Greek Architecture: ‘O Lofos’ Residence On Crete

O Lofos*: The green, wild Cretan landscape and the richness and heritage of traditional crafts define this new, thoroughly contemporary residential design by Block722. Sat on the northern foothills of Thrypti mountain within the Greek island’s eastern side, the project is a commission by a private client.

The main home is divided into two low buildings linked by a semi-enclosed area with an envy-inducing water feature | O Lofos by Block722 | STIRworld
The main home is divided into two low buildings linked by a semi-enclosed area with an envy-inducing water featureImage: Ana Santl

It called for a 280 sq m home on a slope, including two guestrooms and generous outdoors areas. Balancing the needs of the brief with the natural setting that combines vistas of mountains, plains, and the Mediterranean Sea, was critical in the architects’ design solution. The architecture was driven by desire to create a modern house that is discreet and respectful to its surroundings.

The built is in harmonious continuation of the Cretan context | O Lofos by Block722 | STIRworld
The built is in harmonious continuation of the Cretan context

Negotiating the site’s angle through levels instead of steps was also critical in moulding a relaxing environment that embraces its setting.
A path down a slope from the main road leads visitors to the residence’s entrance. The complex’s size is cleverly broken down into smaller volumes, which are interconnected through circulation routes and in-between spaces – some indoors and some open-air. The main home is divided into two low buildings linked by a semi-enclosed area with a water feature.

The design merges natural materials that are often used in the local vernacular, such as wood and stone. At the same time, the atmosphere is distinctly contemporary, blending Block722’s inherent Scandinavian sensibility and organic minimalism with Japanese architecture influences. This nod to Japan unfolds through the design’s refreshing simplicity of clean, almost austere lines that balance the materials’ natural, tactile nature and the overall craft-rich approach. The powerful Greek sunlight helps define shapes and surfaces,

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Australian Architecture: ‘Fitzroy Bridge House’

A modern house, Fitzroy Bridge House is a work of collaboration led by Matt Gibson Architecture + Design. Featuring a glass bridge – from which the project receives its name – the home emerges as a considered and personal dwelling that celebrates its older architectural elements.

Video timeline: 00:00 – The Local Project’s Print Publication 00:20 – The Name Behind Fitzroy Bridge House 00:57 – South Fitzroy Heritage Precinct 01:36 – Moving Through the Home 01:53 – Dissolution of Interior and Exterior 02:16 – The Bridge 02:40 – The Rear Retreat 03:14 – Involvement of the Clients and Their Non-Negotiables 03:57 – Key Sustainable Moves 04:51 – The Cellar

Located in the southern Fitzroy heritage precinct, Fitzroy Bridge House sits an enviable two kilometres from the Melbourne CBD. The residence occupies a long, thin site and is comprised of distinct pavilions, encapsulating both the pre-existing architecture and the work of the modern house.

As Fitzroy Bridge House is situated in a heritage overlay, the exterior of the home could not be altered in relation to the front two rooms. Entering the home, residents move through the Victorian-style environments before reaching the rear architecture of the modern house that features a refined internal courtyard settled into the dining room interior design.

Connecting two pavilions, the glass bridge forms the focal point of the modern house. The bold feature provides a view down to the manicured garden in the Japanese-inspired courtyard – a fine work of landscape architecture requested by the client and executed by Robyn Barlow. A product of collaboration, Fitzroy Bridge House is closely connected to the client. Warm, inviting and personal, the modern house expresses its own built narrative, enabling the client to retell the story of its creation for years to come.

National Geographic Traveller UK ‘Lakes & Mountains’ Issue 2022

1. Alpine running in Canada

Keen runners seeking more inspirational landscapes can join a new tour by CMH Heli-Skiing & Summer Adventures to discover the wild beauty of the Bugaboos in the heart of the Canadian wilderness. Soar over verdant forest trails, rugged mountain tops and granite spires in a helicopter before being dropped on a summit. Runners will revel in the sunny skies, breathtaking panoramas and plenty of breaks, often in crystal-clear glaciated lakes. The day ends back at base camp, a spacious fly-in backcountry luxury lodge where guests can relax with a massage, sauna or a soak in a hot tub.

Where to stay: CMH Bugaboos log-hewn lodge at the base of Bugaboo Glacier offers gourmet dining, swimming and a rooftop hot tub. From $3,025 (£1,926) for three nights/four days including meals, helicopter flights, guide, equipment and local transfers. 

2. Heli-biking in New Zealand

Cycle far from the crowds in the Wanaka region past glaciers and lakes on gentle high-country trails and tricky single tracks that combine easy free-wheeling with adrenaline pumping fun. For seasoned cyclists, the four-hour Mount Burke trail is the holy grail of mountain bike trips with riders ferried to the top by chopper to avoid the uphill grind. Soak up the scenery at 4,593ft before braving the epic downhill descent through scenic valleys and farmland to the glassy waters of Lake Wanaka and Lake Hawea for a gourmet picnic. 

Where to stay: Minaret Station, an off-grid lavish four-chalet lodge accessible by only helicopter or boat, located at 7,000ft with a valley to one side and Lake Wanaka to the other. Five nights from £5,250pp, including four nights’ full-board at Minaret Station with return helicopter transfers, excluding international flights, with Black Tomato

Preparing to go heli-biking in New Zealand.

Preparing to go heli-biking in New Zealand.

PHOTOGRAPH BY FREDRIK LARSSON

3. Glacier hiking in France

Head to Saint Martin de Belleville to traverse the Glacier de Chavière and conquer not one, but three cols, or mountain paths, at altitudes of around 10,000ft. Set off at dawn, after learning how to use an ice axe and crampons, to begin an energetic climb attached by a rope to an expert guide. Enjoy incredible views of snow-covered ridges, steep couloirs and rock towers, but take care where you place your feet as some narrow paths come dangerously close to crevices with sheer drops. After reaching the three cols — Col de Thorens, Col Pierre Lory and Col du Bouchet — return to Val Thorens in the early afternoon for a leisurely lunch. 

Where to stay: The renovated four-star Hotel Lodji at the base of Saint Martin with cosy bar, restaurant, sunny terrace and spa. Rooms from €150 (£129) a night.

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Walks: Lake Annecy In Haute-Savoie, France (4K)

Lake Annecy (French: Lac d’Annecy) is a perialpine lake in Haute-Savoie in France. It is named after the city of Annecy, which marks the start of the Thiou, Lake Annecy’s outflow river.

It is the third-largest lake in France, after the Lac du Bourget and Lac de Grand-Lieu, if the French part of Lake Geneva, which is shared between Switzerland and France, is excluded. It is known as “Europe’s cleanest lake” because of strict environmental regulations introduced in the 1960s. It is a popular tourist destination known for its swimming and water sports.

The lake was formed about 18,000 years ago, at the time the large alpine glaciers melted. It is fed by many small rivers from the surrounding mountains (Ire, Eau morte, Laudon, Bornette and Biolon) and a powerful underwater source, the Boubioz, at a 82-metre depth (269 ft).

Front Page: Wall Street Journal – August 5, 2022

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Cooling U.S. Labor Market Weighed by Fed Hike, Inflation

The U.S. jobs market likely cooled again in July, economists estimate, as the economy faltered under the weight of high inflation and Federal Reserve interest-rate increases to cool demand.

Pelosi Says U.S. Won’t Allow China to Isolate Taiwan

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the U.S. would continue engaging with Taiwan, while Japan’s prime minister called on China to immediately halt its military exercises around the island.