guest post – leon krier takes on corb

A few weeks ago, I posted a quick sketch of a Classicized version of Le Corbusier’s Five Points.  That post in turn had been influenced by the work of Leon Krier.  Today, Leon has agreed to share with you some yet unpublished drawings, his own revisiting of Le Corbusier’s seminal Villa Savoye.

This is the mecca of Corbusian modernism, and Krier takes no small shots, recontextualizing the villa by relocating it on the site, extending a large walled garden at one end, and bringing the roof garden to a climactic belvedere.

Krier keeps Corb’s basic Five Points right in place, but deftly moves them about: placing the piloti on a massive, battered base; adding more forms to the sculptural roof garden; and making a feature out of the ‘free plan’ curve at ground level.  Corbusier is still here, but so is Krier.

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All work is graciously lent by Leon Krier, who maintains his copyright © 2017.
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of circles and squares

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Today I’m featuring two disconnected and distinct projects linked only by one formal trait – circular forms inset within squares.

The top project riffs on Adolf Loos’ Steiner House, isolating the iconic barrel vaulted roof, expressing it as a bow truss on the interior, and topping it with a central circular skylight.

The bottom is a take on a vestibule in Lutyens’ Middleton Park, where a hemispherical dome is cut rather unceremoniously by a rectangular rather than the typical square room beneath, giving the dome an inherent axis.  I’ve topped this with a tall sculptural skylight, at once a nod to both the Choragic Monument and Michael Graves.ROTUNDA_01

the five points, revisited

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Leon Krier always has an interesting point or two to make with regards to Le Corbusier, most likely due to Corb’s immense power over Krier’s earliest work and schooling.  In many ways, Krier’s career can be seen as one long extended dialogue with (and often against) the Modernist figurehead.  As part of that, Krier has recently talked about a resurgence of those five points against which Corb wrote his – and argued that these five points ought to form the core of a vernacular traditionalism, much in the same way Corb’s have loomed over the moderns.

So I figured I’d take a synthetic middle ground.  What happens if we take Corb’s five points and dress them up in traditional garb.  What then?  Piloti are given bases and capitals (and become columns); picture windows are gathered into long fenetre en longueur; the plan is libre (free of rooms en filade); the roof is flattened to host a garden; and the only point I’m probably missing is the free facade.  O well, better luck next time. . .

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teenie. tiny. home.

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Or is it just glorified trailer?  Oh, let’s not quibble over semantics, shall we?  You’re here for pretty pictures.  Well, what I have here is a small ‘home’, a tiny home, rather.

There is a whole market out there that is centered around this new class of detached homes for those without the budget for a conventional suburban home, or those who would seek to lessen their actual footprint on the earth in addition to their carbon footprint.  What I find interesting is the challenge of fitting all the normal homey things into a smaller package, wrapping that package around conventional building modules, and yet still fitting it into Department of Transportation standards for a ‘mobile’ trailer.

My thoughts ramble between two or three eight-foot cubes, all topped with pyramidal roofs and skylights, and jam-packed with foldable shelving, hidden beds, and all the other hoopla that comes with a ‘tiny home’.

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coffee church

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Sitting in a local coffee shop, I began to wonder the great ‘what if’, and sketched out how I would have solved the problem.  Starting with a square (shocker), I drew out a central nave, complete with side aisles and a high altar – a wall of single origin small batch coffees complete with a cash wrap.  Sculptural skylights cut into the ‘nave’, while exposed lamps hang along the bottom of the ‘aisle’ soffits, not unlike old theatre marquees.  Grab a cup.  Stay awhile.  Amen.

dogtrot variations

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Two rooms with a passage down the middle – the typological dogtrot house.  Here, I’ve begun to play with the articulation of the central ‘trot’, articulating it with an English hammerbeam truss above.  Below, a slightly more refined study, with two different plan interpretations of the elevation at the top, as well as two different studies for the cupola at the central passage.

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barns, squares, & halves

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Today, a barn, a square, and some fun with drawing projections.  If you’ve spent any time looking at my posts, you’ll know that I have a penchant for vernacular architectures, especially the banal agricultural buildings that dot the majority of America’s varied landscapes.  The barn is probably the epitome of those forms, and heavy timber framed barns seem to more or less rise from the earth itself.

This particular barn is my interpretation of the timber framed variety, with my love of formal rigor – the square.  The plan is a large four-square frame, with a double-wide central ‘nave’ and two single-wide ‘aisles’.  Large, folding doors frame the ends, with small punched windows the sides.  Since this barn is not intended to be utilitarian, the flooring is gridded black basalt pavers, with two large concrete decks on either end.

The drawings are all halves – the plan is half floor plan, half roof plan; the axonometric is half aerial, half wormseye; the oblique axon is also half & half; the elevation is half the side, half the front.

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lutyens does a square

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Today, merely an elevation and roof/floor plan of a simple structure Edwin Lutyens designed at Middleton Park, where a pair of these cubic houses form the gatehouse entry to a much larger country estate.  Why I enjoy it, and why I represent it here, is because it is one of Lutyen’s only square/cubic projects, where the picturesque goes to the wayside in an exercise of formal purity.  A large hip roof mounts the brick and stone Georgian base, where two dormers are set aligned with the windows beneath on two sides, and one dormer is centered on other two.  A large central chimney sprouts from the ridge.  The house itself is built into a larger gate, with two eagles perched atop, flanking the gateway.

Apparently, you can live in one . . .

it started with a frame

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Rather, they started with a frame.  Shelves, that is.  I was scouring the internet and architecture books for shelves, first to house my inordinately large (and growing) library, and then just for the interest of how shelving could be used/designed in an architectural setting.  So I started with a frame, three cubes stacked, but quickly found myself drawn to a two-by-four stack, with it’s squares within squares.  Squares led me to think of Ungers, but placing a base and a top on it made me think Rossi.  The detail below assumes a hollow metal frame with sheet metal pediment and base, prefabricated coves cut and welded to form rudimentary mouldings.  A wormseye axon explores how an entire wall may be covered with these.  And a final alternate places two large half-round cabinets to either side of the shelving proper, taken from a large wardrobe Lutyens designed for Viceroy’s House, Delhi.

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pyramidal roofs

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Above, a small pavilion built into a wall, which I imagine could extend quite some ways beyond where I’ve drawn it.  The roof, a tall shingled pyramid.

Below, a roof that modulates between a square base and a round oculus at the crown, again figured as a tall, shingled pyramid.

Come to think of it, what if we combined the two, a really long wall with a larger rotated square pavilion cut out of a portion of it (and I mean, big, like Krier big), topped with a tall, oculus-ed, pyramid?  Maybe tomorrow.

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