A Quick Journey Through the History of Australian Architecture

Pre-Colonial

Even before the first settlers arrived, the Australian landscape was dotted with dome-shaped structures created by the land’s Indigenous population. Stone was the preferred material in colder regions, whilst cane frameworks were used in warmer areas.

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Unfortunately, Australia’s pre-colonial architecture is rarely discussed during conversations about the country’s architectural history. Settlers arrived with their own ideas about architectural beauty and integrity and their own technology, dismissing the structures which pre-dated their arrival by centuries.

Colonial Architecture

Following settlement, Australian architecture was heavily influenced by the structures colonial leaders were accustomed to back home. Architects demonstrated notable apprehension about creating a national architectural identify for Australia, a phenomenon not limited to Australia.

Spanish architectural styles could be seen throughout the Americas, whilst Dutch architecture could be seen across South Africa and South Asia, and Portugese trends in parts of India and Sri Lanka. British architectural styles can still be seen around Australia to this day and even persist in newer buildings, with ties between Australian and Great Britain remaining close.

Classic examples of British colonial architecture in Australia include the Georgian St. James’ Church in Sydney, Melbourne’s Gothic Collins Street, and the Victorian city of Ballarat.

Wartime Influences

Although construction work slowed significantly during the two World Wars, the structures built around this time began to diverge from the British colonial styles typical of early settlement Australia. It was around this time that the California Bungalow which, despite its name, was a style that actually originated in Bengal, India, offered Australians the experience of ‘cottage luxury’, with enclosed porches and exposed redwood beams. California Bungalows were hugely popular in Melbourne, Sydney, and South Australia, with each area bring its own unique take on the style, with red brick in Melbourne and limestone materials in SA.

Another major trend was French-inspired art deco design, focusing heavily on geometric shapes and, of course, classic enclosed balconies. Art deco fashion eventually made its way around the world, perhaps most famously ending up in Miami’s South Beach, and while the trend has largely fallen out of favour today, there are many reminders of the style to be found throughout Australia. Melbourne’s Mitchell House on Lonsdale Street, for example, demonstrates many well-known, traditional art deco features.

Finding an Architectural Identity

Up to this point, Australia was still very much borrowing ideas and trends from around the world, and had not yet cemented its own architectural identity. However, post-war migration, coupled with the great resurgence of Australian art in the 1950s, provided just what the country needed to find its own style.

Australia found its own identity in blending ideas, mixing trends, and juxtaposing styles; incorporating both domestic and international influences into a single vision that was both fresh and avant-garde, whilst often wearing its influences on its sleeve.

Classic examples include the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Sydney Opera House, constructed between 1959 and 1973 and designed by Danish-born architect Jørn Utzon, and Canberra’s Parliament House, built in the 1980s and designed by Italian Romaldo Giurgola. A country that prides itself on its multiculturalism, that pride is evident in the clash of styles and inspirations that make up Australian architecture.

The Future of Australian Architecture

Whilst Australian architecture has embraced modernity (and post-modernity, for that matter) and set as many trends as it has kept pace with, one of the most recent and promising trends in Australian architecture is the long overdue focus on traditional Indigenous styles.

Neglected for most of Australia’s post-colonial history, Aboriginal culture is slowly coming to the forefront of culture, evident in art, architecture, music, film, and in language. Much of the Indigenous influence in the world of architecture comes as a result of the first generation of Indigenous architecture students graduating from university architecture and design programs.

Contemporary Indigenous architects such as Andrew Lane, Queensland’s first registered Indigenous architect, Carroll Go-Sam, and collectives such as Merrima Design Group, who designed the Aboriginal Medical Service, incorporate different elements and symbols of traditional Indigenous culture into their work. Others, however, avoid referencing Aboriginal ancestors or making references to The Dreamtime, and instead use architecture as a conduit to explore themes of identity and place.

