While studying for my last licensing exam, I found some simple and elegant diagrams of different steel frame systems (something like this or this). While the concentrically braced frame has been a hallmark of certain strains of Miesian modernism (Craig Ellwood, anyone? or here), I couldn’t think of an instance where the eccentrically braced frame had made its feature debut. So I drew one. I’ll admit that I had recently had octagon houses on the brain, so that same geometry surfaced here, where the eccentric braces on the four principal facades curve back in on each other to form an interior octagonal form, obscured by the square glazed exterior.
Another vernacular form taken from my Oregon drive. This one, the study of roof masses, with a four-gabled volume over a hipped porch. I’ve taken this to it’s logical extent, with square-in-square, and a continuous, cubic central ‘house’. The reality is that this is no house whatsoever, at least not at this scale. Perhaps more of an elaborate cabin. Miesian stairs offer access from all four sides.
The final drawing represents a different formal operation on the same floor plan, with a single pyramidal roof replacing the hips and gables, echoing Asplund’s Woodland Chapel.
A week or so ago I promised elevations for a courtyard plan. Well, here they be. The front and back feature vernacular porches, complete with columns and hip roofs. The sides, however belie the modernist floor plan inside, with floor-to-ceiling Mies-ian windows at the dining room and bedroom (what’s privacy?), and counter-height butt-glazed windows at the kitchen. The roof forms cannot be seen from the exterior, as they all slope inward to the impluvium-like courtyard. I really aught to do some sections. . .
Today’s post is super simple: square house with notched out corners and a circular impluvium in the center. Hints of Louis I. Kahn’s Goldenberg Residence prevail, set against Mies-ian open planning.
While studying for my latest licensure exam, I came across a simple section of a ranch-style home, which I couldn’t resist but take stab at. The hearth above is the result of that drawing, and the plans below are the further explorations thereof. The floorplan references Mies’ linear homes of the mid 1950’s (McCormick, 1952 & Greenwald, 1955), with a linear series of kitchen, dining, and living spaces separated by casework storage and toilet units, while long porches flank full-height doors. Because my first plan neglected to include the bathroom in particular, the bottom sketch notes how the bath, murphy bed, and storage unit works out.
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.
This is a piece of a larger puzzle, the basic parti of which is sketched above. The stair is located centrally in the square plan, and is itself a nine-square plan. Tectonically, the stair is supported on a peristyle of Tuscan pilasters, while the stair proper is takes its details from Mies’ Crown Hall at IIT, and tall fireplaces occupy three sides (their form, a take on Schindler’s Kings Road House.
Driving through El Segundo the other week, I ran across a nice Miesian office block. A quick internet search for the name ‘Xerox’ which was left stained on a concrete wall and I stumbled across an all too familiar name – Craig Ellwood (Originally built for Scientific Data Systems, which was later bought out by Xerox). A floor plan confirmed my suspicions – a perfect square on 64 columns, raised one floor off the ground with a directional access given by two long walls on the east and west facades, and storefront gazing on the north and south, all centered on a cubic central atrium. The details are almost perfect derivatives of Mies’, but the vertical window mullions stop at the spandrel panels rather than continue full height as MVDR would have done (see Murphy’s Daley Center compared with Mies’ IBM tower). The whole project is undergoing a less than inspiring renovation by SOM, with absolutely no heed for the building module and planted ‘green’ walls. Too bad.
Today’s drawing is a spiral staircase, hidden within a panellized Mies-inspired cube. Vertical wood slats make up the walls of the interior circle, and are repeated on the balustrade. The risers themselves are thin-gague blackened steel, with a structural stringer running on the exterior, leaving the inner circle a ragged black spiral of teeth-like treads.
frame has been up and running for four months now, with new drawings featured daily, with nearly 90 posts and over 240 individual drawings. Some projects are new, others have been resuscitations of old sketches and long-forgotten partis. Often, after I’ve made a nice new shiny post, I’ll stumble upon a relevant detail hidden away in one of my many sketchbooks (or worse, loose sheets of paper fluttering about…). Such is the case with today’s post, which further elaborate upon the very first project featured on frame: mies + neutra.