Staring at a blank sheet, knowing that I want to draw something, just not knowing what to draw, sometimes I try to draw the plan of a house from memory. This particular day I was musing over Greene & Greene’s seminal Gamble House, the high water mark of the California Craftsman bungalow. But being my own self, obsessed with modules and keeping things on grid, I drew it a little differently, quickly observing a plan that reminded myself more of Gill than Greene. So I ran with it. White stucco replaces darkened shingles; Rectangular parapets take the place of deep Japanese-inspired gables; Minimally appointed Italianate colonnades take over for iron-wrapped wood posts. What we’re left with, while deriving from the Gamble House no doubt becomes something completely different, yet all the while essentially Californian.
Two more takes on the Victorian-anomaly-Octagon-house. The first is octagonal at the core, with square rooms off of four corners, connected by intermediary porches to form more of a chamfered square at the ground floor, while the octagon proper pierces out at the second story, topped with a tall, Rossi-an turret. The second is more subtle, placing a gabled roof on top of an octagonal plan, with porches on either side at the ground floor.
I like circles. I like squares. I like circles and squares together. This is a gazebo. It has a square brick base with four Tuscan columns. These support a circular lintel with conical purlins. The drawing below does not have a circle. It is kind of boring.
That is all.
I think through drawing; I interpret as I reproduce. The drawing above perfectly capture this, where I set out to draw an accurate representation of an existing floor plan and ended up drawing what I wanted to see. The project in question is Frank V. Klingeren’s T-Karregat Center in Eindhoven, of 1973. The original is a system of steel truss ‘trees’ that serve as both structure and building systems, in some Reyner-Banham-dream-come-true, culminating in large pyramidal skylights that provide the majority of the light to an otherwise free plan interior.
My interpretation keeps the modular system, but lays it out in a rigor more reminiscent of early SOM (Mitchell Hall at the US Air Force Academy), and imagines it rendered in popular-once-again heavy-timber framing. The drawings below investigate the basic modularity, the nine square, and centering.
Today’s post takes its impetus from a number of geometric games I’ve been playing with myself recently – the staircase moves from a circle to a square in plan, the tower moves from a square to a circle in elevation, the staircase moves from a rectangle to a circle as it moves from floor to floor. Programmatically, it is a take on Krier’s belvederes, which crop up again and again in his oeuvre (and again, and again, and again, and again, and again. . . ).
I find the late Victorian octagon houses fascinating on many levels (this one, this one, this one). A few weeks back, while scouring a site devoted solely to documenting these gems, I stumbled upon one that had been wrapped in a square two-story porch. This project is a derivative of that, with a tower-like octagonal form completely subsumed behind the square porch, only peeking out in a cupola at the roofline, taking a cue here or there from good ol’ Aldo Rossi. A study below takes the tower metaphor further, extending the octagon below the porches, which take on a more expressive tectonic with braced timber supports below.
This small house takes its initial generation from a small, L-shaped home I drove past while on vacation in Oregon this past spring, where a porch filled out the square floor plan, its tall hip roof hitting the crotch of the two-story L behind. My version envisions a three-story volume to heighten the drama of the hip roof over the porch, with a circular stair at the corner of the L, while large Richardsonian Syrian arches front each gabled end, here rendered with a Gill-inspired symplicity. I also toyed with adding a wing outside the L, after seeing a photo of a similarly planned house which featured a few wing additions – in this parti, the L is subsumed into an overall symmetry.
Something interesting today – A shallow gabled house sandwiched between two oversized hemispherical porches, with large conical roofs above. The house itself is clad in clapboard, while the porches are colonnaded and shingled. A tall lantern caps the central volume to bring light into an otherwise dim space. The house itself is divided into a cubic central dining room, with a kitchen/bathing alcove to one side and a sleeping alcove to the other, while the expansive porches are intended to be the primary ‘living rooms’. Elevations and axonometrics below.
A few weeks ago, I posted a quick sketch of a Classicized version of Le Corbusier’s Five Points. That post in turn had been influenced by the work of Leon Krier. Today, Leon has agreed to share with you some yet unpublished drawings, his own revisiting of Le Corbusier’s seminal Villa Savoye.
This is the mecca of Corbusian modernism, and Krier takes no small shots, recontextualizing the villa by relocating it on the site, extending a large walled garden at one end, and bringing the roof garden to a climactic belvedere.
Krier keeps Corb’s basic Five Points right in place, but deftly moves them about: placing the piloti on a massive, battered base; adding more forms to the sculptural roof garden; and making a feature out of the ‘free plan’ curve at ground level. Corbusier is still here, but so is Krier.
All work is graciously lent by Leon Krier, who maintains his copyright © 2017.
Today I’m featuring two disconnected and distinct projects linked only by one formal trait – circular forms inset within squares.
The top project riffs on Adolf Loos’ Steiner House, isolating the iconic barrel vaulted roof, expressing it as a bow truss on the interior, and topping it with a central circular skylight.
The bottom is a take on a vestibule in Lutyens’ Middleton Park, where a hemispherical dome is cut rather unceremoniously by a rectangular rather than the typical square room beneath, giving the dome an inherent axis. I’ve topped this with a tall sculptural skylight, at once a nod to both the Choragic Monument and Michael Graves.