Most often, architects design with ‘plan as generator’, that is we begin designing a building with the floor plan, and derive all the elevations, sections, and even details from it.
Today, though, is something different. This began as an elevation – what you see above. I was thinking something between Adolf Loos and Irving Gill, with a Richardsonian picturesque quality – a ‘character study’ if you will. A rectangular volume makes up the center with a cubic one stepped down to the right and a smaller cube to the left, with a stair tower at the ‘rear’.
The plan – below – came after, trying to work out precisely how the different squares and modules worked together, playing localized symmetries and forms against one another, and eventually placing a formal parterre garden on the upper level with a pool deck on the lower, while a gravel auto court fleshes out the public side of the property.
In 1980, Jose Ignacio Linazasoro designed a deceptively simple renovation of a town hall at Segura in the Basque region of Guipuzcoa. While Linazasoro’s current work is of a decidedly modernist vocabulary, his earliest work was more neo-rationalist, taking heavy cues from Rossi and Krier (he even worked in the office of Venturi Scott Brown for a time). The town hall renovation in question reorganized the historic palacio to front an adjacent garden, adding a deep Syrian arch off of a square brick patio, and a long brick-columned pergola overlooking a deep valley and river beyond.
The top drawing outlines the new garden with an idealized ground floor plan of the palacio, while the drawing below is of the square patio itself, complete with herringbone brickwork, stone jointing, and a partial elevation of the archway.
A square volume set upon two long, cyma-ed walls, enclosing one garden per side, with deep eaves at the hip roof, and hung metal balconies at the second floor. The ground floor walls bi-fold upward, to offer complete movement between the interior and the enclosed gardens. Tall cypresses and vine-covered lattices complete the garden walls at either end. I really should flesh this one out a bit more, methinks.
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?
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 is kind of infatuated with mid-century modernism, with volumes on Palm Springs and Neutra strewn about his house. So naturally, I began to tinker with what I might do with the tropes of ‘MCM’, and how I might incorporate it into my own tendencies of modular, square plans. This plan again plays on ideas of four and nine-squares, with brick walls surrounding three sides of a square, one half of which is dedicated to the interior domestic spaces and the other is given over to the exterior with a brick patio, wood deck, gravel garden, and a pool. The timber-framed living volume is flanked by a service bar in which a small entry courtyard is situated.
I’m not happy with the pool, and am tempted to try it on center rather than the side. . .
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.
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).
Part gable, part hip roof: the dutch gable. This small pavilion is a simple post-and-beam structure, on a four-square plan, with shingled walls set in antis to the columns on two sides, all beneath a large square dutch gable roof. The roof is inherently directional, always favoring one axis of the other, even though the eaves remain constant. The bottom drawings attempt to subvert this, making the dutch gable diagonally symmetrical, similar to the roof of a small cabin I featured some weeks past.
Today is the day I celebrate my birth into this crazy world. So I’ll take this time to share some personal drawings: my house, or rather the little nooks and crannies of it that I’d like to alter, shift, sheathe, or paint. There’s a lot of me here, my confusion, my interests, my unrest, as well as where I sleep, read, eat, and otherwise live. There are bathrooms (above and just below), staircases (below), ceilings (below), gardens (bottom), and wainscotts throughout. Enjoy.