Posted by the editors on Sunday, 5 May 2013
Residential Architecture: Smith-Clementi Residence by Rios Clementi Hale Studios: “..Program: Exterior and interior remodel and addition to single-family home and adjacent yard. First floor: living area, kitchen/breakfast room, powder room, outdoor dining, garage. Second floor: master suite, family room/office, two children’s bedrooms, children’s bath, utility room. Design: Originally built in 1920s (at 600 square feet) and renovated by husband-and-wife architects in 1996 with second-floor addition, the house grew again in 2012 with the addition of a second lot, reconfiguration of public and private areas, and new garage and master suite. The resulting home now revolves around indoor/outdoor connections to the vast patio space with decorative and working gardens. The front volume maintains a refined lap siding as a signal to the house’s bungalow origins with a scale appropriate for the walk street, while the expressive back volume sports exaggerated vertical wood framing as sunshades to the glass master bedroom volume. “A house and its antithesis,” is how the architects/homeowners describe the relationship between the two elements. The house slowly reveals itself along a walk street in Venice, California, with the design juxtapositions foreshadowed by corresponding fences—a vine-covered traditional wrought-iron fence leads into an raw- wood rustic picket fence. The idea of “Cape Cod meets California Modern” is displayed in the varying rooflines that open the structure to natural light and create terraces for outdoor living. Public areas on the ground floor flow into each other and toward the outdoors. A new large sliding-glass door opens the lower level out to the generous plaza formed from linear concrete slabs with grass and pebbles interspersed. No-mow grass surrounds the front elevated entry porch, which begins the consistent black concrete-tile flooring that travels from outside through the first-floor living, dining, and kitchen areas, then back outside to the al fresco dining platform. Muted colors on the exterior are derived from the landscape and majestic magnolia tree on the property, while natural-wood trim further connects the structure to the landscape. Accessible openings—doors and operable windows—are trimmed in olive paint. The back volume addition encompasses garage and storage with glass-enclosed master suite above. Structural, vertical raw-wood framing is expressively placed around the glass volume. In additional to functionally acting as sunscreens, the beams connote a tree house and correspond to the picket fence in both materiality and attitude. Both front and back parts of the house are distinct on the ground floor—connected by the open-air dining terrace—while the upper- level, cement-board cladded “bridge” connection is more seamless from the interior, acting as a large, common space shared by the family. Immediately upon entering the home, one feels the senses of light and play. Window walls face the outdoor areas and clerestory windows express the changing levels. Standing in the entry living room, one can see clear through to the breakfast area, outdoor dining, and garage. The living room features built-in and free-standing custom benches upholstered in lively patterned fabric. The existing fireplace was re-clad in origami-like dark metal. Materials were chosen to express functionality, thus natural wood and plywood are used extensively, allowing family art and artifacts to add color and character. The open kitchen features a built-in banquette and breakfast table, sleek and simple white cabinetry, and plywood- covered exhaust hood above the working antique stove, which once belonged to noted architect Ming Fung’s mother (Smith and Clementi met at Hodgetts + Fung early in their careers). The custom butcher- block island unfolds to a playful Buffalo profile. Floor-to-ceiling plywood book and entertainment center leads to the heavy timber wood staircase. Upstairs, two bedrooms and a shared bath for the owners’ nine- and 16-year-old daughters are separated from the master suite by the “bridge”. Central to the bridge is the open family room—a hub of activity combining TV viewing, computer, and various other functions that mirror the family’s lifestyle. The flooring changes from wood to cork tiles beyond an olive-colored floor-to-ceiling door that opens to the master suite, which includes seating area, terrace, bath, and walk-in closets. A seven-foot-high plywood wall acts as headboard and privacy shield to the alley, while the CMU wall extends up from the garage below and then through the full-height glass wall to the outdoor balcony. Sliding and pocketing doors on two sides can be opened and closed as desired to manage degrees of openness. The hanging fireplace swivels to direct heat either toward the room or toward the balcony. The plywood storage wall is inset with red doorways leading into closets and the master bath. Open shelves allow a clear view into the bath, which may alternately by closed off by sliding the door all the way across. White cabinetry and positive/negative faux bois tile highlight the master bath. Obtaining the neighboring lot gave the owners the freedom to open the home up to the outside. “Even though we’re Modernists,” notes Frank, “the relationship to the outdoors in the previous renovation wasn’t sufficient.” Orienting views toward the existing 80-year-old Magnolia Grande Flora tree resulted in short vistas with long diagonals that afford views, light, and air. On the adjoining property sits an olive-colored house for Julie’s mother, who also collaborated on the landscape. Long troughs with growing vegetable are placed along the walk street..” Interesting cladding / timber sun-screen, interior volumes and details; indoor / outdoor sensibility..
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image: © Undine Pröhl; article: “Smith-Clementi Residence / Rios Clementi Hale Studios” 01 May 2013. ArchDaily
Posted in Architects, Architecture, Architecture + Design, Contemporary Architecture, contemporary design, Design, Design & Decoration, Designalog, Interior Decoration, Interior Design, Interiors, lighting, Modernism, Residential Architecture | Tagged: Additions, archdaily, Architecture, Black Concrete Flooring, California, Concrete, Cork Tiles, Design, Designalog, Extensions, glass, Homes, Houses, Housing, Indoor/Outdoor, North America, Remodeling, Renovations, Residential Architecture, Rios Clementi Hale Studios, Smith-Clementi Residence, Smith-Clementi Residence by Rios Clementi Hale Studios, Terraces, Timber, US, Venice, wood | Leave a Comment »
Posted by the editors on Sunday, 3 March 2013
Architecture: ‘The Artistic and the Beautiful’: Frank Lloyd Wright’s Wide-Ranging Views (audio interview): “..In 1957, two years before his death, Frank Lloyd Wright sat down with WNYC (ndlr: radio) to discuss his design philosophy, exhibiting his trademark eloquence and blistering opinions. The year of this interview marks an explosion of commissions for Wright, who by then had been practicing architecture for 70 years..
Wright mainly designed homes until 1957-58, when he took on 90 new projects, many for public buildings. Over all, Wright’s last decade was his most prolific, accounting for nearly one-third of his oeuvre. This interview was recorded in his Plaza Hotel apartment where he’d moved two years earlier in order to oversee construction of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, on which he had been working for 14 years. Here, Wright neatly dismisses the project’s many critics, promising “…a new point of view…it’s going to be so enlivening and refreshing that it will make some of these painters quite ashamed of the protest that they issued against it.”
In this interview, Wright also expresses distaste for the nascent designs of Sydney Opera House, as well as the U.S. Air Force Academy structure, whose designers he lambasts as “Poetry Crushers with a capital P.” The Academy’s use of an advisory committee of architects prompts Wright to remark that “an architect is either an inspiration or…he’s merely a committee-mind…a liability.”
Asked whether he’s acquainted with New York’s planned Lincoln Center complex, Wright remarks, “I think it wouldn’t do me any good to become acquainted with it. I suggest the other way around: they become…acquainted with the ones that I’m doing.”
Two notable influences on the young Wright were his itinerant childhood (his father was a traveling minister), and years spent on his uncle’s Wisconsin farm where he “learned…the region in every line and feature…the modeling of the hills, the weaving and fabric that clings to them, the look of it all in tender green or covered with snow or in full glow of summer.” His mother, a school teacher, enhanced his understanding of structure by giving him a set of newly invented blocks developed by revolutionary German educator Friedrich Fröbel whose theories laid the foundations for modern education.
Beyond architecture, Wright is also noted as a singularly influential and innovative urban planner, interior designer, architectural writer, and educator. He is noted for his often prescient, sometimes embattled philosophical and social views, a range well displayed in this broadcast, when in the middle of describing his new designs for homes with children’s playrooms, he can’t help but point out that “the American family should be three, not four…and above that, heavily taxed, more and more as they increase in number.” (Wright fathered seven children.)..
Recognized by the American Institute of Architects as “the greatest American architect of all time,” Frank Lloyd Wright was born in Richland Center, Wis., and went on to design 1,141 structures — including houses, offices, churches, clinics, schools, libraries, bridges, and museums — 532 of which were built. Today, 409 are still standing, nearly one-third of them listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Wright died in 1959, six months before the Guggenheim opened.
Asked what architects could do to help build “a better society and civilization,” Wright slips into an uncharacteristically heartfelt tone, suggesting they “study nature, seriously, intelligently, and with feeling, and appreciation.” He also warns that if New York City doesn’t acquire more green space immediately, it will be “uninhabitable.”
At least four of Wright’s descendants became architects, one of whom, his son John Lloyd Wright, invented Lincoln Logs. Other descendants include an architecture professor, two interior designers, a master woodworker, and the actress Anne Baxter, who is Wright’s granddaughter..” Fascinating…
image: © 2009 The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, Scottsdale, Arizona, USA; article: Charis Conn, WNYC, NEH
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Posted by the editors on Sunday, 3 February 2013
Residential Architecture: Silicon House by Selgas Cano: “..This is an allotment on a gentle slope covered by evergreen oak, elm, ash, acacia, prunus and plane trees, all seeded spontaneously by birds from the surrounding plots. All of these trees and their canopy perimeters were measured and drawn on to plan. Le Corbusier said he wanted the empty La Tourette courtyard to be populated naturally with vegetation, by birds and the wind. Le Corbusier left a void in his architecture to be populated by nature. We think this project has arisen in opposition to that idea..Nature has left us a gap and here, only here, can we populate it with something that is architecture, because it is rational. We agree with la Tourette, however, that neither camouflage nor integration nor what is called “ organic architecture “ have ever really been sought. The house adapts by pure opposition. In Italy, some of the motorway bridges are painted sky blue. An innocent, sweet camouflage that only works as expected on a few days and at certain moments, yet we find it most beautiful on the days when you can actually see the trick. The ultimate purpose is (it would be an exaggeration to say “always”)whatever is admired..This allotment is already choked with something that should be preserved, and the only choice left to us is to fill in the remaining interfaces, only the areas that are possible, remnants, between the trees, which we have no intention of touching at all. Respect, but to a manic extent. The house is set beneath two platforms that strive to arise our gaze above the natural setting towards the eastern sky. The views of the house look at the base of the natural environment. The project consists of these two platforms. The house is an addition underneath them. These two platforms are comfortable, with soft pavements, for living inside most of the time. Each one has a different colour and a different level to facilitate access. Each one corresponds to an interior time of the house, and each one is nothing without the other. The only thing we can say about the interior space is that it goes unnoticed. It arises as a remainder from the reaction of the only space being worked here. Outdoor space..This is a project that is only related to the exterior. Two horizontal platforms cultivate it in generic proximity but a metaphoric distance. Distance in which we speak of inanimate nature, reproduced or abstract, also a reflection of an earth and a sky , which becomes involved with both but belongs to neither. The resemblances in its zoomorphic or anthropomorphic silhouette that seem to belong of similarities, the coincidences of the situation of the spherical lightwells/lookouts with eyes and the other skylights with backbones, are just coincidences..” Extensive glazing, natural light, views; interesting conception, form, contextuality..
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image: © Pablo Zuloaga; article: “Silicon House / Selgas Cano” 31 Jan 2013. ArchDaily
Posted in Architects, Architecture, Architecture + Design, Contemporary Architecture, contemporary design, Design, Designalog, Interiors, Modernism, Residential Architecture | Tagged: archdaily, Architecture, Design, Designalog, Europe, glass, Homes, Houses, Housing, La Tourette, Le Corbusier, Lightwells, Madrid, Residential Architecture, Roof Terraces, Selgas Cano, Silicon House, Silicon House by Selgas Cano, Skylights, Spain, Wooded Sites | Leave a Comment »