To celebrate one year of frame, I have something special for you all. That’s right, a small, un-programmable garden pavilion. A four-square frame of 4X4’s set on the diagonal, with a copper standing seam roof atop and a brick base below. There’s no way in, just a beautiful form without. Better than cake, right?
More than just a Bach reference, that title could really be the title of this entire blog, since the vast majority of what I post here are really just different takes on courtyards. Blame it on my being a SoCal native, blame it on my love of squares, palazzi, and any other architectural trope you can. I love me some courtyards. So here we go again. At the top, a more detailed elevation of a previous project, and below, a different take on that same floor plan, this time more loudly echoing Giorgio Grassi and Louis Kahn.
One square, one circular. The square has a radial winder stair inside (but cut as a square), while the circle has a square stair inside, with habitable spaces inside of that inner square. This particular example is a rift on a project by Oswald Mathias Ungers, where circular and square towers are set alongside one another (and of course, I can’t track it down, though I know it’s in the Electa monograph. . .).
A friend and I were out exploring the local architectural haunts here in the Los Angeles area, which in this case included Pasadena’s Gamble House of 1908 as well as the other Greene & Greene homes studding the neighborhood. One of these sits kitty-corner to Frank Lloyd Wright’s La Miniatura (or Millard House) of 1923, and I noticed a lovely wrought iron gate at the rear of the property, almost coyly unimpressive against dynamic klinker brick wall. I began to think of my own home, and if a similar wrought iron gate would work against its Spanish revival aesthetic, with some details massaged here and there. Not a building per se, but a linguistic study nonetheless. Now if I can just find a blacksmith and a few dollars. . .
This is a piece of a larger puzzle, the basic parti of which is sketched above. The stair is located centrally in the square plan, and is itself a nine-square plan. Tectonically, the stair is supported on a peristyle of Tuscan pilasters, while the stair proper is takes its details from Mies’ Crown Hall at IIT, and tall fireplaces occupy three sides (their form, a take on Schindler’s Kings Road House.
First, an apology for erratic postings lately: my wife and I spent a gorgeous weekend in Yosemite, where I photographed the granite quoins of the elegant bridges as I did the granite faces of El Capitan and the Falls; and I’m neck deep studying for licensure. But neither of those should give cause to think that I have ceased to draw. Indeed, my study copies of the AIA contracts are filled with margins of vernacular, agricultural, and ‘rustic’ architectures. Many of which I hope to make onto frame in the coming weeks.
But for now, more Lutyens. Two details: a Tuscan pilaster as reduction rather than addition, taken from his war memorial at Thiepval, France (adapted with stars per Paul Philippe Cret’s own memorial at Chateau-Thierry); and my own interpretation of a common Lutyens formal operation – changes in plane alternate from side to side, rather than retaining diagonal symmetry (again, look at the Thiepval memorial, especially the lower arches, where the walls step in from the side before stepping in from the front, and then repeating as it goes up…).
Because even the most mundane of elements deserve to be thoughtfully and appropriately considered, I’m featuring a series of details and design considerations for a gate at my house, fronting a small garden courtyard. Typical wood rails span brick piers, with a weighted chain closer to keep things tidy.
Returning to the work of Lutyens, this small room takes its primary cue from a detail in a stair hall at Viceroy’s House, New Delhi, where an arcade is topped with a small pendentive at the corner, curving the profile of the ceiling. Wormseye axonometric views follow – the bottom image also has sectional and wormseye studies of another Lutyens-inspired previous post.
Sometimes the drawings I post seem rather schematic, but as part of the great importance of building in architecture, they can never remain that way. Here I present you with a more detailed take of a recent post, with hybrid Tuscan-Doric columns (perhaps Graves doing Doric, maybe?), minimal Mies-ian window jambs and stops, shingled wall with a moulded cap to make the column in antis, all topped with a simplified architrave, rosettes replacing triglyphs. I fancy the wood work might all be painted a glossy black, similar to Earnest Coxhead’s shingled houses in San Francisco (and Bob Stern’s take on them).
In typical fashion, a synthetic plan was due: taking the vault from yesterday’s post (my take on Lutyen’s take on Soane’s take on antiquity), I slapped a half-round colonnades on either end covered each in a large conical shingled roof. The fun part is the cornice of the cubic vaulted form, which does some funky things to accommodate modules, structure, and walls, shown in the bottom drawing (wormseye axonometric detail). The lantern is a direct quote of the lighthouse lantern at Old Point Loma in San Diego.