Posts Tagged ‘house’

h1

Architecture Monday

May 22, 2017

I went and saw a lecture by one of the members of MAD Architects the other week.  Overall I found their work a bit hit or miss.  They seemed to operate at their best when working on more intimate scales and close to the ground.  Which is exactly what their new residential/mixed-use project in LA is.  They didn’t present it at the lecture, but I like it.

The view as you (would – it’s not yet built) approach tells a lot of the story, the podium of vines and succulents and greenery rising above a transparent facade of shops.  From the back, a path wends from the ground up to the top of the verdant podium, atop which perch a cluster of white villas.  Balconies and windows set into the greenery let you know that these houses have, of a fashion, a basement, set deep into the podium. It’s living space all the way up and down.

But it’s the courtyard, hidden at the centre of the project, where the full story unfolds.  There is a gaggle of housing types here, from townhouses to villas to studios to condos, and they all coalesce and interact around this courtyard.  There’s an intricate interplay of forms here that create little niches and pockets of space for balconies and porches.  Each unit has it’s unique identity while in dialogue with the greater whole.  It looks fun and playful.

This isn’t ready to break ground until October, so I won’t be checking it out on my upcoming trip to LA, but in future years, when it’s done, I’ll definitively swing on by.

8600 Wilshire, by MAD Architects

h1

Architecture Monday

May 15, 2017

A little classicism for your abode?

If you like, here’s a nice (not-so little) farmhouse that pulls from the classical language to create a lovely building.  No columns or fancy friezes here, but the extra-tall movable shutters create a strong vertical pull that nicely reads column-like without falling into pastiche, and plays well with the horizontal siding that covers the rest of the house.

Rising two stories, those shutters are nifty.  They slide over the windows during the hot months, cutting glare and heat (the latter by a significant amount) while still letting natural light through.  Come winter months, they can perform reverse duty during the nights, helping to keep the heat in.

This lets the house be generous with windows in a place where they can be a liability in both summer and winter, which lets there be glorious views of the intense skies and beautiful foggy mornings.  And sometimes a visitor…

Pretty sweet.  A nice use of the principles of the classical form to create a simple farmhouse that treads lightly on the landscape it welcomes inside.  I like it.

Pennsylvania Farmhouse by Cutler Anderson Architects

h1

Architecture Monday

April 10, 2017

Sometimes, when you have a rock, you need to embrace it.

And that’s just what this house does.

Built around this large boulder that was existing on the site, it could be a gimmick house, the rock being no different than a fancy staircase of marble or an out-of-place chandelier.  Instead, there’s a wonderful balance and duality that is created that has the rock both be the metaphorical and physical heart of the home while also, in a way, disappearing into the background.

The simple and elegant frame is the key here.  Lightweight and straightforward, the corrugated metal roofing, the thin steel framing, and especially the increadibly generous amount of glass play off the ruggedness of the rocks both inside and outside of the house.  These clean and repetitive lines are a perfect foil to the natural rough textures of the desert landscape, heightening the experience of one another.  At the same time, the rock within unites with the view of rocks out the window, joining the two together, and it is in this way that the  still proudly jutting rock that the house envelops fades away.  Coupled with the large sliding panels that open up corners of the house completely, the space inside expands outwards towards the mountains on the horizon.

 

While the house is small, it never feels small.  Beyond the indoor/outdoor connection mentioned above, the elegant built-in furniture keeps everything tidy and makes the most of its small size.  Pinwheeling around the boulder, the furniture here too maintains a duality of keeping the rock at the centre while orienting the activities and attention to the rugged beauty just beyond the building’s confines.

Plus, there’s just something playful about a window that seems to merge effortlessly into the rock, with bright yellow curtains that are also cut to seamlessly snuggle up to the rock face.  That light switch, however, I would not have placed it there…

The conceptual foundation of an architectural design can be anything, even “a rock”.  Follow through with skill and care, and you end up with glorious space that is a delight to be in.

The Frey House II by Albert Frey.

h1

Architecture Monday

March 27, 2017

This is a fun one.  An H in plan, the design spark of this house is a simple set of cartoon-like house shapes extruded so that they intersect with each other.  Voila!  A house that’s essentially six “kid’s drawing of house”.

There are three things that really allow this simplicity to sing (and keep this project from being kitschy or just odd).  The first is that all the elements are well proportioned.  The second is the slick and smooth metal panels that cover the house, letting the caricaturish forms really read like the simple mental image of a house (almost like a Monopoly house).  Lastly, and quite importantly, is the rich and contrasting woodwork that infills the gabled ends.  The geometric complexity and three dimensionality of the Mondrian-like screen pattern brings both visual depth and interest, and through that contrast it also reinforces the rest of the house’s overall plastic nature.

The carport is where these two cheerfully collide.  Here the rigorously uniform wood frame marches forth to create that cartoon house shape.  And as we try to get a handle on that, the glass roof throws us off kilter and has us do a second or third look.

When you’re working with something this simple, precision, care, and craft in all the elements is required to really make it stick.  Anything out of place becomes readily noticeable, and both corners and where materials meet must be crisp.  All done well here.

Unfortunately there aren’t too many shots of the interior, so I don’t know how well the conceptual playfulness carried inside, and if the resulting spaces are as nice.  I do hope so – architecture is, ultimately, about the quality of space within, and to find these moves not reflected inside would be unfortunate.

Nice project.  House XL by SoNo Architeki.

h1

Architecture Monday

February 27, 2017

Here’s a fun house that doesn’t just overlook a nearby pond, but instead straddles it like a bridge.  Somewhat reminiscent of both Tadao Ando’s Church on the Water and Frank Lloyd Wright’s Falling water, the house is not separate from the landscape, but rather interacts with it and powerfully invites it in.

I’ve always been keen on the idea of crossing a bridge or threshold to get to the house, and here the connection to the water cannot be missed. Not only do you take a bridge to enter, but there’s a clear sight line straight through to frame the pond beyond.  Stock still, the pond is like a mirror, reflecting the lush greenery that surrounds it and the house.

The house itself is a simple structure, with a shed roof that opens upwards and outwards towards the water.  Warm wood and Mondrian-like windows create a very lofty feeling to the space.   Walls are also not completely solid between rooms, with the upper quarter near the roof being framed in glass, and leaving the whole house feel unconstrained and open and airy.

There’s a simplicity to both the layout of the house as well as to its form that I really like.  It’s a bit of a simple cabin, but done with some sophisticated woodwork and artistic elements.  From inside and out, it plays very well against the backdrop of the pond and forest.  Plus… bonus diving board right from your living room!

The Newberg Residence by Cutler Anderson Architects.