An Architectural Revolution

Australia’s architectural landscape is a reflection of its demographic landscape, a meeting of styles, tastes, trends, and influences blending and juxtaposing against one another. A drive through the streets of Melbourne can take you from the early colonial period, right through to the post-War period and beyond. Ultimately, Australia’s architecture is an illustration of its history and the result is a unique blend of styles, designs, and trends that simply cannot be found anywhere else. Australia is an architectural melting pot.

A Quick Journey Through the History of Australian Architecture

A Quick Journey Through the History of Australian Architecture

A Quick Journey Through the History of Australian Architecture

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A Quick Journey Through the History of Australian Architecture

A Quick Journey Through the History of Australian Architecture

A Quick Journey Through the History of Australian Architecture

A Quick Journey Through the History of Australian Architecture

A Quick Journey Through the History of Australian Architecture

Author: Ryan Lewis is a director at Lovelight. He has a keen eye for detail, is passionate about quality and is also a huge lover of bikes. He is married to Naomi and he is proud father of two – Asha & Jack.

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Knikno House by Architect Fabian Tan in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia

Project: Knikno House
Architects: Architect Fabian Tan
Location: Petaling Jaya, Malaysia
Area: 2,700 sq ft
Photographs by: Ceavs Chua

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Knikno House by Architect Fabian Tan

The Knikno House is made up of a pair of perpendicular gabled structures with contrasting concrete and surfaces painted in white that face towards a rear garden and pond.
It is designed by Architect Fabian Tan and it is located in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia.
The house is designed for a young family and it comprises of distinct volumes containing different functional zones, connected to each other.

Knikno House by Architect Fabian Tan in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia

This semi-detached house was rebuilt for a young family on a 60’ x 90’ piece of land. Laid out over two different levels, the lower section of the plot houses the car porch with a ramp and staircase, connecting it to the home which sits on the higher land area. The house consist of a single-storey open living space, which intersects perpendicularly to a 2-storey building with closed private rooms.

The dominant longitudinal upper floor from the front to the rear is a gabled form inspired by the client’s request for a modern interpretation of a barn. Its façade is made from modular grey concrete blocks, which in contrast with the predominantly white ground floor accentuates weight.

Upon entry, a corridor takes you immediately into the house with a choice of going to specific areas without walking through other spaces. On the left is the open linear living areas which expresses continuity through its inverted gabled timber ceiling that seeks to add warmth. This voluminous space opens itself through the front garden that shields the road view and the rear with a black koi pond & lounge decking. To add to this, it is also visually connected to the first floor corridor that serves as the entryway to the bedrooms. This creates a tranquil, bright and an unobstructed cross ventilated space.

The plan is ‘T’ shaped and creates precise experiences with the exterior and interior through a series of spatial geometry and symmetry. It is difficult to describe this home in a simplistic sense as its parts seem to mesh with each other, giving multiple repeated descriptions of spaces but hopefully, it will speak for itself in clarity to the present listener.

-Architect Fabian Tan

Knikno House by Architect Fabian Tan in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia

Knikno House by Architect Fabian Tan in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia

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Knikno House by Architect Fabian Tan in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia

Knikno House by Architect Fabian Tan in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia

Knikno House by Architect Fabian Tan in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia

Knikno House by Architect Fabian Tan in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia

Knikno House by Architect Fabian Tan in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia

Knikno House by Architect Fabian Tan in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia

Knikno House by Architect Fabian Tan in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia

Knikno House by Architect Fabian Tan in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia

Knikno House by Architect Fabian Tan in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia

Knikno House by Architect Fabian Tan in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia

Knikno House by Architect Fabian Tan in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia

Knikno House by Architect Fabian Tan in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia

Knikno House by Architect Fabian Tan in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia

Knikno House by Architect Fabian Tan in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia

Knikno House by Architect Fabian Tan in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia

Knikno House by Architect Fabian Tan in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia

Knikno House by Architect Fabian Tan in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia

Knikno House by Architect Fabian Tan in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia

Knikno House by Architect Fabian Tan in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia

Knikno House by Architect Fabian Tan in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia

Knikno House by Architect Fabian Tan in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia

Knikno House by Architect Fabian Tan in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia

Knikno House by Architect Fabian Tan in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia

Knikno House by Architect Fabian Tan in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia

Knikno House by Architect Fabian Tan in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia

Knikno House by Architect Fabian Tan in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia

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Is Home Improvement the Best Investment You Could Make in 2018?

Property has historically been viewed as a good investment and prices have been rising for 30 years. In 2005, the UK average house price was £150k. Today, that figure has risen to £216k. The market experienced a sharp correction in 2009 when the global economic recession hit, but the overall trend is upwards. This trend looks set to continue.

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Is Home Improvement the Best Investment You Could Make in 2018?

In February of this year, a former member of the Bank of England’s monetary policy committee told Westminster that he believed house prices would continue to rise over the next 50 years. Not surprisingly, many people view bricks and mortar as a smart investment and are keen to plough their spare cash into their home.

Is Home Improvement the Best Investment You Could Make in 2018?

Property Investment

Property investment has become a popular pastime. Home improvement shows such as Grand Designs, Flip or Flop, and This Old House attract millions of Prime-Time viewers. Adding value to our home by way of a new kitchen, stylish extension, or basement makeover is more than just a pipe dream for many. Spend £10k on a new kitchen and you could easily recoup the cost plus a healthy profit when you come to sell.

But, the question on many people’s lips is whether spending money on home improvement is the best investment they could make in 2018? The answer, as you might expect, is that it is not that simple.

Is Home Improvement the Best Investment You Could Make in 2018?

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Will Prices Continue to Rise?

Property prices are slowing down, but despite this, prices are expected to continue rising in 2018. Property Analysts expect regional property prices to rise by around 7% in 2018, even through Brexit uncertainty is putting a damper on the market. Buy a property in a popular city such as Manchester or Birmingham and you could realise even greater gains. Savvy property investors are snapping up suitable properties, renovating and improving them, and selling them on for a quick gain.

With interest rates still so low, borrowing money to fund a property investment venture is relatively cheap. The Bank of England increased the base rate to 0.5% in early November, but this is the first increase for a decade and it is unlikely to raise it much higher in the next 12 months.

Existing homeowners are well-placed to take advantage of the increase in property prices by renovating and improving their home, but it is worth remembering that renovation projects take time and effort. Not everyone wants the hassle of managing a property renovation project. If this sounds like you, an armchair investment strategy might be a better option.

Is Home Improvement the Best Investment You Could Make in 2018?

Online Trading

Online trading is an alternative to property investment and renovation. Some markets are showing phenomenal growth right now and smart investors are keen to cash in. Cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin are historically viewed as too volatile for amateur investors, but the news that one of the world’s largest hedge funds is considering adding Bitcoin to its investment portfolio should calm it down. Investing in the bitcoin market or dabbling in forex is something anyone can do in their spare time, but it is worth trying out a demo account before you invest your savings.

Property flipping is a good investment, but if you need extra liquidity, have a go at online trading.

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Syncline House by Omar Gandhi Architect in Halifax, Canada

Project: Syncline House
Architects: Omar Gandhi Architect
Location: Halifax, Canada
Photographs by: Ema Peter

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Syncline House by Omar Gandhi Architect

The Syncline House is a new project by Omar Gandhi ArchitectThis modern house is located in Halifax, Canada, on the only syncline in the city.
The three story house consists of two volumes clad in white, connected by a double-height space in the middle.

This stunning residence provides beautiful views of the Point Pleasant Park as well as an overlook of the city’s Northwest Arm inlet. The interior is bright and spacious, featuring minimalist characteristics.

