So the heart of the home is the kitchen, right? A look at our top 10 terraces might just change your mind.
Article by Vivion O’Kelly. Images courtesy of UDesign.
Outside living has always been an essential element of architectural design in Southern Spain, even if restricted space in an urban setting in the past meant nothing more than a small patio. Elementary air conditioning demanded thick walls and small windows, but as building technology progressed, the walls slimmed down, the windows got bigger and the terraces opened up, to such an extent that the very idea of outside living changed to inside/outside living: designing a house with terraces that make the outside and inside practically indistinguishable from one another, allowing life to be lived as it should be in warm climates. The architects at UDesign have taken this concept to new levels in the homes they design, as we can see in our favourite 10 terraces below.
1- The Award-Winning Terrace
Villa Alcuzcuz is unique in design and construction, winning world-class awards in both categories. Its five very different terraced areas reflect this extraordinary standard of luxury and finish, with living spaces on all levels being more or less on the outside, and more or less on the inside, as residents desire.
This apparent contradiction is made possible by wall-to-floor glass panels that slide wide open, and an infinity pool that looks like an extension of the main formal lounge, with the water level almost as high as the ground floor, all overlooking the blue Mediterranean beyond.
2-The Serene Terrace
While Villa Serenity is not a huge villa, its terraces would suggest otherwise. The land in front of this almost transparent villa is flat and lawned, allowing the pool to be situated within the vast main terrace, with seating areas all around.
Luxury minimalism rules here, the muted tones of blacks, whites and dark bronzes adding to the serenity the name implies. The layout is simple, as it appears to be, but simplicity is one of the most complex elements in architectural design.
3- The Urban Terrace
The UDesign world extends far beyond the idyllic landscape of Southern Spain – in this case, to central London’s Eton Square.
But notwithstanding the soft hum of the city traffic, the terrace of the property, surrounded by high green walls, creates a world of its own that reflects the luxurious interior of this large London house.
The green vegetation glows against the muted tones of the dining and lounge areas, offset by the curved black and white geometric shapes on the floor, illuminated at night by tall streetlamps reminiscent of a different era in the history of the ancient capital.
4-The Cortijo Terrace
Still water, the soothing sounds of its fountains, the perfect silence of the countryside and the living is easy. This is Villa Andaluz, designed in contemporary style with the traditional Andalucian cortijo in mind. Fresh air flows into the house from all the terraces, with the central courtyard and its native trees built around the shallow pool, creating a large and open living area within the cortijo just as the Moors did centuries ago. The swimming pool is further out, but still part of the main terrace. This is inside/outside living at its very best.
5-The Party Terrace
Some terraces are designed for the simple country life, and others for party lovers, although when push comes to shove, tea can always be made in a coffee pot. This is 105 Marbella Hills, and its terrace was certainly designed to have fun on.
Packed with state-of-the-art entertainment facilities, a genuine bar club, real fires under covered areas when needed, multiple lounge and dining areas, eclectic colours in the furniture and fittings and artworks scattered throughout, this amazing work of design is the ultimate in party terraces.
6- The Tropical Terrace
Given its tropical location, Balinese architecture is traditionally open, with liberal use of the sustainable raw materials at hand. The Bali Villa has been built in these materials, making full use of the colours and textures of nature itself in the overall design. Privacy was a key element in this villa, but surrounded by lush vegetation, it never became a problem. Its terrace is an extension of the inside built area, visually extending a ground plan somewhat smaller than the classic UDesign villa.
The pool, of course, is the focal point of the terrace, and its sits well within the villa’s structure, flanked on two sides by covered seating/dining areas. The minimalist design in muted tones is the necessary counterpoint to the extravagant greenery all around.
7- The Mediterranean Island Terrace
Seen from the front, the Villa Ibiza terrace areas appear like islands floating on the wide expanse of swimming pool almost wrapped around the property. Most of the seating areas on the main terrace – which means dining and lounge – are covered, and the pool dips under this cantilevered ceiling, bringing the water right up to the living areas. Naturally, when winter comes around, glass walls slide out to protect the actual indoors, without loosing the visual link to the outside.
A lovely feature of the terrace is the glass walled edge to the pool in the barbeque area, where residents and their guests can sit in the comfort of deep armchairs and see into the pool from this side.
8- The Cayman Islands Terrace
No surprise that the sea was the main inspiration for this beautiful villa, where the water in the infinity pool merges into the blue Caribbean close by. But another surprising feature of the villa is the open courtyard designed in a contemporary version of the traditional cortijo style.
That means ample terraces as natural extensions to the ground floor, and the result is a masterpiece of classic UDesign architecture: see-through in places, simplicity of form, and functional (read liveable in) to an unusual degree.
9- The Royal Terraces
Plural is correct, because a terrace, we are told by its dictionary definition, is any level living area outside and attached to a house, and much of the beauty of this stunning palace in Saudi Arabia is open to the exterior. Words do little to describe it. The clients wanted something unique, not too modern and not too traditional, and terraces with water features would naturally form an important part of the design.
Palms of different kinds, orange trees, Moorish influence in decoration, fountains and reflections: if it all looks familiar to us here in Southern Spain, it’s because we all know the magnificent Alhambra Palace in Granada. Sheer magnificence is the only description that comes to mind.
10-The Lookout Terraces
Once again we use the plural, given that each of the 18 Vista Lago terrace areas are different from each other. Built on high ground overlooking the Mediterranean, Gibraltar and the African mountains in the distance, the terraces and the views they provide are part of the main attraction of owning one of these unique, luxurious and sustainable villas.
Nothing obscures the views: no high furniture, walls of glass with no visible fittings, basic layout designed to take full advantage of the privileged location, and infinity pools that blend horizons. Each terrace is, in effect, a viewing point like no other in this beautiful landscape. For more information on Vista Lago, visit our Vista Lago Gallery page. Or call the Sales Team on: (+34) 648 981 111 email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The heart of the home may still be the kitchen, but when the kitchen, dining room, entertainment and lounge areas move out to the terrace, the heart of the home moves too. This fundamental change in the way we live these days in warm climates has influenced the way UDesign terraces have been designed, and the results, as we can see in all the pictures above, show that this is indeed how it should be.