Small (often illegal) studios riddle the Hollywood Hills, where all ilk of entertainment-oriented folk hash out their hits and edit down their next Oscar-worthy performances. . . or so the stereotype goes.
This is such a studio – a miniature white cube set deep into the hillside with a service shed and private garden adjacent. Upon approach, only the pyramidal skylight is visible, slowly revealing the tall archways underneath upon descending a spiral stair. The form itself owes much to both Irving Gill and O.M. Ungers, with a few picturesque moments from Wallace Neff’s Spanish Colonial Revivalism thrown in for good measure. Upcoming posts will feature the interior of the studio, with that large skylight and intricate trusswork above.
Today’s post takes its impetus from a number of geometric games I’ve been playing with myself recently – the staircase moves from a circle to a square in plan, the tower moves from a square to a circle in elevation, the staircase moves from a rectangle to a circle as it moves from floor to floor. Programmatically, it is a take on Krier’s belvederes, which crop up again and again in his oeuvre (and again, and again, and again, and again, and again. . . ).
Playing a nod to a classic Robert A. M. Stern house at Seaside, Florida, this house is three squares in plan, with one aedicule-ed, where a spiral stair occupies the center, and an upper patio is flanked with Doric columns on center, supporting a bold pediment.
Taking its form from some barn structures I passed on my trip to Oregon, this house has two opposing axes, one large gable, and a hip-ish roof. A spiral stair gently curves out on the side opposite the main entry. Classical details sit happily next to vernacular forms. Further formal explorations below
Today’s drawing is a spiral staircase, hidden within a panellized Mies-inspired cube. Vertical wood slats make up the walls of the interior circle, and are repeated on the balustrade. The risers themselves are thin-gague blackened steel, with a structural stringer running on the exterior, leaving the inner circle a ragged black spiral of teeth-like treads.
The parti is simple: two squares topped with a tall gable, surrounded by a wrap-around porch. A skylit stair occupies the very center, flanked by hearths. A semi-circular screened porch fills in one end, while an enclosed patio becomes a library at the other.
Driving on I-5 through northern California takes you through a lot of farm land, and reminds you just how much of the American economy is agriculture. This means silos – lots of silos, which of course got me thinking. . . From top to bottom: Two silos bridged by a glass Miesian volume; Two silos on a courtyard base, bridged at the top; a picturesque collection of three silos and a grain elevator; a battery of six silos, spaces cut between them, topped with a temple form.
My wife and I drove the coast on our way back home from Portland, and we stumbled upon an lighthouse along the Coquille river in southern Oregon. I was struck by the simple forms rendered in white plaster: the tall cylindrical light and a low lozenge-shaped accessory building. These were both detailed in a pseudo-French collection of mannered profiles and mouldings, with large cyma-ed keystones and segmental arches, and iron king-rod trussed roof construction. Civic work today pales in comparison.
A half-cube with filleted glass corners surmounted by another half-cube under a skylit hip roof. A glass block floor demarcates a gallery above, with a matching laylight, while a steel and glass spiral stair provides access.