Syncline House by Omar Gandhi Architect in Halifax, Canada

Syncline ˈ(ˈsin-ˌklīn): a fold in stratified rock with younger layers closer to the center of the structure. The home sits on the lone syncline that runs through peninsular Halifax.

Located in the south end of Halifax, Nova Scotia for California-based Geoff and his husband, Nova Scotia-based James – the quiet, masculine modern form sits adjacent to Point Pleasant Park and overlooks the North-West Arm from Francklyn Street.

Sitting atop a concrete base which seemingly extends the rocky foundation, the home is composed of twin volumes clad in a textured, white Fibre C – a German-made fibre cement panel composed of raw materials including glass fibre, sand, and cement. The volumes vary in proportion as well as location, with one lunging forward slightly ahead of the other. The taller volume houses the public program including the gym, living room and kitchen, while the lower features the home’s sleeping and office amenities. At the forefront of both are walk-out decks facing the western ocean view, one from the living room and the other from the master bedroom. Wood-decked patios overlooking the city’s primary forested park in one direction and the open ocean waters in the other sit high atop the two primary volumes.

A central core between the two is fully glazed in black-framed windows and topped with a razor thin canopy, encasing a porous, wood-lined steel staircase which winds its way up through the home. Flanking the taller volume is a tall, wood-clad structure which includes a residential scale elevator and back-of-house spaces including a high-end audio control room. The wood cladding is scorched, locally-sourced clear spruce with a clear coat finish. Wood scorching introduces flame to surface, intentionally charring it before it is brushed to remove any loose carbon, providing both decay and flame resistance through the process.

The interior material palette is composed wide white oak flooring, an all-white wall treatment and header-less doors which span from floor to ceiling. Natural light is drawn into the primary social spaces through the double height atrium and great room spaces.

The home utilizes geothermal heat pumps as the primary source for heating and cooling. Energy requirements are supplemented by a rooftop field of photovoltaic panels. The entirety of the glazing utilized for the home is triple pane for both energy conservation and acoustic requirements. Automated blinds and recessed windows on the south west façade help to passively cool the house.

Omar Gandhi Architect

Syncline House by Omar Gandhi Architect in Halifax, Canada

Syncline House by Omar Gandhi Architect in Halifax, Canada

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Syncline House by Omar Gandhi Architect in Halifax, Canada

Syncline House by Omar Gandhi Architect in Halifax, Canada

Syncline House by Omar Gandhi Architect in Halifax, Canada

Syncline House by Omar Gandhi Architect in Halifax, Canada

Syncline House by Omar Gandhi Architect in Halifax, Canada

Syncline House by Omar Gandhi Architect in Halifax, Canada

Syncline House by Omar Gandhi Architect in Halifax, Canada

Syncline House by Omar Gandhi Architect in Halifax, Canada

Syncline House by Omar Gandhi Architect in Halifax, Canada

Syncline House by Omar Gandhi Architect in Halifax, Canada

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Malangen Retreat by Snorre Stinessen Arkitektur in Tromsø, Norway

Project: Malangen Retreat
Architects: Snorre Stinessen Arkitektur
Location: Tromsø, Norway
Year: 2017
Photographs by: Courtesy of Snorre Stinessen Arkitektur

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Malangen Retreat by Snorre Stinessen Arkitektur

Snorre Stinessen Arkitektur have designed a stunning cabin on the Malangen peninsula.
The Malangen Retreat is a contemporary family vacation home for weekends and holidays. It is located about an hour’s drive south from Tromsø, Norway and is positioned on a ridge that rises from a fjord. The location of the site opens up stunning views overlooking a natural opening in the nearby forest.

Malangen Retreat by Snorre Stinessen Arkitektur in Tromsø, Norway

Malangen peninsula is an hour´s drive south of Tromsø in Northern Norway. The site is positioned on a ridge rising from the fiord below and overlooks a natural opening in the forest.

