Author Archives: Tommy Manuel

Iconic House of the Month | May 2017 | The Glass House

Philip Johnson’s Glass House was completed in 1949. The Glass House was Johnson’s first of many architectural experiments in form, material, and ideas that now dot the forty-acre landscape he called home.

With obvious inspiration taken from Mies van der Rohe’s Farnsworth House in Plano, IL, – exterior walls of glass and no interior walls – it is considered another radical departure from contemporary residences. It is best understood as a steel, glass and brick pavilion for viewing the surrounding landscape.

 

The house is situated on a hill overlooking a pond and views of the woods in the distance. Fifty-five feet long by thirty-three feet wide, the 1,815 square foot glazed structure is accessed on each side by a centrally located glass door. The house is considered iconic for its innovative use of new materials in residential construction and its visually integrated effect with the landscape. The Glass house was but one-half of a composition conceived by Johnson. The other, The Brick House, was more solid and it’s where Johnson slept.

The floor plan of the house is actually less radical a living space. Despite the very innovative construction method, the floor plan could easily belong to a colonial era home, which Johnson himself noted as well as other historical references including the Parthenon, the English garden, the Romantic Movement, and the asymmetry of the 19th century.

While the only full-height walls are those that enclose a small circular bathroom, Johnson referred to specific areas in the rectangular volume as “rooms.” A formal entrance, living room, dining room, kitchen, and bedroom make up a continuous uninterrupted space, punctuated by the cylindrical hearth and enclosed bathroom.

Placement of furniture, the use of rugs, and built-in storage cabinets make up the architectural cues for defining the “rooms” in Johnsons house. The living room is centrally positioned, with the rest of the areas and their functions arranged around it.

The open plan and glass walls merge with the landscape in all directions. Although such floor plans are quite common today, it was highly unusual in 1949. Noting the glass walls, Johnson said it was “the only house in the world where you can see the sunset and the moonrise at the same time, standing in the same place. Because that’s an impossibility in any house; you have to walk to another room to see one or the other of those effects.” Perhaps he should have called it the Sunset Moonrise House.

What strikes me about The Glass House from my own vantage point in time and place is the associations it conjures up that aren’t so radical. Granted, for its time and location in Connecticut, it was hugely so, but for me it recalls screen porches, cooking sheds, covered carports that served as an impromptu outdoor dining area, and gazebos (interestingly, Johnson noted a similar reference to mid-western bandstands).

With so many much that close us off from our environment, the lessons and historical references of the iconic Glass House are a testament to the ability of architecture to shelter us without disconnecting us from nature. For a better experience of the house, check out this 360 degree views online here, The Glass House | 360° Views.

You can learn more about Philip Johnson, his Glass House, and other works at The Glass House.

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Designing Your Home with Artwork in Mind

Photo: Dirk Vogel

For anyone building a new house, one of the things that deserves a discussion with your architect is the display of artwork. Whether it’s an extensive art collection, family portraits and photos, or just one very special piece, careful planning is important in showcasing the things you value most. Because there are so many variables, there’s not a one-size-fits-all approach when displaying your artwork. But, by applying a few simple strategies and avoiding certain pitfalls, your artwork will enliven the spaces it calls home.

The Artwork

Let’s first consider what you’ll be displaying. Different kinds of artwork have qualities that will influence how you display them.

Oil paintings can present problems without properly considering the lighting that’s directed at the them, producing unwanted spectral highlights. An evenly diffused light source works best for oil-base artwork.

Acrylic paintings are usually not glossy and therefore don’t have the glare problems associated with oils, so any type of light source may be used.

Artwork that has been placed behind glass often has problems with reflection and glare. Non-reflective glass with proper lighting placement can help solve these problems.

Sculpture and other three-dimensional artwork can be more complicated to display. These are ideally lit from three different angles. Some, however, can be lit by a single light source. In these cases, the location and angle of the light is up to the owner. It may look best lit directly from above, from below, or from one side to create a desired effect.

Photo: Alexandra Lechner

Ambient, Direct, or Both

When designing spaces that will have artwork, it’s important to consider whether you’ll use ambient, direct, or a combination of both.

Ambient light is the general lighting of the room. This is easily calculated using the area of the room (width x depth) multiplying that by 1.5: width x depth x 1.5 = Recommended Wattage.

