The T-House stands nestled in an olive grove in the Aegean town of Mordogan in Western Turkey. Rather than being a weekend retreat to be occupied occasionally and for short periods of time throughout the year, the T-House is an indication of the owners’ determination to engage with life and ways of doing things in the countryside. It is designed as a family home to be used all year round and thus incorporates generous work and storage areas to accommodate the varied activities the couple absorbs themselves in (curing olives, canning, jam-making, etc.).
The house is approached along a country lane that leads to a hilltop village. The site faces the sea to the east and the neighboring hills to the west. The building sits within the tight grid of the olive grove and remains barely discernible through the thick foliage of trees if it weren’t for its steeply pitched roof—a curious feature, one that leaves a gentle mark on the landscape and invites further exploration.
The T-House is meant as an “unobtrusive novelty” in a bucolic landscape.
2016 Aga Khan Award for Architecture, T-House, Nomination
Now entering the final design stages, this extra-virgin olive oil production facility reflects the clients’ ambition to approach the growing market in the region by focusing on quality rather than quantity.
The new olive oil mill is a rhythm and proportion driven building, whose form is intimately bound to the materials that blend with the surrounding context – a recurring theme in our practice. At the same time, every element of the building relates to the human scale.
The mill is carved out from the steep hillside in a simple, linear gesture. It is approached by walking through an olive grove, and at a distance, the structure does not reveal itself as a whole. Only as one enters the full volume of the building is unraveled.
Production and storage facilities are situated below ground to facilitate temperature, humidity and lighting control, all crucial parameters for the quality of the final product.
The interior of the building is organized as a sequence of stepped, descending levels, to adapt to the inclination of the ground and to reflect the functional division. The water garden faces the mountain slope and the rocky landscape in the background.
The main structural walls of the mill are monolithic blocks of post-tensioned stone: an attempt to arrive to a time-tested appearance through using advanced technology. The desired result is a serene, timeless, geological simplicity, an impression that the building has grown from the ground, that it has always been there.
Adapted to the site and existing trees, the house unravels as a series of pavilions along a central axis. The large external decks offer expansive views across the Mediterranean landscape and towards the Aegean Sea. Spaces are designed with attention to the local wind conditions and sun movement.
An obsolete industrial facility belonging to a well-established company in the Piemonte region is transformed into a state-of-the-art research and development center. The intervention focuses on refurbishing an existing industrial building to create a new space that matches the needs and requirements of the leader in the industry. The environmental strategy unfolds on several levels. First, a choice to refurbish an existing building is a way to conserve the embodied energy of its original materials. Second, an array of renewable energy systems is designed to lower the new facility’s consumption. Thirdly, and perhaps most importantly, the innovative façade shading system is designed to be produced by the local manufacturers, thus feeding back into the local economy of which it is an integral part.
The transformed building is situated on a relatively large industrial lot at the banks of a local river. The building is a simple volume, roughly 40m by 15m in plan, its longer side oriented towards the south-east. It is a reinforced concrete structure with brick enclosure and simple glazing. The roof structure consists of prefabricated concrete elements, shaped as inverted barrel vaults.
The transformation of this building starts with stripping down its aged and poorly performing envelope and reinforcing the structural elements. The new envelope on the long sided of the building will consist of high-performance glazing and an external shading system designed to be produced by the local manufacturers.
The grand internal volume of the building will remain open, with three sub-zones that correspond to the new functions. The central area of the plan becomes a platform for product testing. To either side, an enclosed volume with a mezzanine will contain additional program, such as office and archive space and basic services.
Adjacent to the north-west side of the transformed building, a new covered space will accommodate additional flexible functions. These added spaces will open towards an internal sculpture garden.
The Living Module is a small-scale, prefabricated, off-grid living unit.
Modularity: Modularity of the unit is crucial for keeping the construction costs low, and for adaptability to the residents’ way of life.