The cabin is laid out east to west effectively shielding the opening in the forest, which is only discovered once you enter through the large oak sliding door from the outside couryard. The clients had a clear wish for enough space to welcome family and friends visiting. To gather at the family retreat for weekends or holidays is a beautiful tradition, but the challenge is often that given a few days you also long for some privacy again.

Therefore we planned a main part and an annexe separated by the central covered courtyard which is where you enter their retreat through the oak sliding door. As a response to the cold climate and challenging weather the central courtyard functions as a winter garden, with a fireplace and outdoor kitchen. From here the retreat opens up to the natural clearing in the forest and from here you enter into either the main building or the annexe.

Each group of rooms are done as separate segments or boxes to achieve an additional layer of privacy, but also to enhance the main room´s contact to the clearing in the forest and the contact to the outdoors in the transition spaces in between.

The main part and the annexe are composed of two boxes each, the annexe comprised of utility rooms and the relax area with a sauna directly exposed to the view outside in one box and the guest rooms and an activity room in the second. The main part with entrance, children´s room and a small secondary living room in the first box, the main bathroom and master bedroom in the second. A few steps lead down to the open space kitchen an living room set low in the terrain and overlooking the fiord and the afternoon sun to the west. A dedicated exit from the kitchen lead to the south-facing outdoor area where the family enjoy their dinners on warm summer days.

The boxes are all made in wood with the exterior cladding (both indoors and outdoors) in cedar panel which was treated with iron sulfate and kept outside for months before assembly to achieve an even patina regardless of being outdoors or indoors. The interior surfaces are mainly in knot free oak to achieve a warmer contrast to the outside of the boxes. The boxes are all slightly elevated in relation to the in-between spaces. All the in-between spaces have a concrete floor to emphasize that these spaces relate to the terrain and the outdoors in a different manner.

The ceilings in these spaces are all made of oak slats that through the treatment with iron sulfate turn naturally black because of the high content of tannin. The airy and black ceilings retreat from the visual connection to the outside, while contrasting the visually cold of the outdoors and providing a softer acoustics at the same time. The sauna is only separated from the outside by a large frameless glass, underlining the secluded privacy of the clearing in the forest, the interiors custom designed in cedar.

A major part of the interiors such as the dining table, dining bench, beds, wardrobes, the fireplace and sliding door in the wintergarden, etc, are custom designed by Stinessen.

Snorre Stinessen Arkitektur

Malangen Retreat by Snorre Stinessen Arkitektur in Tromsø, Norway

Malangen Retreat by Snorre Stinessen Arkitektur in Tromsø, Norway

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Malangen Retreat by Snorre Stinessen Arkitektur in Tromsø, Norway

Malangen Retreat by Snorre Stinessen Arkitektur in Tromsø, Norway

Malangen Retreat by Snorre Stinessen Arkitektur in Tromsø, Norway

Malangen Retreat by Snorre Stinessen Arkitektur in Tromsø, Norway

Malangen Retreat by Snorre Stinessen Arkitektur in Tromsø, Norway

Malangen Retreat by Snorre Stinessen Arkitektur in Tromsø, Norway

Malangen Retreat by Snorre Stinessen Arkitektur in Tromsø, Norway

Malangen Retreat by Snorre Stinessen Arkitektur in Tromsø, Norway

Malangen Retreat by Snorre Stinessen Arkitektur in Tromsø, Norway

Malangen Retreat by Snorre Stinessen Arkitektur in Tromsø, Norway

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MA House by Cadaval & Solà-Morales in Tepoztlan, Mexico

Project: MA House
Architects: Cadaval & Solà-Morales
Location: Tepoztlan, Mexico
Area: 3,229 sq ft
Photographs by: Sandra Pereznieto

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MA House by Cadaval & Solà-Morales

Cadaval & Solà-Morales have designed the contemporary MA House in response to the lush nature that surrounds the site with vegetation, complemented by the comfortable temperatures all year long. Additionally, two neighboring mountains give this home located in Tepoztlan, Mexico a sight to behold.