The general rule for accenting a piece of art is to light it three times brighter than the rest of the room. So, if you are using a combination of ambient and direct lighting in a room, make sure the artwork’s lighting is three times brighter than the space’s ambient light.

Creating layers of light enhances the overall ambiance of the space. With today’s technology, you can create custom scenes that mix varying levels of illumination across both ambient and direct light sources for different times of day.

Work the Angles

The consensus of lighting professionals is that a 30-degree angle from the vertical viewing plane is optimal for projecting light onto a piece of art, preferably, from a ceiling-mounted source, and aimed at the center of the work.

If the piece has a large frame, adding 5 degrees to the angle can help avoid casting an unwanted shadow on the work. To accent the texture in a piece of art, reduce the angle by five degrees. If the angle of the light source is too close, it will produce unwanted raking shadows. If it’s too far way, it could produce unwanted glare.

For large pieces, even illumination is best achieved with either a linear surface-mounted light or multiple recessed fixtures from above to ensure full light distribution and prevent glare and annoying shadows.

Light Fixtures

To best illuminate the art work, it’s best to use bulbs that have a Color Rendering Index (CRI) of 90 or above. The index is a scale from 0–100 that rates how accurately a light source reflects color and intensity compared to natural light.

As far as the light source’s temperature, 2000–3000 Kelvin (K) is considered the best range for artwork, producing a warm, soft glow that will highlight the work without distorting the color palette.

World-renown museums are installing LED (light emitting diode) lighting. These bulbs emit less heat and block ultraviolet light rays. While more expensive, they’re a sound investment in the long run by consuming less energy and not causing damage to your prized photographs and paintings.

Ceiling-Mounted Accent Lights

Directional pinhole spotlights are a great way to illuminate individual art pieces. They can be recessed or surface-mounted. Their ability to adjust the light’s direction and control the light’s beam spread ensures that all the artwork is illuminated, not just a portion of it.

Photo: Gustavo Bernasconi

Track Lights

Track-lighting systems perform much the same as ceiling-mounted accent lights, but provide the additional advantage of flexibility. A recessed ceiling fixture isn’t easily moved if you decide to relocate a painting, but track lighting allows you to conveniently move a fixture or take one off.

Photo: Dirk Vogel

Wall Washers

It’s not necessary have to have dedicated lighting for each artwork. Instead you can wash the wall with light. Using wall washing fixtures is a more casual way of lighting artwork that delivers a wide distribution of light. They come in many types including recessed, surface-mounted, and track-mounted fixtures that can be placed on walls, ceilings, and floors. Wall washers accomplish two things.

Photo: Dirk Vogel

First, they create a brighter wall where art is displayed. Second, indirectly light the rest of the room. This technique is preferred by many contemporary art collectors. It also provides flexibility for changing what’s displayed on the wall. Since it’s evenly lit, there’s no need to add, remove, or adjust fixtures.

Picture Lights

Picture lights are mounted on the wall or directly on the frames of individual artworks. As a result, the fixtures are typically equipped with very low-wattage bulbs. Picture lights create an intimate space in front of the work and are better suited for smaller works of art. However, there are a few manufacturers that make very large picture lights capable of illuminating areas taken up by larger pieces.

Because of their visibility and location, the style of these lights should be considered with the overall look and feel of the room. While the fixtures themselves don’t require rough-in during construction, picture lights with cords require an outlet and hard-wired models need power run directly to them, so coordinating this during the design process is crucial.

Things to Avoid

It should go without saying to avoid direct sunlight. But, I’ll say it. Avoid. Direct. Sunlight. If the artwork is particularly delicate, e.g. works on paper, this is especially important.

Wherever possible, use walls that are north-facing, and avoid westward facing walls that receive the brunt of afternoon heat.

Avoid using fluorescent bulbs. Just don’t use the garish things.

Avoid unsecured and frame-attached lighting. Lighting fixtures that aren’t properly secured could move and damage your artwork, especially frame-attached fixtures. Avoid these wherever you can, but if you must use them, take extra precautions to ensure they’re properly attached.

Decorative light fixtures can cast unwanted patterns of light and shadows on walls were artwork is being displayed. Narrow spaces like foyers, hallways and smaller rooms are particularly susceptible to this occurring. Beautifully designed decorative light fixtures should be given enough space for their own appreciation while not compromising the display of your artwork.

Decorative lighting by David Trubridge.

