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.
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 . . .
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.
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.
Today’s project is a nine-square pavilion that is organized along the diagonal, with two opposite corners rounded off, one side a wall, the other a colonnade. An oculus centers the pavilion, inside the trabeated coffered ceiling. A diagonal section, perpendicular section, combo womseye oblique axonometric, and oblique wormseye axonometric round out the representations.
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.
From Donald Judd and the architecture of art last week, I bring another tangentially architectural enterprise today: set design. This work came about through viewing terribly underwhelming sets at the local opera. My thoughts began to race about how the story could have been more magnificently communicated through architectural form rather than a few gauzy curtains. This version positions a continuous brick jack arcade along the entire upstage, with four brick ‘el’s that could move about in the foreground, turning towards the audience for an ‘interior’ perspective, or away for the ‘exterior’, or alternated in-and-out, aligned into two open ‘rooms’, or one closed off cube. Allusions to the work of Edward Gordon Craig, Adolphe Appia, and Richard Peduzzi abound.
This project attempted to talk to both the vernacular-traditionalism v. minimal-modernist dichotomy and the art v. architecture dialogue, taking one of the central figures of American modern art (and himself an influential figure to many American modern architects) and running him alongside a long history of American traditional vernacular form.
I took a simple, three-square concrete sculpture of his, untitled (1991), and rendered it in the most prototypical of American vernacular architecture, clapboard. One rendition maintains the homogeneity of Judd’s concrete as a single clapboard volume (‘abstraction wrapped in ‘vernacular’ ‘), and the other rendered as a full building, with a shingled roof and brick foundation (‘abstraction become vernacular’).
This is a simple, ‘shotgun’ home, with two porches flanking either side, and a large central room in the middle, accentuated by the ‘dutch’ gable of the roof. The ‘opposites’ so named in the post’s title indicate that the ground floor has open porches on the ends with a solid middle, while the semi-enclosed basement has the opposite: enclosed ends and an arcaded middle. This came about through a simple drawing, shown above, where the same parti could easily be rendered in either formation – so why not do both? That hybrid elevation is below, where the opposition of the two systems results in a ‘checkerboard’ pattern, not too dissimilar from Lutyens’ own, larger, experiments.
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.
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.
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.