Beautiful Stahl House

STAHL HOUSE, COMPLETED IN 13 MONTHS AND COSTING $37,500, FURTHER DEMONSTRATED PIERRE KOENIG’S FLAIR FOR WORKING WITH INDUSTRIAL MATERIALS, PARTICULARLY STEEL, GLASS, AND CONCRETE

Stahl-Landscape1-The image is instantly familiar; the house, all dramatic angles, concrete, steel and glass, perched indelibly above Los Angeles, with Hollywood’s lights resembling a circuit board below it. Inside, two women sit, stylish and relaxed, talking casually behind the monumental floor to ceiling glass walls. One of the world’s most iconic photographs, Julius Schulman’s Case Study 22 beautifully captures the optimism of 1950s Los Angeles, and the striking beauty of architect Pierre Koenig’s masterpiece, Stahl House. The classic L shaped pavilion, cantilevered above Hollywood on Woods Drive, was built in 1959 after being adopted into the Case Study Program, an experimental residential design initiative that commissioned architects to create model homes in the wake of the 1950s housing boom. Stahl House, also known as No. 22, was the wild one, conjured up by the man who purchased the plot of land at 1635 Woods Drive in 1954 for $13,500 and sealed the deal with a handshake. C H ‘Buck’ Stahl was a dreamer, who, along with his wife Carlotta, set about finding the right person to bring his vision for an innovative and thoroughly modern home to life.

Stahl-portrait1-chairstahl_portrait2-pool.jpgBuck was a former professional footballer who worked as a graphic designer and sign painter. He spent his first few years as a landowner hauling broken blocks of concrete to the site in attempt to improve its precarious foundation. He and Carlotta ferried their finds, load by load, back to Woods Drive in the back of Buck’s Cadillac, hopeful the reinforcements would prevent the land from sliding. Buck’s dreams for the house began to take shape over the following two years, and eventually, he made a model of the future Stahl House. His grand designs, however, were promptly rejected by several notable architects.

Stahl-Landscape2-view.jpgCarlotta recalled Buck continually telling prospective architects “I don’t care how you do it, there’s not going to be any walls in this wing.” Until they hired Pierre Koenig in 1957, an ambitious young architect determined to build on a site nobody would touch, it seemed unlikely the house would ever exist. Pierre described the process of building Stahl House as “trying to solve a problem – the client had champagne tastes and a beer budget.” He was interested in working with steel, and despite being warned away from it by his architecture instructors, possessed great aptitude for it. He’d experimented with a number of exposed glass and steel homes before he created Case Study 21, or The Bailey House in 1958 and 1959, and his skill for designing functional spaces with simplicity of form, abundant natural light, and elegant lines would eventually make him a master of modernism. Stahl House, completed in 13 months and costing 37,500 USD, further demonstrated Pierre’s flair for working with industrial materials, particularly steel, glass, and concrete. The project put him on the map as an architect with an incredible eye for balance, symmetry, and restraint. The 2,040 m² house was, as Buck insisted, built without walls in the main wing to allow for sweeping 270º views. Three sides of the building were made of plate glass, unheard of in the late 1950s, and deemed dangerous by engineers and architects. This design feature required Pierre to source the largest pieces of glass available for residential use at the time. With two bedrooms, two bathrooms, polished concrete floors, and a very famous swimming pool (a fixture in countless films and fashion editorials) Stahl House was an immediate mid century icon.

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Although there has been some dispute over Buck’s influence on the design in the years since he died in 2005 and Pierre Koenig’s death in 2004, some experts who have seen Buck’s original model agree that his concept informed the direction the Stahl House would finally take.

“I dismissed it as typical owner hubris at the time,” architect and writer Joseph Giovannini told the Los Angeles Times in 2009. “The gesture of the house cantilevering over the side of the hill into the distant view is clearly here in this model. But it is Pierre’s skill that elevated the idea into a masterpiece. This is one of the rare cases it seems that there is a shared authorship.”