To minimize damage, keep halogen lamps a safe distance away and equip the fixtures with lenses that filter UV light. Better yet, use LED bulbs. LED bulbs do not emit UV light and produce very little heat. Think ahead and invest in the right lighting during the design and construction of your new home so it doesn’t end up costing you what can’t be replaced.

Iconic Building of the Month | April 2017 | e.1027

Since I missed sending out the newsletter during Women’s History Month, and since I like to take any chance to share some great architecture, the featured iconic building this month was designed by a lesser known, but no less talented, woman architect.

e.1027 is a modernist villa design by Eileen Gray (1878–1976) in Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, in the Alpes-Maritimes department of France. The “L”-shaped, flat-roofed villa with floor-to-ceiling windows was designed and built from 1926-29 for herself and her lover Jean Badovici. The unique name of the house is code for something. Can you guess what it is?

She envisioned a white retreat washed in southern French sunlight, cooled by Mediterranean breezes, and furnished with practical minimalist furnishings of leisure. The two-story building was conceived as a simple rectangular box positioned parallel to the hillside and supported by pillars with the partial lower floor being tucked into the hillside. The upper rectangular volume was punctuated by at one end by a simple cube and protruding horizontal strips of dark shuttered windows.

The design of e.1027 is said to have taken shape around the furniture and the way occupants would move in the space. Gray created built-in cabinets and drawers for seasonal clothes. Guest rooms and nooks allowed retreat and privacy from open areas. Windows were positioned to afford carefully chosen views.

At the villa’s entrance, Gray painted the words Entrez lentement—enter slowly—an invitation to guests to relax and leave their worries behind. A small kitchen is located to the left, and to the right, the main living area with bi-folding glass doors that open to the deck and the sea beyond. A foldout dining table was stored in a corner for dining al fresco. A reading nook that doubles as an extra guest bedroom occupied the other corner. Gray deliberately violated Le Corbusier’s tenet of clean, straight lines through slight offsets of stacked shelves and storage spaces.

Demonstrating her obvious obsession with light and air, e.1027 also demonstrates Gray’s interest in privacy. The master bedroom and bathroom suite invites retreat, tucked away on the first floor.

 
 

Not only the designer, Gray carried building materials by wheelbarrow, building the place herself with help from local laborers. Gray and Badovici would part ways shortly after e.1027 was completed.

The architect Le Corbusier was a friend of Badovici, and while staying as a guest in the house in 1938 and 1939, he painted murals on the walls. Gray considered these actions vandalism and an intrusion onto her design. The critic Rowan Moore said that Le Corbusier’s murals were indicative of an offense “that a woman could create such a fine work of modernism” so he “asserted his dominion, like a urinating dog, over [her] territory”.

Though a modernist work, Gray departed from Le Corbusier’s assertion that “the house is a machine to live in.” Instead, she described the house as a living organism, countering that “it is not a matter of simply constructing beautiful ensembles of lines, but above all, dwellings for people.” “Formulas are nothing,” she insisted, “Life is everything.”

Any guesses on the name’s meaning? I’ll give you a hint. It has to do with the names of two people.

 
Unfortunately, Gray was slow at putting her name forward as the architect of e.1027that for many years it was assumed by journalists, and even historians, that Le Corbusier was the designer.

The French government designated it as a national cultural monument and purchased the villa in 1999. After many years of neglect and isolation, restoration work on e.1027started after 2000. The bulk of the restoration took place between 2006 and 2010 with further restoration work done in 2014.So, about the odd name for Gray’s house, any ideas? 

Well, e.1027, is code of Eileen Gray and Jean Badovici, her lover. ‘e’ stands for Eileen, ’10’ for Jean, ‘2’ for Badovici, and ‘7’ for Gray. The encoded name was Gray’s way of showing their relationship at the time the villa was completed!

You can learn more about Eileen Gray and e.1027 at Friends of e.1027.

Iconic Building of the Month | February 2017 | Herron House

Herron House, Venus, FL, 1957. 

This month’s Iconic Building is a house designed by one of the leaders of the Sarasota School of Architecture, a regional style of post-war architecture that emerged on Florida’s Central West Coast. The style was characterized by attention to climate and terrain, incorporating large sunshades, innovative ventilation systems, oversized sliding glass doors, floating staircases, and walls of jalousie windows.

The Iconic Building of the Month features a series of gluelam structural components that support an wood plank roof that spans the entire plan of the home. The gluelam components arch away from the interior of the home to provide deep overhangs to provide shading. Interior spaces requiring privacy, like bedrooms and baths are screened with patterned Brikcrete walls. Curtain walls of glass frame patios and views to the outside.

