a retreat

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This began as a small retreat house, in two halves connected by a central skylit entry, with full-height sliding doors on two sides and blank walls on the entry facades.  But, then I got to thinking, and decided to put it on stilts up in the air, like the fire lookout towers that dot the American West’s forests.  Obviously, this necessitates a staircase, which I suggest making a conical spiral.  To increase livable space in what would be an otherwise stuffy cabin, the entire steel structure has been wrapped to create an over-sized screened porch.  While I started with a butterfly roof and tried out a hip roof, I find the dichotomy of the butterfly against the spindly supports to be rather compelling.

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a hall with two hearths

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My apologies for a lack of posting in recent months, between the holidays and another licensing exam, my drawing and posting output has been admittedly underwhelming.

But enough of that.  This is a long, gabled hall with a large hearth dominating the principal axis and full-height windows along the middle, topped with a square pyramidal skylight set at a diagonal.  Entry is by low porches at either end, flanking the hearths.  Formally, this takes influence from the main dining room at Charles Whittlesey’s El Tovar hotel along the south rim of the Grand Canyon, where my wife and I enjoyed a Boxing Day brunch.  My own predilection for Mies-ian staircases, the diagonally-placed skylight, and the half-round dormer windows make it worthy of a post on frame.  Elevations follow.

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a primitive hut

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Or not.  Maybe just a hut then.  A four-square hut.  With a porch on one side and a matching sleeping alcove on the other.  And a single wood stove.  A small kitchenette as well.  And plenty of bookshelves.  Or maybe a different roof altogether in place of the four gables?  An inverted butterfly perhaps?  I think so.  Much more interesting than the bucolic nonchalance of that first drawing.

 

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old man mies had a basilica

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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.

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generic offices

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Taking cues from the Craig Ellwood project I featured a few weeks ago, this generic office building places a large glass box off the ground, ringed at grade with reflecting pools.  The drama is in the circular courtyard hidden inside, which is conical in section, flaring open to the sky above.  Corner staircases echo the circular motif.

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turrets and gables

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No program here, just form, where circles and squares meet, compete, and transform into one another.  Four cubic pavilions are set at the corners of a large conic square hall (the roof form echoes a very early post, a form which I’ve been interested in for some time).  The whole sits under a dutch gable roof, with a central skylight, and circular turrets on top of the square pavilions.

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a cube, sort of

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A cube, with a barrel vault and grand cyma profiles (direct quotations of Krier) giving axial directionality, while two walls present themselves as simple four-square panels.  A grand cornice tops the volume at the exterior, with a triangular skylight running the length of the vault, and reveal courses in brick reference the four-square breakdown of the interior.

double gables

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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.

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taking a spin with ellwood

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From last Friday’s foray into Craig Ellwood’s Scientific Data Systems building, I offer a revised take, with a large standing seam copper hip roof, and a skylit rotunda in place of the cubic atrium, and rounded out the panelled masonry walls along the east and west axes.  Placing a large hip roof on a square form may be a subtle nod to Thomas Beeby’s Baker Institute at Rice University. The detail at right shows a new cornice with dentils and beads rendered in brick.  Maybe something fun could be done with those columns. . .

a house with a hall

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Plan as generator (aka, ‘floor plan comes first, elevations second’), with a long hallway bisecting a semi-cubic volume, colonnades at either end.  Now a staircase – centered on the hallway, one half of the house takes a large ballroom, while the other is bisected into two smaller drawing rooms. The second floor, two long, windowed rooms sit over the porches, while a tall pyramidal skylight tops the stair hall.

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