It’s been far too long – apologies are in order.
But today it’s back to basics: square and arches. The first project is a simple study of a simple idea, instigated by an awful homespun diy renovation in my neighborhood, where a series of plaster arches had been tacked up under a shallow roof overhang, obscuring the clapboard home beneath. I’ve ordered it a bit more, rendered in a square with access via brick steps at the corners – a four square clapboard home sheltered behind a humanist arcade.
The second project is another simple pavilion, this time with rounded corners and centralized access. A quick study to the right explores an arcuated form, with a centralized column instead, harkening back to the four square plan mentioned above.
This small home is a take on the shingled row houses of southern New England, particularly by a number of homes I visited on the Rhode Island-Massachusetts border while in graduate school. The volume is a simple cube, wrapped in shingles for three stories, reflected by a nine-square breakdown in floor plan. While the precedent is more humble in its vernacular porch, I’ve given it a more deliberately Grecian portico, with a deliberately pedimented end gable at top. A small ocular window hints at the circular central staircase inside, played against the otherwise rectangular language of the whole.
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.
It began easily enough, a simple linear plan with two entrance porticoes per side, opening onto a square central hall with a circular stair its center, flanked by two sitting rooms, all sitting beneath two large deep-eaved hip roofs. But then my love of iterations got the best of me, and I began to chop off the side porticoes, play with roof forms, and open up the central hall into a dogtrot type house. . .
A Palladian villa facade on the primary axis is countered with long, low shingled porches on the transverse, which in a twist of irony is where the entry is located. Behind a symmetrical elevation of colonnades and porticoes, the building takes a more free spirit – one porch is exterior, the other ‘enclosed’, a glass-wrapped stair hall occupies two of three bays of a frontal portico, while the left over bay is screened in. The shingled roofs of the porches extend to meet a long skylit lightwell, cutting the central Palladian volume in twain.
I’ve had circles on the brain recently. Here’s an example of a small project that stemmed from a little single family residential remodel I’m working on, where we’re turning a nondescript backyard into a courtyard, uniting three distinct structures into one in the process. My version objectifies that courtyard, an off-center circular motor court, with a peristyle all around – porches, porticos, patios, garages, and alleys all spiral off of this singular form.
Once again, Price regulates the picturesque qualities of the Shingle Style on a strict module and with intense symmetry. Two chimneys dominate the principal facade, which has a Richardsonian Syrian arch dead center, flanked with expansive glazing and shingled balconies on the sides, which top long portico-ed porches. The symmetry only breaks at the entry facade, where a small porch sits next to the stair hall.
An unbuilt project for a crematorium complex at Malmö, Sweden. Three conical brick chimneys top square window-less boxes, with small temples linking them one to another. An elongated temple-fronted portico acts as the formal entry at the center volume.
Santa Maria del Naranco was not built as a church, but rather a palace, and is thus an atypical church plan. My interpretation of it is devoid of any ecclesiastical use, and reverts back to a folly. I’ve stripped it of the Romanesque ornament and overlaid a Grecian pediment, corners similar to the Monadnock Building in Chicago, and stripped modernist interiors.