As our project House: In Reference continues to develop, we’ve already left behind our first prejury. The project is about designing a house by only using certain references from already-designed cases. The design decisions should be explained by words like “referring to”, “translation of…”, “variation of…”, “adapted from…” etc. The list of cases that were handed to us before was a good place to start. I’ve started with analyzing those cases but the one I was most influenced by was Kaufmann House designed by Richard Neutra. I’m really interested in houses that are in a true coexistence with nature. Also, as I proceeded with my research, I was even more impressed with Neutra. He was an Austrian architect, designing houses mostly in the west coast. He was self-taught in evolutionary biology. This explained his common use of distinctive horizontal and vertical elements. He thought that horizontal planes give us comfort as they remind us the horizon which has always made humankind feel safe. And the verticality is almost a representation of the inevitable natural force, gravity.
This balancing horizontal and vertical elements can be talked about many other cases as well, but another architect I was directly referring to was Frank Lloyd Wright and his infamous residential project Falling Water House which was also designed for Kaufmann family.
As these cases created a library of relations for me, I was not done with Kaufmann House just yet. On the plan, the house has a central space from which other spaces start to grow, branching onto the site. This “branching” of spaces was a principal that I later referred to in my proposal. I translated the concept of branching in the vertical direction too, creating a sequence of spaces both on the x axis and y. To achieve this, I quoted the L shaped relationship of a space coming on top of another.
I’ve worked on other references as well. As a means of relating and reaching out to nature, I’ve adapted the extension of roofs which can be found in House in Kifisia by Nicos Valsamakis. This Greek architect is also very interesting. He went to the same architecture school with Mies van der Rohe, but he is lesser known.
Other references I took were for the application of openings and transitions between spaces. First, I’ve decided to quote a full surface of openness because I observed that it creates a distinction between spaces without the need to use a partition wall. I’ve observed this mostly in the Smith House designed by Arthur Erickson. The surface of transparency, with the help of a vertical plane nearby, created a less active space, almost specializing that space for relating to the outside.
For creating this circumstance, I also took reference from Jacobs House by Frank Lloyd Wright which also has strong ties with nature. I varied the framed windows covering the whole surface and adapted it into my design without the frames.
As my design goes, there is a big central space on the ground level that later relates to sub-spaces and other levels. But this big space is also divided into sub-spaces by certain elements, like the vertical plane I used. This vertical plane creates a sort of division in the big central space. Not using partition walls yet, I’ve looked for references that can complete this division by adding connections in-between. Then, I had a fun idea. I took on the challenge of adapting and varying the connection reference from Azuma House by Tadao Ando. In Azuma House, two concrete masses are related by using a passage in the middle, which is almost the exact opposite of my study. Actually, that’s why I thought it would be a good “what if?” question to work on.
In the end some references found themselves to be lost along the design process while some continue to reflect their strong existences. I’m sure a lot will change in the process. For once, I will work on the scale of my references as the scale problem was the main critique I got from the jury. And I will work on this branching idea with “what if”s such as “What if the house branches to the inside?”.