Today’s post is a continuation of the previous week’s. Here, I’ve blown-up the kitchen proper, which like my grandparents’ kitchen that inspired it, has a large central island. Where theirs was square, though, I’ve rendered it circular, in homage to Sir Edwin Lutyens’ great subterranean kitchen at Castle Drogo. Similarly to Lutyens’, I’ve topped it with a great circular skylight as well, to bring ample daylight into the workspace. For a stroke of my own interest, I’ve placed a small breakfast nook to the south, which takes cues from Frank Lloyd Wright’s many inglenooks that dotted his earliest works.
Three sketches, three squares, in anticipation for my 3X10 birthday tomorrow (the 3rd).
The first, an elevation, with an arcade atop two square windows in a wall – Traditional form with abstraction below.
The second, a plan, square in form, but diagonal in organization, with a nice entry rotunda on the corner. This is an homage to Schindler’s diagonal square plans (the How House and Bethlehem Baptist Church, plan), and his mentor’s detailing at the Ennis Brown House.
The third, in a three-dimensional axonometric, a modernist cube.
Three ‘k’s. Three drawings. Three ideas:
Kahn – an homage to Louis I. Kahn’s Center for British Art at Yale, where one of his pyramidal concrete skylights is placed above a more classically detailed library, contrasting the stark materiality of his modernism with the richness of the English country house which inspired it.
Krier – Starting with a plan very much like Wright’s Charnley house, but facing its street façade with a stuccoed language taken from Leon Krier’s Perez Architecture Center at the University of Miami, all for the domestic scale of the single family home.
Kiosk – Almost an exact reduplication of a small Tokyo ‘warehouse’ featured in a book by Atelier Bow-wow, ‘Pet Architecture Guide Book’, with a triangular floor plan topped by a butterfly roof, centering the downspout on the front façade. All I’ve done is perfect the geometry and replace a roll-up garage door with a french glass door.
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. . .
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.
Yet another take on the theme, this time with a symmetrical wrapper, with studies on how the core might sit within the volume. The thought was to more directly synthesize Wright’s Usonian Houses with Mies’ 50X50 House. But more on those later.
Continuing yesterday’s Miesian Cheney (and derivatives), this example pulls its plan directly from Schinkel’s Neue Wache in Berlin, which I’ve drawn below.
So I took the Cheney house plan and put it on Mies’ module, replaced the central hearth with a modified Farnsworth core just to see what happened. Iterations ensued, and even Schinkel reared his head.
Keeping the Chicago theme, but moving a bit back in time, today I’ll feature some early Frank Lloyd Wright, particularly the Cheney House in nearby Oak Park. The plan is fascinating because it is an effectively square structure under a large hip roof, divided into two halves: the front is made up of three public rooms (nine square), while the back is broken into four bedrooms (four square), with servant spaces filling out the middle. The hearth is at the very center of the house, typical Wright. This basic parti (formal planimetric diagram) still fascinates me to this day – a simple form with a complex, yet brutally clear interior logic. The variations it inspired will follow over the coming days.