a hillside courtyard

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I don’t know why courtyards intrigue me so much.  Perhaps it’s due to my living in the sun-drenched foothills of Southern California, where courtyard typologies have long dotted the land to provide shade in the summer and protect against winter winds.

Today’s project is yet another courtyard house.  This time stemming from a relative’s home perched atop the rolling hills of San Diego county.  The layout is simple:  A small patio protects the front door (to the left on the drawing), with a living room just beyond, a dining room to the right, and the kitchen and family room further yet; to the left are bedrooms and baths, with a stair down to a lower level tucked into the hillside below; a central courtyard is flanked by a covered patio which opens onto tiered terraces and stairs beyond.

Formally, my initial studies (below) were rather rectangular, with only one oriel window at the family room.  However, I couldn’t resist the fun a pinwheel-ed series of oriels would provide, lending one each to the family room, the master bedroom, a guest bedroom, and the dining room.  Here the plan takes cues from McKim Mead & White’s two casinos at Newport (also here) and Narragansett, with a dash of the Bell House (also here).  The bottom sketch further investigates a circular series of stairs at the patio, referencing the predominance of half-round oriel figures in the remainder of the plan.

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a longhouse

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Maybe today’s project is not a longhouse perse, but definitely a domestic form that is quite elongated, with long solid brick gabled walls making up the length of the volume, and a hipped apsoidal colonnaded porches on the ends.  I think that the roof itself would be particularly interesting, with the intersecting gables at different pitches, and a generous Rossi-inspired conical skylight.

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old man mies had a basilica

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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.

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a bridge house

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frame is back in town.  So let’s get started: two classical brick pavilions sit under their modernist counterpart, divided by a long driveway, forming a nine-square plan.  While the first story bars quote Bruce Price’s library at Tudedo Park, the second story harps on Johnson’s Glass House in New Canaan.  Details follow.

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kirk, meeting house, and basilica

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This church type is actually a collection of types – a Colonial American meeting house makes up the sanctuary, while flanked with the choir and apse of a more traditional Anglican church, accessed by an almost domestic-scaled atrium.  The level of detail and poche changes with each individual element.

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another basilica

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Where the previous project offered more of a synthesis between the modern and the classical in terms of style, this one poses a synthesis between types – structuring a basilica form with equal transepts, similar to a Greek cross.  This hybrid typology is not new, and can be found in early Christian churches, such as San Nazaro in Brolo or the Basilica di San Marco in Venice.  Stylistically, my interpretation takes cues from H. H. Richardson, with thick masonry walls, continuous cornice lines, and a large hip roof, which obscures the tower over the crossing from the outside.  Below are earlier studies of a similar plan with much different attitudes towards envelope.

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greek cross synthesis

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Taking cues from both the Nervi and Richardson projects, this church places a large tower campanile at the crossing.  The circular geometries owe more to Trinity, but the glass corners and spatial fluidity are direct quotes of St. Mary.  The tower transitions from a square at its base to a circle at the crown, paying homage to Nervi’s typical hyperbolic paraboloid surfaces.

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