UNBUILT 2 - Reconfiguring within "Givens"
The program involved expansion of a small house (app. 30' x 26') to double its size for a family of four with more contemporary space needs. This involved significant reworking of an existing shell, the addition of major communal spaces and a clarification of internal organization.
The fundamental problem was the existence of a centralized stair, which divided the organization and forced circulation through all public rooms, in what were already undersized spaces. In addition, the minimal dimensions in some cases could not be greatly enlarged, so it was critical to extend spatial relationships in order to expand the perceived size of rooms. A related consideration was the cramped site plan, particularly with regard to access of the existing garage; the owners required maintaining the garage.
The overall organization of the expansion was defined by a geometric system of overlapping shapes, modulated in plan for specific uses. Points of convergence of these geometries, marked by structure, define circulation and generate a diagonal axial shift. The use of the diagonal, and quarter-circle curve, expands and activates the sense of space around the core element, created by the re-positioning of the stair.
The use of the curve creates interior and exterior spaces, perception of the spatial fabric, and clarifies circulation.The removal of the existing solid central stair and its replacement by a three-dimensional volume, reverses the relationship between the elements, a strong positive/negative interplay, unifying rather than dividing the interior
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A narrow urban lot. with primary family spaces to be reoriented to the privacy of the rear. An existing tree was a positive feature for the rear yard.
An existing addition(s) at the rear were ad hoc, "stuck" on, with a 'nasty' slot between them. In fact, they were pulling away from the main house.
REMOVAL of a staircase that divided the Plan, inserting a new open stair (with an 'inflected' beginning) also facilitated using the plumbing from the demolished section and 'slipping' a guest bathroom under it. A bow-shaped room with double-height and a radial deck activated the relationship to the rear yard.
A central axis linked 'old' to 'new': however, as in the case of Edwardian architect Sir Edwin Lutyens, the axis is denied, and reestablished with the Addition. Proportional units integrate the Geometry.
Materials are a 'neutral' yet contrasting design, with a more visually dramatic series of window providing a panorama view into the rear yard.
Looking 'up' from below, to Illustrate the new open staircase, the 'serpentine' glass block Kitchen wall to obscure the garage yet provide illumination, the 'beam' need to support part of the addition and allow cars to 'slip' under, and the double-height of the Family Room, with a truss supporting the second floor.
Illustrating the concept of the panorama view into the rear yard. The tree is represented 'as is', to underscore the character of the yard/deck relationship.
Illustrating the 'beam' supporting the addition, which acts like a 'gateway' to the Garage.