Let’s take a little trip… just a short journey… to a place not completely unlike our own… yet not at all the same…
Archive for March, 2017
This is a philosophical post, intended to spark thinking and examining.
Often, things are talked about like they are a light switch.
Either on, or off.
With each side paired off against the other:
You’re either an introvert or an extrovert.
You should always be assertive, otherwise you will be a pushover.
All boys should act and are like X. All girls should act and are like Y.
You either have to be a complete shut in, or be a wild exhibitionist.
You must follow this precept, else be cast forever in sin.
You’re either with us, or against us.
It’s all you are/it is X or Y.
Whole worlds of divisions.
Light on. Or light off.
Here’s the thing about lights, though.
They have things called dimmers.
Gradients are possible (and normal).
This is a fun one. An H in plan, the design spark of this house is a simple set of cartoon-like house shapes extruded so that they intersect with each other. Voila! A house that’s essentially six “kid’s drawing of house”.
There are three things that really allow this simplicity to sing (and keep this project from being kitschy or just odd). The first is that all the elements are well proportioned. The second is the slick and smooth metal panels that cover the house, letting the caricaturish forms really read like the simple mental image of a house (almost like a Monopoly house). Lastly, and quite importantly, is the rich and contrasting woodwork that infills the gabled ends. The geometric complexity and three dimensionality of the Mondrian-like screen pattern brings both visual depth and interest, and through that contrast it also reinforces the rest of the house’s overall plastic nature.
The carport is where these two cheerfully collide. Here the rigorously uniform wood frame marches forth to create that cartoon house shape. And as we try to get a handle on that, the glass roof throws us off kilter and has us do a second or third look.
When you’re working with something this simple, precision, care, and craft in all the elements is required to really make it stick. Anything out of place becomes readily noticeable, and both corners and where materials meet must be crisp. All done well here.
Unfortunately there aren’t too many shots of the interior, so I don’t know how well the conceptual playfulness carried inside, and if the resulting spaces are as nice. I do hope so – architecture is, ultimately, about the quality of space within, and to find these moves not reflected inside would be unfortunate.
Nice project. House XL by SoNo Architeki.
Wait, you ask… it’s March. How could I be talking about a Cirque show, don’t I always see them in December? Why yes… that has been the pattern. And that tradition has indeed been broken, a little, this year, as I waited for the show to come down to San Jose rather than taking the trip up to the San Fran. No matter! Cirque is in town, and Vicki and I maintained the grander tradition of our pilgrimage to the Grand Chapitau. So let’s dive into this waking dream of Mexico…
Potential Spoilers! Read the rest of this entry ?
This is a philosophical statement. It is intended to spark thinking and examining.
Today, it comes in the form of a quote:
In retrospect it may seem naive.
But then again, in retrospect, everyone looks naive.
That doesn’t mean we stop trying.
(Love it. I can read this on many levels. For myself, I can go easy and be forgiving for what I have wrought, perhaps foolishly, in my past. For others, I can be present and understanding and compassionate. For the world, I can be courageous and self-expressed in striving towards a future that works for both everyone and all the wondrous creatures that surround us, with no one and nothing left out.)
I can be a sucker for libraries, but this one’s got a lot going for it: bold forms, luminous troughs of airy space, a marriage of the rough and the refined, expressive detailing, and an interplay that compliments nearby structures without mimicking them.
There’s a clarity too that lets the building speak for itself in many ways. The building is organized around its three naves, each fronted by expansive windows that themselves double as benches for passers-by outside.
I love this interchange between the readers inside, looking out towards the town square, and the curious pedestrians, who can see the books (and the readers) within as they pause in their day.
The naves themselves are quite exquisite, as the rhythmic wooden slats form a scrim for translucent panels, letting a warm glow suffuse the reading areas. I particularly like how the bookshelves form both the edges of the stairways, the reading areas, and, spatially, an extension of the nave above.
Built by local woodworking artisans, it’s superb craft coupled with fine design, and a new beacon for a town devastated by the earthquakes and tsunami of 2010. Great stuff.