Our clients approached us with the challenge of designing them something cool, unique, Modern without breaking the bank. We took the challenge to heart. This was their opportunity to use design as a tool to both fulfill their dreams but also to maximize the utility of their budget. Because the house is small we used the verticality of an 11′ ceiling on the Main Floor to give the space more of a warehouse condo feel. The clients collect mid century modern furniture and were looking to display it in a Modern eclectic environment.
Technically and economically, we figured a few things – forming concrete is expensive, while framing is easier. Slab on grade minimizes the amount of excavation. Trusses are cheaper than hand framing a roof. Durable materials will hold up over the lifetime of the building and will require less care and maintenance over time. Simple organized floor plans are easy to build and easy to plumb and wire. In this case, we zoned the floor plans into main living spaces and service spaces. The two were divided by a large 1′ wide wall that runs the entire length of the house. This wall acts literally as a spine. Not only does it provide the main internal structure of the house but it also provides the location for all electrical and plumbing to run through.We have used the large wall as the tie of all functions. The large wall pierces the front and rear facades of the building and tectonically folds over to become the canopies of both the front and rear entries. Because all service functions of the house are isolated together, there is no requirement for plumbing runs throughout the house. Radiant hot water heating minimizes the requirement for any ductwork and incumbent back framing.
This house is a combination of all these ideas together to create simple, elegant and unique architecture that not only designs aesthetically and technically but economically too! It proves that the acceptance of the norm may be the one thing we need to address the most in our built environment. Solutions exist that are both fantastic and feasible if only we are willing to let our mind wander while embracing a holistic understanding of the house.