The main living and dining area of the home is partitioned off with two curving low walls of glazed brick that are punctuated with views through the home toward the front and back through glass-enclosed patios. The planked wood ceiling arches across the space, unifying the interior and disappearing behind the top of the low glazed brick wall to form lower ceilings in the surrounding rooms.

The home recently underwent an extensive renovation where every effort was made to maintain the design intent that the original architect had envisioned, complete with complimenting period furniture and and furnishings.

The end result is a remarkable rebirth of architect Victor Lundy’s (b. 1923) Herron House located in Venice, Florida, and originally constructed in 1957.

Asked if he considered himself more of and artist or an architect…

“I consider myself both,” he says. “For me, art is architecture — and architecture is art. They’re forms of creative expression in very different media, but they come from the same place.”

Iconic Building of the Month | January 2017 | Heller Residence #2

Heller Residence #2 (“Birdcage House”), Miami Beach, FL, 1949.

Colder weather here in the lowcountry has me dreaming of winter in Miami. So, this newsletter’s Iconic Building Of The Month is Igor Polevitzky’s design of the Heller Residence #2, also known as the Bird-Cage House.

Constructed in 1949, the home was considered a radical experiment in outdoor living, a house as a “volume of screened space”.

The screened home encloses a pool and tree within its split-level concrete decks, while the exterior landscaping features a lagoon and sandy beach. The building incorporated the use of new materials, including a diaphanous aluminum screen and open-web steel trusses, never seen in residential construction before.

The Heller Residence #2 was the most popular in a series of homes that Polevitzky designed between 1936 and 1949.

Referred to as Tropotype (a mash up of the words tropical and prototype), the homes were specifically designed for the South Florida environment, emphasizing health, happiness and productivity for its owners.

All the tropotypes utilized passive-energy designs in conjunction with an ambiguous envelope to encourage an indoor‐outdoor lifestyle.

Elevated Living: A Look At Lina Bo Bardi’s Casa de Vidro

Lina Bo Bardi was born this day in December of 1914 (d. 1992).  Born in Italy, her notoriety as a prolific architect and designer would take shape in Brazil, where she immigrated to in 1946 with her husband, a well-known art dealer and journalist. She would go on to spend much of her career championing the social and cultural importance of architecture and design.

 

bo-bardi-intro-1_525

 

In the same year (1951) she became a naturalized Brazilian citizen, she completed her first built work, her own home known as Casa de Vidro, Glass House, in what is now the Morumbi neighborhood of São Paulo.

 

Casa de Vidro, Lina Bo Bardi.

 

So, you may be asking how a house built in Brazil almost seventy years ago by an Italian-born architect is relevant to residential architecture in the South Carolina low country?

There are 3 reasons.

1. Elevated Living

Bo Bardi’s Casa de Vidro isn’t located in a flood zone, but rather situated on a hill that slopes upward to the north. Bo Bardi designed the home so that the main living area is elevated over the lower side of the site, while the bedrooms and servants’ quarters sit solidly on the upper side of the site.

 

Casa de Vidra, Sections and Plans

 

Her design solution results in a similar condition that residential developers and homeowners face along our coast due to FEMA’s elevated building height requirements.

Instead of concealing the area below the elevated living space, what Bo Bardi does is to use this to dramatic affect in how the home is experienced. Her treatment of the underside of the house is just as important as the space above, both working together to produce a carefully designed whole.

2. Orchestrated Arrival

The first way Casa de Vidro takes advantage of its elevated living is by a carefully orchestrated arrival. Bo Bardi doesn’t try to disguise the fact that a portion of the home is elevated; she embraces it.

 

casa1

 

The elevated living area, supported on slender circular columns, seems to float above one’s arrival, sheltered from sun and rain. A delicately detailed stair descends from an opening in the volume above, inviting both visitors and owner alike to ascend into the home.

Visually, the stair suggests entry, not the announcement of such as a front door would typically do. This creates a sense of curiosity and anticipation that ends with a luminous entry made possible by a windowed floor-to-ceiling internal courtyard that faces the entry door at the top of the stairs.

 

domus-00-glass-house

 

3. Integrated Nature

When the home was originally built, the surrounding land had been deforested. Over time the rain forest returned, surrounding the home with a veil of dappled emerald light that surrounds and unifies the interior of the open living space.