Sustainability: We use natural materials for the structural and finishing elements of the LMU. The unit is designed to produce energy through its solar panels, as an alternative to burning coal and natural gas. It can be located off grid, when placed in conditions which promise adequate daylighting, thus ensuring freedom and maximum site flexibility.
Easy to build: Constructability has been the driver of this project. We simplified all the elements of the unit to give the potential residents an option to build a home on their own and feel autonomous and free.
Beauty: The module aims to bring beauty to our daily lives, allows us to incorporate it in our quotidian landscape and connect us with the surrounding nature.
The project is situated in a coastal town. The building consists of two residential units and is designed as a prototype of low-impact, off-grid living.
The mix of interior and exterior spaces and the landscape that permeates the domestic boundaries evoke a treehouse feel. Energy-savings are achieved through a mix of passive strategies and advanced technologies.
The building is situated in a residential neighborhood close to the sea where the most popular building typology is the two-, tree- or four-family villa surrounded by a narrow garden planted with trees and local vegetation.
The project site is a 20 by 14 meters rectangle facing the street on one side, and the still vacant lots on the other.
The conceptual idea is to spread the traditional compact internal space in order to let the landscape come in and merge with it, redefining the relationship between the inner and outer spaces. The result is a sequence or a composition of rooms and gardens, terraces and trees, some of them on the ground, some underground and others above the ground. Vegetation is the catalyst of the project and an essential element of the architecture. The building itself is a structure for plants to grow on, like a naked body dressed in flora.
The mixed structure consists of two concrete longitudinal walls carrying transversal steel beams. Service areas and the staircase are placed between the walls, while rooms and terraces are suspended from the beams. Underground spaces are interjected by a courtyard that allows the light to enter and hosts a tree which grows throughout the full height of the building.
This simple, almost diagrammatic, but bold structural scheme allows for different layouts and flexible spatial organization. Thanks to this adaptability, the project can be thought of as a prototype that could be replicated in different configurations.
The mix of suspended and detached spaces forms the basis of the energy-saving strategy. It facilitates natural ventilation by letting the breeze flow throughout the building, it defines shaded areas and allows vegetation to grow between the volumes, filtering the incoming sunlight.
Rainwater can be harvested from the entire plot surface and used for irrigation.
The horizontal roof surface hosts solar and photovoltaic panels that provide hot water and electricity for the building.
A multifunctional furniture piece which allows all living functions to co-exist in a micro space. Conceptualized as a fixture for dwelling in a space as constrained as a boat, the cabinet contains storage space, a kitchen and a passage to the bathroom.
Tropical tree houses adapted to the site and local climate conditions.
A floating exhibition space which maximizes the public areas on the ground floor.
A swimming pool nested under the sloping green roof which connects the existing buildings and restores the link to the river and the surrounding landscape. The new pool complex and its public park increase the green areas of the city and mend the fragmented urban fabric.
Book stacks are placed in the central courtyard and all activities revolve around this central seed.
Prior to establishing TAO, Onur Teke spent 15 years working across Europe and the USA, as architect and associate at Renzo Piano Building Workshop and Eisenman Architects in New York City. He designed and was responsible for a variety of internationally recognized projects captured in different scales, managing complex and multi-disciplinary working groups. From 2007 to 2013 he was in charge of Kimbell Art Museum Expansion in Fort Worth, Texas, and led the design team from early concept sketches to the building completion. His design experiences with RPBW and Eisenman Architects include:
Expansion of Kimbell Art Museum - Fort Worth, USA, for RPBW
Requalification of the historical district Ex-Fiera - Milan, Italy, for RPBW
Museum of Contemporary Art - Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, for RPBW
Expansion of Isabella Steward Gardner Museum - Boston, USA, for RPBW
Pediatric Hospice - Bologna, Italy, with RPBW
Façade system for the Luna Rossa Team Base, 32nd America’s Cup - Valencia, Spain, for RPBW
Whitney Museum of American Art - New York, USA, for RPBW
City of Culture of Galicia - Santiago de Compostela, Spain, for Eisenman Architects