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
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
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
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.