 

lina_bo-bardi_100_book_metalocus_18_1280

 

Instead of enclosing the area underneath, as is typically done along our coast, Bo Bardi brings nature under the house, allowing it to continue uninterrupted. The slender circular columns blend with the vegetation, further integrating house and nature while accentuating the effect of the elevated portion of the home.

The open internal courtyard further integrates nature into the experience of the home in two ways: by allowing sunlight to penetrate the underside of the elevated living space, which serves as a contrasting element to the shaded entry stair; and by allowing trees and other plants to grow up through the house.

 

12-bo-bardi-together

 

I’ll be posting about other homes that feature interesting design solutions for elevated living, so check back to read more.

 

Iconic Building of the Month | December 2016 | Eames House

 Eames House, Pacific Palisades, Los Angeles, CA, 1949.
 
 
Charles and Ray Eames were two influential designers of the 20th century, having designed several iconic pieces of furniture. They also produced films (the most famous is Powers of Ten), designed toys and games (House of Cards), and even designed multimedia installations.
 
Their house and studio, also known as Case Study House No. 8, are as influential in architecture as their chairs are in the field of furniture design. The building demonstrates how modern construction can be colorful, creative, and live-able.
 
Charles Eames described the house as unselfconscious. It was designed specifically to meet their needs, universal needs that we all share as humans. They believed in the honest use of materials and straightforward connections. The details were the product.
 
 
By nestling the house into the hillside, they intended for the house to serve as a re-orientor toward nature. The scent, the sound of birds, the shadow of the trees against the structure whether inside or out, the openness of the site—all the elements join seamlessly. Besides wanting a home that would make no demands for itself, the couple intended that the home would serve as a background for “life in work,” with nature as a “shock absorber.”
 
The house consists of two glass and steel rectangular boxes. One is the residence, the other, a working studio. The building is aligned along a central axis with a court on the ocean side of the house and a court between the two structures. At 17 feet tall, each has a mezzanine balcony overlooking a large central room.
 

The Eames used color as a strategic tool in their house just as they did in their other work, combining the transparency and translucency of the glass with painted colors and wood finishes. The facades are black-painted grids, with different-sized inserts of glass (clear, translucent, or wired), painted and unfinished cemestos panels, painted stucco, painted and natural aluminum, and specially-treated panels.Much of the homes materials are off-the-shelf components, or the new plywood and plastic materials that the Eameses developed in their furniture designs. 

 
The end result? As one visitor exclaimed in the earliest days of its building, “Oh Mr. Eames, after seeing your home, I’ll never think of Modern as cold again!”
 
The Eames House, along with the whole of their efforts, represents a couple’s approach to life and work, where the iterative process that leads to meeting the need for direct experience, the relation with nature, the importance of details, and the life in work and the work in life.

Iconic Building of the Month | November 2016 | Villa dall’Ava

Villa dall’Ava by Rem Koolhaas, Paris, France, 1985–91.
 
The Villa dall’Ava is one of Rem Koolhaas’ iconic residences. Positioned on a hilloverlooking the Seine and the city of Paris, the villa is nestled into a neighborhood of 19th century houses.
Koolhaas provided a design that satisfied the client’s requirements of having a glass house, a swimming pool on the roof with a panoramic view of Paris, and two separate apartments – one for the clients’ parents and the second for their daughter.
 
 
The home’s site is likened to an outdoor room. It’s boundaries are marked by landscaping, garden walls, and the sloping terrain. The formal composition consists of three parts: a sloping garden, the main volume of the villa, and a street-level garage.
 
 
The house is conceived as glass pavilion containing living and dining areas. The two apartments are arranged perpendicular to the living area and shifted in opposite directions to take advantage of the view. The swimming pool, positioned above the glass-enclosed concrete structure,connects the hovering volumes.

Are you Cost Wise And Value Foolish?

cost wise value foolish

Are you planning on building in the near future? Have you been thinking about where to get a design and what it’ll cost you? Are you concerned about the cost of designing your new home?

Well, I can appreciate respecting your budget, but what most people don’t understand is that by hiring an architect, you’re actually investing in your new home in a way that can add significant returns.

The real estate industry readily acknowledges that having your home designed by an architect results in up to a 50% higher value than similar homes with designs by builders, draftsmen, or catalogue home plans.

Yep, 50% more value.

