Having begun my architectural education in Southern California, Mid-Century Modernism (and especially Richard Neutra*) has always held a place of honor in my personal canon – MadMen be damned. Among the Eastern variants of that style, the Harvard Five are most likely the most influential.
Today’s work is a variation on Eliot Noyes’ own home at New Canaan, CT. Effectively, I’ve taken the iconic low-slung, masonry-clad, flat-roofed house and swapped its stylistic elements for more traditional, vernacular ones: an arched entry opens to a colonnaded patio; hip roofs with exposed trusswork sit over the living rooms and bedrooms; and double glass doors replace the sliding panels that so often fail. A brick variation is below, with jack arches in place of the wood trabeation found above.
*Growing up around his buildings at the Crystal Cathedral didn’t hurt either. . .
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. . .
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.
One half is a nine-square (Richardson wrapper, Mies core), while the other half is a four-square (Neutra patios, Mies fireplace). This came from a small garage conversion that never got off the ground – see bottom drawing. So here it is.
I’ve been fascinated with the impluvium for some time now – a large roughly cubic room with an inverted roof that is open to the sky at the center, an essential feature of the Roman domus house typology. This project places a large impluvium at its center, with modern courtyards and bedrooms flaking it, and more traditionally-scaled living spaces at the entry. Formal echoes of Irving Gill, H. H. Richardson, Richard Neutra, and Michael Graves abound.
My client had just built a new greenhouse on his Malibu estate – it was awful. But the open framework of black steel and plexiglass infill on the roof and walls intrigued me. What about Mies in California, Neutra even?