26 Mar 2010
I already wrote a post on why modern style residential projects cost more to build (here) but I thought it would be nice to look at one of my firm’s projects to see if the proof of the pudding is in the eating. Take a look at these photos and look for the little details. You will find that soffit vents align with architectural features and window mullions; window mullions line up with masonry joints, windows extend up to the ceiling and the interior ceiling and exterior soffit are in the same plane (no header sticking down to interrupt your eye moving from inside to outside).
We also spent time working out the foundation grade beam around the koi pond so that the house cantilevers out over the water. This wasn’t an easy detail and despite looking great, it actually served a purpose: the fish need a place of shelter to protect them from winged predators.
We paid attention to the soffit materials and the layout of the vents, look for how the exterior structure relates/ penetrates. There are a lot of little moving parts in this project that go a long way in making the spaces feel “right”. We adjust ceiling heights throughout the house to relate not only to the function, but the role the spaces place as points along a line of experience (sounds like architecture talk…uh-oh). Once inside the front door, the window in the entry vestibule is lowered to the floor, closing things down (and focusing your eye towards the koi pond beyond) so that as you turn to the major public spaces to either side, the windows extend from floor to ceiling, enlarging the space and extending it out into the terrace and sculpture garden. Even the act of entering and turning to the right is a considered experience – far different than if you entered to one side of the public room.
Our project description reads like this:
After looking for years, the owners found a densely wooded urban lot to build a home for their family of six. The challenge to the program was that he wanted an extremely modern home to feature the art collection while she wanted a warm and inviting home to entertain a large extended family. We met their goals by incorporating the earthiness of rough-back limestone and warmly toned rift-cut white oak millwork with extensive open walls of custom steel window assemblies. The large expanses of glass visually connect the interior spaces to the exterior terraces, sculpture gardens, and reflecting pools. The low slope and neutral tone of the standing seam metal roof integrates into the canopy of the surrounding trees and landscape while the deep overhangs protect the large openings in the wall from the direct rays of the summer sun. Close collaboration with the landscape architect facilitated a comprehensive and cohesive design that extends this home into its surroundings.