Architects’ fees are typically anywhere from 8 – 15% of construction costs, depending on the level of service provided. The value added to your project that exceeds the architect’s fee is a financial benefit to you, the homeowner.

But, remember, value is not measured only in money. Long-term enjoyment of a home, high functionality, greater beauty, durability, and comfort is also considered value.

Most people don’t think twice about the commission the pay on the sale of a property. Three percent commission is typical for both selling and buyer agents. That equals a 6% sales commission. What does this have to do with hiring an architect?

Think about it this way, if you’re selling your home, you’ll easily hand over 6% for whatever the house sells. That sales commission adds no real value to the property. None. It’s purely a transaction fee.

On the other hand, how much you invest in planning and designing has a tremendous impact on adding real value, both financial and experiential, to your new home.

Too many people think that cutting corners on the design will mean significant savings. Actually the reverse is true. You run the risk of not exploring all your options, running into project delays and budget overruns, and ending up with an asset that could have be worth up to 50% more!

Recently, I designed a 3,500 SF spec home for a developer. At the end of the project, the home sold for more than 60% of what they spent building it. Not bad.

Real estate agents, without a doubt, provide a valuable service, and so too does working with an architect. You can actually increase the value of your home, and that’s something your real estate agent will also thank you for should you decide to sell one day.

By the time you factor in all the other costs including the cost to build, landscaping and paving, closing costs, interest on a 30-year mortgage, annual taxes and insurance premiums, the architect’s fee may account for as little as 3% of the costs. If you include the offset in the added value of the home, you’re looking at an even lesser percentage.

So, how does this added value translate in your experience working with an architect? There’s basically 4 areas where an architect can add value to your project: Providing Options, Developing the Solution, Documenting the Project, and Administering the Construction Contract.

Providing Options

An architect will provide you with options you might not have considered. This means you get a solution that is tailored to your specific needs, both now and into the future.

Developing the Solution

The solution to your design project involves many complex elements. Your architect’s role in developing your project is one of simplifying and coordinating these elements into an elegant solution.

Documenting the Project

If there is missing information and details, your builder will have to do a lot of guessing, which could have significant implications on the quality of your project. By carefully documenting the project, your architect ensures that things are not missed or left out.

Administering the Construction Contract

Architects provides an important service after all the design work has been done, namely ensuring that the project is built according to the construction documents. This is done by helping you find a qualified builder, visiting the site, responding to your builder’s questions, rejecting unacceptable work, and reviewing and approving pay requests.

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Being cost wise at the risk of value foolish can have a tremendous impact on the outcome of your project. The added value of working with an architect far exceeds the cost of doing so, so why wouldn’t you?

You can call me right now (843-276-2074) for an initial conversation about your project. I’d  be happy to give you feedback and guidance. So what are you waiting for? Adding value to my clients’ projects is one of my primary goals, so give me a call today.

Iconic Building of the Month | October 2016 | Villa Savoye à Poissy

Villa Savoye by Le Corbusier, Poissy, France, 1931.

In honor of Le Corbusier’s birthday (October 6, 1887), this month’s Iconic Building of the Month features his Villa Savoye.

Located in the outskirts of Paris, France. Villa Savoye was by designed Le Corbusier in collaboration with Pierre Jeanneret, a cousin, and built using reinforced concrete.

In his 1923 book, Vers une Architecture, Le Corbusier outlines his Five Points for a new architecture.

  • Pilotis (it’s French for stilts) – use of columns instead of load-bearing walls as the structural system.
  • Free plan – the absence of supporting walls means the interior spaces are unrestrained.
  • Free Façade – pilotis allow for the free design of the façade.
  • Ribbon windows – allowing for even illumination and ventilation.
  • Functional Roof – serving as a garden and terrace, it reclaims the nature and land occupied by the building.

The villa is the manifestation of Le Corbusier’s five points for a new architecture, and is one of the most easily recognizable and renowned examples of the International style. While not completely alike, when I was first introduced to this house, it reminded me of the beach houses along the South Carolina coast.

The house was designed and built as a rural retreat by the Savoye family. In 1958 it became property of the French government, and after surviving several plans of demolition, it was designated as an official French historical monument in 1965 (while Le Corbusier was still living). It underwent a thorough renovated from 1985 to 1997, and is now open to visitors year-round.

Just this July, Villa Savoye and 16 other buildings by Le Corbusier were added to UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites.