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.
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 project started as a half-cube, which then got its corners chamfered off to become an octagon. It then had a large spherical central space carved out of its inside, in grand imitation of the archetypal Pantheon in Rome, but here rendered in simple brick, without the fuss of the Orders or coffers. Typically, the entrance to a central sancto sanctorum like this is given directly from the outside, but this project forces one to ambulate first through smaller domes at the corners before entering the central space, which is shown in the diagonal section below.
A square with Richardsonian towers on the corners, flat masonry facades in the main axis, with full-height shingle roofs over porches in the other. A skylit circular stair in a square hall in the center with octagonal-ish foyers on either end with half-round aedicules for entry porches.
I’ll be featuring the rest of the house from which this small detail stems tomorrow, but here’s a small tidbit – a foyer or entry hall that is not quite a true octagon, due to the geometries at play in the larger plan. Different ceiling options follow, where the first attempts to regulate the whole in a ribbed ‘melon’ dome, the second highlights the four cardinal direction in a circular vault, and the third treats those as flat panels.