Tag: iconic

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.

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.

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.

Iconic Building of the Month | September 2016 | Stahl House (Case Study House #22)

Stahl House by Pierre Koenig, Los Angeles, 1960.

Image: Julius Shulman

The Stahl house was part of the Case Study Houses, a program sponsored by Arts & Architecture magazine, which commissioned architects of the day to design and build inexpensive and efficient homes for the residential housing boom caused by the end of World War II.

Stahl House (Case Study House #22), plan.

 

The house is considered an iconic representation of modern architecture in Los Angeles during the twentieth century. It was made famous by a Julius Shulman photograph showing two women leisurely sitting in a corner of the house with an eventide panoramic view of the city through floor-to-ceiling glass walls. It has been the setting for numerous fashion shoots, films, and advertising campaigns.

Stahl House (Case House #22) Arrival side view.

In 1999, the house was declared a Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument. In 2007, the American Institute of Architects listed the Stahl House (Case Study House #22) as one of the top 150 structures on its “America’s Favorite Architecture” list, and the only privately owned home on the list. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2013.

Image: Julius Shulman

Iconic Building of the Month | August 2016 | Farnsworth House

This month’s buidling is Mies Van Der Rohe’s iconic Farnsworth House.

Image Source: SavingPlaces.org | Mike Crews

Highly controversial at the time of it’s completion in 1951, the house would later be added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2004 and designated a National Landmark in 2006.

The house – designed for Edith Farnsworth as a weekend retreat – embodies the Miesian mantra “less is more.” Mies unpacks this further stating, “the essentials for living are floor and roof. Everything else is proportion and nature.”

Farnsworth House, plan.

Indeed, the structure’s minimalist elegance and the transparency that connects the one-room space to it’s surroundings are framed by the parallel planes of the elevated floor and sheltering roof.

Image Source: SavingPlaces.org | Mike Crews

But, the most powerful experience of the house is not from the outside, but the inside, where the nature’s tapestry becomes the ornamentation.

“If you view nature through the glass walls of the Farnsworth House, it gains a more profound significance than if viewed from the outside. That way more is said about nature — it becomes part of a larger whole.”

— Mies Van Der Rohe

Image Source: SavingPlaces.org | Mike Crews

Even as a master work of architecture, there are couple shortcomings to Farnsworth House.

First, siting. The weekend house was built in a floodplain, and has since been subjected to damaging water levels in 1956, 1996, 1998, and more recently in 2008. The d ecision to build the house on other higher ground of the property instead of so close to the river could have avoided multiple damaging flood events.

Second, energy efficiency. The house is incredibly energy inefficient due to it’s lack of insulation, non-thermally broken construction details, and prevalence of glass walls. However, if the house were constructed today, it could improve it’s efficiency remarkably by making use of thermally broken multi-paned insulated windows, thermally broken connection details, and advanced insulating materials.

Image Source: SavingPlaces.org | Mike Crews

Still, the Farnsworth house stands as an icon of Miesian modernism, encapsulating the architect’s design principles in an elegantly simple solution.