Today, Stahl House is still owned by the Stahl family. Though it remains a magnet for film crews and photographers the world over, for Bruce Stahl, Buck and Carlotta’s son, who grew up there with his siblings, it was simply part of a typical, happy childhood. “We were a blue collar family living in a white collar house,” he said. “Nobody famous ever lived here.”

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Credits: Lucy Brook
Photos: Rick Poon

Beautiful Villa Savoye

AS A MONUMENT TO MODERNISM, THE BUILDING POSSESSES A POETRY AND SENSITIVITY FULL OF IDEALISM. THE CAREFUL COMPOSITION OF LIVING SPACE AND INTENTION TO HARNESS NATURAL LIGHT, NOT TO MENTION THE BUILDING’S ICONIC AESTHETIC, STILL DEFINE MODERN ARCHITECTURE.

villasavoye_landscapeThe Villa Savoye, built in 1929 in Poissy, a rural area outside Paris, was Le Corbusier’s answer to a French country house. Given relatively few constraints by the Savoye family, Le Corbusier designed a building to embody the architectural theory he had evolved in practice and in his book, Towards an Architecture 1923. He was inspired by both the classical forms of ancient Greek architecture and the modern technologies that were shaping the world such as automobiles, airplanes and ocean liners.

villasavoye_landscape2.jpgThis project was the last in a series of private homes known as the ‘white villas’ built by Le Corbusier and his cousin and partner Pierre Jeanneret, which introduced a new form of luxury in which space itself, and its capacity for leisure, were the valuable commodities.

Of these, The Villa Savoye perhaps best embodies Le Corbusier’s architectural manifesto, the five points of architecture. The first, pilotis – slender pillars which raise the building off the ground, opening up more space for gardens and cars, made possible the second, a façade free of its usual load bearing function. Walls were no longer supporting structures but ‘membranes.’ This allowed the unimpaired design of the third, an open plan interior, and the fourth, ribbon windows to flood the interior with maximum light and to illuminate it evenly. A sliding window system patented by Le Corbusier and Pierre Jeanneret was intended to offer superior ventilation, as well as give access to the fifth, a flat roof which could serve as a terrace. A curved solarium crowns the structure, the brightest increment in the layered design. This symbiotic relationship of these five features gives some insight into what could otherwise be a somewhat alienating notion of Le Corbusier’s, the famous concept of a house as ‘a machine for living.’

villasavoye_landscape3-outdoor.jpgUnfortunately the Villa Savoye presented its residents with its own host of problems, despite its pioneering design. Each autumn, as the windows ushered in a warm vista of seasonal colour, the family would write repeatedly to Le Courbusier, begging him to make ‘habitable,’ what proved to be a damp and chilly building. They complained of ‘raining’ in the hall, on the ramp and in the bathroom. The loud drumming of rain on the bathroom skylight kept them awake at night, heat escaped through the long stretches of glazing and the heating system was both insufficient and a further cause of flooding.

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Much of this was perhaps due to the fact that the technology involved was not fully developed at the time. As a monument to Modernism, the building possesses a poetry and sensitivity full of idealism. The careful composition of living space and intention to harness natural light, not to mention the building’s iconic aesthetic, still define modern architecture. Nonetheless, the discomforts they had suffered ultimately led the Savoye family to decide against restoring the property after the 2nd World War, when it was seized by German forces. About to be demolished by the local authorities to make way for a school, the building was rescued by architects and academics including Le Corbusier himself. Now a museum, restored closely to its original state, Villa Savoye is one of 17 of Le Corbusier’s buildings declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Credit: readcereal.com/

Beautiful Amazing Kindergarten

Today, I present one of those projects that takes your breath away. It is designed by Emmanuelle Moreaux and it’s a beautiful kindergarten full of color, a stimulating environment where kids can let their imagination run free. Every child should be so lucky to go to school to attend a learning environment like this.

