There’s a single family house in my neighborhood that was at one time wrapped in a deep arcade. Though rotting and falling apart (and no doubt unpermitted), the regular rhythm of the arches masks the asymmetrically placed windows and doors behind. I tied this with Irving Gill’s Oceanside City Hall of 1934 (also here), which uses an arcade in a similar fashion, to regularize an otherwise syncopated facade.
Today’s project takes Gill’s more refined use of the arcade and applies it to the single family home, a typical, asymmetrical, single story, home not unlike many here in Southern California (and indeed in many suburban neighborhoods). This results in some interesting conditions, with some occupied spaces pushed right up behind the arcade while leaving shallow porches elsewhere, and even enclosing a small garden within its bounds.
The options below take the same floor plan of above, but add a second floor, positioning the arcade proper against taller volumes behind.
Today’s project takes its impetus from the tithe barn (Fr. grange dimiere), medieval structures used to collect villagers’ tithes, which prior to the proliferation of cash was often given as a portion (one tenth) of the individual’s harvest. These cumulative tithes required an elaborate barn to store them for safekeeping throughout the following year. The structures are fabulous syntheses of the ecclesiastical and the secular – large, windowless stone or brick fortresses with soaring trussed, nave-like, roofs.
Barn conversions are fascinating to me, with the domesticization of the agricultural, and the tithe barn is no less so. This project attempts to take the typical tithe barn and meet it with the domestic, with a large enclosed courtyard to compliment the truss-framed living room.
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 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.
Or is it just glorified trailer? Oh, let’s not quibble over semantics, shall we? You’re here for pretty pictures. Well, what I have here is a small ‘home’, a tiny home, rather.
There is a whole market out there that is centered around this new class of detached homes for those without the budget for a conventional suburban home, or those who would seek to lessen their actual footprint on the earth in addition to their carbon footprint. What I find interesting is the challenge of fitting all the normal homey things into a smaller package, wrapping that package around conventional building modules, and yet still fitting it into Department of Transportation standards for a ‘mobile’ trailer.
My thoughts ramble between two or three eight-foot cubes, all topped with pyramidal roofs and skylights, and jam-packed with foldable shelving, hidden beds, and all the other hoopla that comes with a ‘tiny home’.
This is a simple, ‘shotgun’ home, with two porches flanking either side, and a large central room in the middle, accentuated by the ‘dutch’ gable of the roof. The ‘opposites’ so named in the post’s title indicate that the ground floor has open porches on the ends with a solid middle, while the semi-enclosed basement has the opposite: enclosed ends and an arcaded middle. This came about through a simple drawing, shown above, where the same parti could easily be rendered in either formation – so why not do both? That hybrid elevation is below, where the opposition of the two systems results in a ‘checkerboard’ pattern, not too dissimilar from Lutyens’ own, larger, experiments.
Or rather, I drew more of the same courtyard I’ve drawn before. Particularly, I wanted to see how this plan-section combination would work with my double-axon-section projection (see above). I especially like how the section proper gets lost in the projecting planometric linework, both from the wormseye and the traditional ‘aerial’ axonometric.