This project started as a half-cube, which then got its corners chamfered off to become an octagon. It then had a large spherical central space carved out of its inside, in grand imitation of the archetypal Pantheon in Rome, but here rendered in simple brick, without the fuss of the Orders or coffers. Typically, the entrance to a central sancto sanctorum like this is given directly from the outside, but this project forces one to ambulate first through smaller domes at the corners before entering the central space, which is shown in the diagonal section below.
My brother-in-law lives in a small military town in the Mojave desert, and when he mentioned buying cheap land and building something, naturally I got thinking. Courtyard typologies sprang to mind, perhaps met with elements of pueblo adobe rectangular masses and carved wood porches. My plan offers a square adobe mass punctured with a circular courtyard and fountain at its center (evaporative cooling), and is rimmed with wood porches about to enjoy the expansive desert vistas, and to offer deep shade to any exterior openings.
While traces of Irving Gill abound in the reductive classical-vernacular language, the plan geometries posed a small problem, reconciling the circular interior form and the division of rectangular rooms about. I turned to Palladio’s Villa Capra (La Rotonda) for help, but also needed to situate the rooms of a modern single family residence, and thought Frank Lloyd Wright’s Cheney House might work.
This small house is defined by the square courtyard at its center, which is filled with trees and a reflecting pool. The form that wraps it is bisected by alleys, forcing one to ambulate through the courtyard to move between the halves. Further, no access is granted directly from the house to the surrounding landscape, making the courtyard the public entry as well. Studies below explore rendering two of the courtyard faces in Doric form, opposed to the simple brick envelope at the exterior.
Continuing my exploration of rural agricultural form, this square cabin-like-structure plays on ideas of symmetry, complete and incomplete form, nine-square and four-square planning, all within the guise of simple vernacular architecture. The side elevation was the generator, with an overall symmetrical gable, infilled below with a colonnade on one end, a blank wall on the other, and a large picture window on center. The plan operates between the three bays of this side elevation and four running perpendicular, with a long vaulted living-sleeping room flanked by the porch-colonnade on one end and a long kitchen-toilet-service gallery opposite. A study of potentially running a barrel vaulted ceiling the length of the main living hall is at the bottom.
Or not. Maybe just a hut then. A four-square hut. With a porch on one side and a matching sleeping alcove on the other. And a single wood stove. A small kitchenette as well. And plenty of bookshelves. Or maybe a different roof altogether in place of the four gables? An inverted butterfly perhaps? I think so. Much more interesting than the bucolic nonchalance of that first drawing.
Beginning with Mies’ chapel at IIT, this quick project extrapolates his frame-and-infill, steel-and-brick, pavilion into a basilica form, with a full apse and a hipped roof. A square skylight orients the modernist square volume, while dormer gables pierce the trabeated apse. A more exuberant roof study follows.
Continuing last week‘s Californian agricultural experiments, this small structure (which I’m titling a ‘cabin’, but really is a programless form) is square in plan with a pitched roof running in one direction, terminating in a dutch gable at the far end over a colonnaded porch and a large circular window in the gable face, and cantilevering over the entry portico, where two identical doors reference the four-square floor plan. The language owes much to Richardson, filtered through the vernacular, with a shingle roof, clapboard walls, and a flemish bond brick base.