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I love the use of color, a common feature that runs throughout the space. The school, Creche Ropponmatsu, is located in a residential area in Fukuoka, Japan. Emmanuele Moreaux designed this crazy, whimsical project – color is common theme throughout many of her projects. The result is amazing. Emmanuelle designed the architecture, interior space, logos and graphical signage, with a vision to open a new kindergarten where children can grow up freely in mind and body. Running behind the colorful grove, this kindergarten gives opportunity for children to raise rich sensibility by feeling many colors wherever they are.

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THREE-DIMENSIONAL COLORS AND ELEMENTS
Color is apparent in every corner of the space. 22 colors were used in the 63m height trees on the façade. The branches appear to wrap the entire building, protecting it, perhaps, from the less colorful world outside. Collections of color jump out at one glance. On the facade, there are 22 colors used in 63 multi-colored trees of 4 m in height extend the branches rhythmically and wrap the building. While giving full-sized glass with a feeling of openness, by wrapping it with colorful trees, gives a sense of distance to the outside. Inside, 200 colorful boxes in 25 colors are lined up on the wall, where each one of them belongs to every child to stock their personal goods. Every time children use their own tools or get changed, they find and pick up the box of their color.

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The stairs which connect the 4 floors is also full of colors, 18 different tones in fact. This creates an environment where kids are surrounded by diversity inside, outside and in common zones. Stimulation with colors and shapes is crucial for kids at this age – experts claim that color helps kids to develop their sensitivity and individuality.

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DETAILS IN THE LOGO
Colorful trees on the façade have been also included in the logo, a perfect representation.

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Learn more about her colorful projects here 

Beautiful Googie Architecture

Union 76 Gas Station

The dramatic upward-curving roof is one of the most iconic examples
of Googie architecture that still stands today.

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What looks like a flying carpet anchored to the ground with pillars at
the intersection of Crescent Drive and Little Santa Monica Boulevard in
Los Angeles is actually a functional gas station. It’s also one of the most
iconic examples of Googie architecture in the world.

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The dramatic upward-curved canopy decorated with red square tiles was
originally designed in the 1960s by architect Gin Wong to be a part of the
city’s airport, but when that plan was changed, it ended up as a Union 76
gas station. When the fluorescent lights that follow the curve are turned on,
Jack Colker’s 76 station, as it is commonly known, goes from flying carpet
to embellished spaceship.

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It was completed in 1965, right around the time when the eye-catching
Googie style was extremely popular in California. Inspired by the SpaceAge,
fast cars, and jets, Googie style buildings contain steel, plastic, and neon,
twisted into crazy shapes and designs. Several of these whimsical creations
were demolished in the decades that followed but there are still handful of
them scattered around the Golden State.

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Atlas Obscura

Beautiful Upside Down House

“What if I should fall right through the center of the earth…oh, and come out on the other side where people walk upside-down?” – Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland.

And now something weird for your Friday. You wouldn’t think the world would have so many upside down houses, but it does. People have built them for all kinds of reasons, from starting up a tourist attraction to commenting on the absurdity of politics.

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Upside Down House in Usedom, Germany: Designers Klausdiusz Golos and Sebastian Mikiciuk have a very nonchalant approach to this tourist exhibit, saying, “We didn’t do it for a reason. We just wanted to do something different.”

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Upside Down House at the Old School House Museum in Lee Vining, California: Part of an outdoor exhibit at a roadside museum in California, this tiny shed gets top billing as the “legendary upside-down house!”

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Wonderworks in Orlando, Florida: They bill themselves as “Central Florida’s only upside down attraction — an amusement park for the mind, featuring over 100 interactive exhibits.”

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Upside Down House in Poland: Daniel Czapiewski, an entrepreneur in Poland, built this house to comment on the insanity of contemporary politics (and bring in tourists as well).

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Casa de Cabeca para Baixo in Rio: Don’t know too much about this upside-down house, except that it’s located in Cabo Frio, Rio de Janeiro, and the Flickr member who took the photo says “They are reforming it. It’s a Showroom from a house-construction shop.”

Beautiful Workplace Design

GoCstudio re-imagines a century-old Seattle building to house digital product company

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US architecture firm GoCstudio has created an open office for a growing tech company that features original brick and timber elements, along with new enclosures made of ebony-stained plywood.

