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’.
Today’s post is a small pavilion, four-square with on-center columns at each facade, radius-ed corners, each topped with a miniature turret and blended into a larger hip roof. Bits of Richardson clash with modernist modularity, postmodern idiom, and multiple readings in the plan (a diamond? a cruciform? nine-square even?). While I’ve drawn the exterior in brick, it could work wonderfully shingled or in clapboard, perhaps even stucco.
Another Gill-inspired project, this time taking planometric cues from Ungers, with a large central hall that cuts through three stories to a pyramidal skylight atop, wrapped in a continuous arcaded portico all around. Maybe this one could do with killer attic spaces, for a fourth floor.
To celebrate my birthday, my wife took me to see over 20 of Irving Gill’s extant works. I’ve always appreciated this seminal figure, and his lasting impact upon Southern California’s architectural development, but had never taken it upon myself to actually seek out his work in person. Lesson learned. And as much as I appreciate precedent study, that is the representation of existing works through drawing, I believe that history must be operative – that is, we must look to how history can work for us today. Not only what we can learn from it, but what we can do with it.
And with that introduction, I give you a small house, three squares in plan, stepped in section, cubic in volume. The articulation of the volumes is typical Gill, with an arcade wrapping the a portion of the ground floor as a screen, yet open to the air above (quoting Gill’s Bishop’s School in La Jolla). The remainder of the details are taken from Ungers, with some Schindler-esque diagonal planning.
Following the last post, this long hall also features two heaths, though here they’re in the form of the modernist cone fireplaces popular in the 60’s, and are placed along the length of the structure rather than at its ends. The most defining characteristic of this project though are the long roof rafters that are extended past the walls but without carrying any projecting eave of the roof itself. This was taken from a derelict barn building I drove past over the winter break, where the eaves had been completely bereft of their roofing, leaving only bare joists.
As a part of my Christmas traditions, my family and I spend a weekend in the mountains here in Southern California, where we can play ‘winter’ and ‘snow’ and safely return to our warm weather when our fingers are sufficiently numb. The so-called ‘cabins’ we stay in are often over-sized log mansions, and kitschy as can be expected.
This project is an answer to them: a simple nine-square plan with a central courtyard, and a circular infinity-edge spa at the middle; the kitchen-dining-living trio lines the north edge, with sliding glass walls fronting a supposed lake view; and private sleeping quarters located on the lower level.
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.
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. . .
This house plays a game of symmetry, where the magnificent double gable of Lutyens’ Homewood is played on every facade, but punches out by one module on the east and west facades. The stair is set off-center, with a tall square atrium (Craig Ellwood of two posts back), and an asymmetrical collage of symmetrical rooms inside. My first plan (above) had double columns throughout, the second plan (below) favors the single centered column.