The defining feature of this monolithic residence is its main construction material – stone. It was decided to use stone because it could be sourced locally, from the site itself. Additionally, it lowered the cost for maintenance.
The unique shape of the home influences the interior by filling it with natural light.

MA House by Cadaval & Solà Morales in Tepoztlan, Mexico

The commission of the house comes together with the explicit petition to use stone as the main construction material. The decision doesn’t respond necessarily to esthetic reasons but more likely to its common existence in the place, its little need for maintenance and its low cost for built square meter. Such premises are taken as a project challenge both in a structural, typological and esthetic way.

The MA house is set up in the outskirts of Tepoztlán, a small picturesque village of prehispanic origins, that has a colonial urban center. Located at 60 Km from Mexico City, Tepoztlán is well known for its sunny days, a comfortable temperature all year long, and its lush vegetation. Water is a key actor over the rainy season, time when nature demonstrates its intense vitality.

The project for the MA house responds to the search of a bright, wide and comfortable space built through a material that, at first, is hard and uncomfortable: the stone. With the presence of two major mountains on both sides of the plot, and two neighbors in the opposite direction, the house is a basic volumetric exercise: open the views and the main spaces to the mountains, and neglect the openings to the sides; and the definition of a central and open patio, a crack that defines the access of the house. However, this house doesn’t behave as a standard patio-house: typically, those are built through a central space around which all the relations and circulations take place; the MA house, meanwhile, develops all the circulations at its outer perimeter.

The house is a succession of spaces with differentiated uses that define the outer limit, a generic geometrical square. On top of such continuity of regular and perimeter circulations, the project overlays a second spatial strategy: the definition of a sequence of open and enclosed spaces; the exterior spaces -roofed patios-, intersect diagonally the volume and break with the rigidity of the perimeter performance.

The house is finally drawn as the addition of three pavilions unified by a unique roof, generating two covered patios; the roof is continuous, and rests on top of the structural stone walls that are the main asset of the house, the texture, a rough and imposing material that builds up the space, and reinforces the views and the power of nature. The house is a sequence of open and ever-changing relations with the nature; and always, as a backstage, the two immense mountains of Tepoztlán.

Cadaval & Solà-Morales

MA House by Cadaval & Solà Morales in Tepoztlan, Mexico

MA House by Cadaval & Solà Morales in Tepoztlan, Mexico

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MA House by Cadaval & Solà Morales in Tepoztlan, Mexico

MA House by Cadaval & Solà Morales in Tepoztlan, Mexico

MA House by Cadaval & Solà Morales in Tepoztlan, Mexico

MA House by Cadaval & Solà Morales in Tepoztlan, Mexico

MA House by Cadaval & Solà Morales in Tepoztlan, Mexico

MA House by Cadaval & Solà Morales in Tepoztlan, Mexico

MA House by Cadaval & Solà Morales in Tepoztlan, Mexico

MA House by Cadaval & Solà Morales in Tepoztlan, Mexico

MA House by Cadaval & Solà Morales in Tepoztlan, Mexico

MA House by Cadaval & Solà Morales in Tepoztlan, Mexico

MA House by Cadaval & Solà Morales in Tepoztlan, Mexico

MA House by Cadaval & Solà Morales in Tepoztlan, Mexico

MA House by Cadaval & Solà Morales in Tepoztlan, Mexico

MA House by Cadaval & Solà Morales in Tepoztlan, Mexico

MA House by Cadaval & Solà Morales in Tepoztlan, Mexico

MA House by Cadaval & Solà Morales in Tepoztlan, Mexico

MA House by Cadaval & Solà Morales in Tepoztlan, Mexico

MA House by Cadaval & Solà Morales in Tepoztlan, Mexico

MA House by Cadaval & Solà Morales in Tepoztlan, Mexico

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