NEW  SPATIAL RELATIONSHIPS 1 in the Suburbs

Requirements

The clients owned a Builder's 'tract'-house containing a "rat's maze" of service rooms; a carport with a small maid's room, and an out-of-date dining room. They wanted to sort out the relationship between formal entertaining and their  informal everyday lifestyle.They also wanted to clarify the organization of service rooms, and create a flow between spaces. Their preference was for bright, open spaces for everyday use, and a more intimate mood for sit-down dining; in addition, their furniture reflected this dichotomy.

Solution

The initial moves were to retain existing window openings on the brick-faced kitchen side of the house, to keep utility locations essentially where they were because of the house's slab-on-grade construction, and to create a contrast  between dense, core-like service elements and open spaces modulated into a series of implicit zones.

The kitchen was brought into a rational reorganization by means of both functional disposition and formal clarity. The "givens" of  existing wall apertures and utility connections suggested a basic constellation of elements, but their form was configured into a series of related geometric shapes. Use areas and the separation of activities was implied by the superimposition of a gridding of the space and a "floating'" dropped ceiling in a clear figurative form that contained lighting for the interior space. Axial  alignment, centering and proportional division of spaces articulated the geometric underpinnings of the strategy.

A Den was made from the existing breezeway and maid's room, axially arranged as an extension of the Kitchen. A furr-down from the Kitchen was extended into the Den's ceiling plane as a way of connecting the spaces; two skylights were added to brighten the interior and continue an axial progression.

The Dining Room was treated with a more elaborate interior, continuing some of  the themes from the other spaces, but also existing on its own terms. New lighting was introduced, and the formality of the space was developed by cross­-axial symmetry, overlaid with localized asymmetries to accommodate its relation to other adjacent spaces. A serving Buffet that has access to the Kitchen's Bar is an example of this formal interplay, combining within its form the resolution of both conditions.

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