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The office is located within the upper floor of a 100-year-old building in Seattle‘s Capitol Hill district. Encompassing 14,000 square feet, the space serves as a second office for Substantial, a digital product studio.

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The company had occupied a portion of the floor since 2013, and decided to take over the full story when its neighboring tenant moved out. Local firm GoCstudio was charged with overhauling the entire floor, to read as one unified space.

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The challenge was to create a cohesive open-plan workspace which retained the feel of the original Substantial space and would maximize the existing character of the building – exposed brick walls, old-growth Douglas Fir beams and roof decking, and the beautiful warehouse-style window walls.

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The architects worked closely with the client to understand day-to-day operations, as well as the company’s love of hosting parties. Their research led to the conception of the office’s signature element: The Forum, an assembly area for social and business activities.

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A large aspect of Substantial’s working practice is the hosting of public and private events thus creating a large social space that could be multifunctional was an important factor in the design of the expansion.

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The social space was situated near the entry staircase and looks toward a large reception desk faced with a steel door from the old office. The room is illuminated by a large skylight.

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In the kitchen, the team installed two bars made of cross-laminated timber planks, along with several black dining tables with colorful chairs. Employees can be found working here throughout the day.

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Surrounding The Forum are conference rooms, with walls made of black-stained plywood and large panes of glass. Additional enclosures were inserted on the north side of the floor. A large portion of the office is given over to open areas with versatile workstations.

The space is filled with natural light, thanks to large floor-to-ceiling glass on three sides of the building. For the first time in many years, views are opened up through the building, from east to west.

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Other projects by GoCstudio include a low-lying winery that blends with Washington’s natural terrain, and a floating wooden sauna that can accommodate up to six people.
Project credits:
Architect: GoCstudio (Jon Gentry, Aimée O’Carroll)
Builder: Montlake Associates
Lighting Designer: KMJ Design, Kathy Justin
Owner: Substantial
Photography: by Kevin Scott
Read more 

 

Beautiful Pink House

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The Pink House, otherwise known as The Spear House, is one of the best known and most photographed residences in Miami, Florida. It is a quintessential symbol of modernism and sits at the edge of Biscayne Bay in the older Miami suburb of Miami Shores, is intended as an urban house within a suburban context. Rigorously conceived as a study in different planes, the house is painted give shades of pink, ranging from deep near-red to pale pink, which heighten the illusionistic perspective of the house and define the series of planes. Pink was chosen because it seemed to be the most tropical of all colors and at the time was rarely used. Many factors make the house interesting bit its controversy has all the intrigue. designed by Laurinda Spear and Bernardo Fort-Bescia of Arquitectonica for Spears’ parents in 1976, it’s a series of planes and framed views designed to maximize East/West breezes.

The Pink House, Miami Shores, Florida, 7800

Although the house was initially conceived as an object standing on its own, the west façade, facing the city, is scaled down; its dimensions diminish to relate to other houses on the street in an almost mathematical cadence. The east façade, designed for long-distance viewing from Miami Beach and the bay, is scaled so that it looms large. The approach is through a tropical grove — almost a tunnel– which opens to a geometric landscape with palm trees spaced regularly in a carpet of pavers.

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The house has a precise sequence: the façade, the courtyard, and then the rooms, each framing a different view of the bay. The house encloses a swimming pool, which, along with the living areas, is the piano, one level above ground. The house in narrow — only 18 feet wide — to capture the bay breezes and daylight as well. The Spear House is more rigorously mathematical than Arquitectonica’s later work, yet in many ways it is seminal, establishing a number of paths of inquiry that the firm has pursued consistently, including color and cadence.

The Pink House, Miami Shores, Florida, 7800

Its color statement received a lot of attention in the late 1970s when it was built.
Neighbors were disturbed by the 5 shades of pink, which were chosen to reflect
the tropical climate and were rarely used at the time. Ultimately a grove of trees
were planted to shield the house from the street.

The Pink House, Miami Shores, Florida, 7800

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Original sketch

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