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Architect's Home & Studio
Royal Oak, MI
2002
This house and studio best represents our design ideals.

We begin with the courtyard and the porch. The courtyard provides private exterior space. The porch offers a recognizable public face.

The courtyard is the internal focus of the plan that is divided into three parts, the public, semiprivate and private. The semiprivate house is contained by the concrete wall. The raw concrete surrounds the courtyard, living, dining, kitchen laundry, workshop and garage on the first level. Note the courtyard is between the dining and the living rooms. The courtyard becomes one with these rooms, especially at night, when the dark sky forms a ceiling to the courtyard and the lighting, which is the same inside and out, unifies the three spaces. The public house to the west is separated from the private by the inside/outside hall.

The public house has a guest suite on the first floor and architect's studio above. It is clad with galvalume metal shingles.

The third element of the plan is the private master bedroom suite. It is perched above the dining/kitchen, far from the street and two steps higher than the studio. Its main windows look down into the courtyard. To reach the suite you cross a steel bridge over the inside/outside hall.

The visible architecture comes from three places, the expression of internal organization, the scale and character of the neighboring houses and an expression of opposites.

Royal Oak was originally populated with bungalows in the early 20th century. These are small 1 1/2 story structures with full width porches and steeply pitched roofs.

This context and our memory of houses deserves respect because it allows architecture to connect to our collective psyche. It is this connection that, in part, makes architecture meaningful.

The house is composed of parts. This reduces its scale and allows it to fit within the context. Additionally the roofs allude to the traditional house roof. Opposing traditional house architecture are the "industrial" materials, the deformation of the roofs (they are asymmetrical) the minimal detailing and the abstract composition.

The contrast of essential oppositions, spatial, formal, and material give this architecture its power and beauty.
 

     
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View from the Northwest