Our lives are constantly evolving. As we grow older, our desire for absolute independence might yield to the longing to be closer to our elders, or we might wish to downsize and live in a high-rise in the bustling city — if we could only afford the cost of admission. The best architecture accommodates new needs and even brings into being the novel living arrangements that people increasingly yearn for. In this issue, we highlight homes that encourage personal expression and communal engagement — all of them specific to their particular contexts.

In San Francisco, a house tucked into the neighbourhood fabric rises to a peaked roof that mimics its peers yet stands out with an uncanny floating appearance. In the U.K., a garden suite hews to the confines of its footprint while boasting a capacious character, its butterfly roof containing an array of soothing spaces. In Pune, India, a house for the families of two brothers delineates rooms for privacy between the two households while offering them generous-hearted volumes where they can come together. And in Basel, an apartment building conjured from an old warehouse provides its residents with vibrant spaces indoors and out — and the surrounding area with a jolt of energy.

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At Azure, we’ve by turns celebrated and interrogated the house. We’ve marvelled at technical and aesthetic feats performed in residential architecture, and we’ve presented alternatives that embrace urban densification: multi-units, mixed-use developments, laneway suites and so on. As a profession, architecture cannot repudiate the house; it is too foundational in both culture and imagination. But it can bring the level of artistry concentrated on single-family houses to more democratic types of dwelling that certainly need it.

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This conversation plays out in our profile on Brian MacKay-Lyons, who has made his name over 40 years by holding up as worthy of praise the humble vernacular of traditional East Coast buildings. His houses are almost pure in their adherence to an economy of materials; they seem inevitable to their landscapes. Now that MacKay-Lyons has completed Queen’s Marque, a major mixed-use development on the Halifax Harbour, we can see how his ethos applies to a larger public scale.

Can the house still be a lab for working out problems, with solutions that can be applied to other realms? In our January/February 2024 issue, we present projects where the answer is a resounding yes.

ALSO IN THIS ISSUE

SPOTLIGHT: Pushing the Envelope

Out Now: The Jan/Feb 2024 Houses Issue

The latest cladding systems that combine high performance and sophisticated aesthetics, including Texoversum’s carbon-fibre facade.

Cersaie’s Delights

Out Now: The Jan/Feb 2024 Houses Issue

The most compelling trends – including “Built Form” with its illusions of stained glass, by Ceramica Vietrese – that emerged from the Bologna tile fair.

Site Visit to Stockholm

Out Now: The Jan/Feb 2024 Houses Issue

A mass timber pavilion in Stockholm by Henning Larsen welcomes patrons into a sloped cathedral for dining.

Insights from Leading Design Brands

Out Now: The Jan/Feb 2024 Houses Issue

How the leaders of Audo CPH, Tolix and Ligne Roset (helmed by Olivier and Antoine Roset) are gearing up for new chapters.

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