphasise the meaningful.
Each design choice is closely related to their clients’ needs, the needs of the environment, or the needs of the experience. In order to create thoughtful and attentive places, they must look beyond the fixation with form and give everything they do a purpose.
Oppenheim Architecture completely renovated a fake-Mediterranean property, converting an outdated building into a classic coastal house. The once-complex floor plan and façade have been opened up and made simpler to let the beauty of Malibu in. Every chance they had, they used to tie the inside to the hues, textures, and atmosphere of the outside world.
Despite extremely strict building regulations, one of our specialties is maximising property worth and potential—the skill of redoing everything without (seemingly) changing anything. Going back to the pure structure—a blank canvas from which to create—they hollowed out the building’s interior and straightened and aligned every elevation.
A neutral material palette of stone, wood, and mineral plaster—colors and textures that mix with the character of the coast and bring nature inside—amplifies a smooth flow between the interior and outdoor living spaces.
Oppenheim Architecture approached this project in the same exploratory spirit for which Los Angeles is known. They were motivated (and supported by their client) to push the limits of what is possible in domestic architecture, theoretically, sculpturally, and technically, by the work of Rudolph Schindler, John Lautner, Frank Lloyd Wright, and Frank Gehry.
The entering procession moves from the drive court into a sunken garden before arriving at the grand staircase and internal piazza in the centre. The distinction between classical and modern design is blurred by a sculptural approach to form and massing, resulting in building that is ageless and universal. Intense pleasure and delight are produced by carefully balancing scale, proportion, procession, and materiality.
The shapes that are created are quiet yet enormous, little yet grand. With sweeping landscape stairs, reflected ponds, and magnificently scaled views, they address the surrounding environment. This house is reminiscent of the minimalism found in art galleries, where the building subordinates itself to the artwork, in this case the vistas of Bel-Air and the resident’s daily routine.
For this joint project with Roig Arquitectos and Oppenheim Architecture, the untamed Venezuelan jungle served as a great source of inspiration. The house and its tall boundary walls offer refuge in a city where a high crime rate causes many families to congregate at home. The house is imagined as an ancient stone ruin surrounded by the jungle.
Outdoor areas are incorporated into the interior experience to broaden and extend vistas to the site borders. The building was constructed around three courtyards: an impluvium, a garden court, and an entry court. The house’s focal point, the impluvium, was designed in the style of ancient Rome. It has an open skylight, a swimming pool in the middle, and doors leading to different family rooms all around it.
The artwork of modern local artists and the doorways leading to the kitchen, dining area, library, and lounge can be seen throughout this white gallery-like space. Ancient architectural typologies that have been modified and interpreted using local materials provide the family’s daily life a new depth and richness.
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