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

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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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ungers and lutyens do a kitchen

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I began by drawing cabinetry I found in a new volume on O. M. Ungers, then for whatever reason took a look through a book on Lutyens, where I found a small round wood kitchen island, detailed as four miniature Tuscan columns. I’m not one to shrink from putting two incongruous styles alongside one another, so why not? Lutyens’ kitchen at Castle Drogo, itself a riff on Soane, informed the ceiling.

two facade studies and a rotunda

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Facade as generator: that is, starting with a facade and working back to a floor plan instead of the opposite, more traditional, fashion.  Here, a scored plaster exterior references brick construction, with radiating joints at the circular window and jack arches over the rectangular side windows.  A tall pyramidal skylight centers the whole.

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Another facade, this time actual brick with rounded corners, simple square double-hung windows under jack arches with thin metal overhangs and stone shoulders at the inset front door.  The plan suggests a small linear courtyard at the center.

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This circular rotunda has a few things going on in plan that a section won’t illustrate.  But not to mind, for the section shows enough of its own intrigue.  The dome is cut, making it shallow at the center than the ends.  A large skylight sits above, illustrated here as a small tempietto, a room beyond a room, above which the skylight proper is positioned.

a rotunda

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This is a simple room, with a shallow dome set on squinches capping a square room.  The whole is topped with a small tempietto-cum-oculus.  A perpendicular section (top-left) is paired with a diagonal section (top-right), and a wormseye sectional axonometric on the bottom-right.

on projections

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I’m fascinated by drawing projections, that is the way that we draw or project the linework of a floor plan into elevations, sections, axonometrics, etc.  The drawings I feature here on frame clearly show that.  But I know that often the thing to be drawn is often obfuscated by the drawing itself, where the projection can overpower the building itself.  Today I present not a project per se, but a series of different projections of the same simple architectural form – a cube with a small dome and oculus.

The simple plan of the upper-left is revealed in simple section and elevation, and explored in two different axonometrics below – aerial and wormseye (upview).  Oblique axons, my special sectional wormseye oblique axon, and sectional axons flesh out the sheet.

three squares

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Three sketches, three squares, in anticipation for my 3X10 birthday tomorrow (the 3rd).

The first, an elevation, with an arcade atop two square windows in a wall – Traditional form with abstraction below.

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The second, a plan, square in form, but diagonal in organization, with a nice entry rotunda on the corner.  This is an homage to Schindler’s diagonal square plans (the How House and Bethlehem Baptist Church, plan), and his mentor’s detailing at the Ennis Brown House.

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The third, in a three-dimensional axonometric, a modernist cube.

a pavilion

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To celebrate one year of frame, I have something special for you all.  That’s right, a small, un-programmable garden pavilion.  A four-square frame of 4X4’s set on the diagonal, with a copper standing seam roof atop and a brick base below.  There’s no way in, just a beautiful form without.  Better than cake, right?

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the courtyard variations

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More than just a Bach reference, that title could really be the title of this entire blog, since the vast majority of what I post here are really just different takes on courtyards.  Blame it on my being a SoCal native, blame it on my love of squares, palazzi, and any other architectural trope you can.  I love me some courtyards.  So here we go again.  At the top, a more detailed elevation of a previous project, and below, a different take on that same floor plan, this time more loudly echoing Giorgio Grassi and Louis Kahn.

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