Thursday, September 19, 2013

Case Study Apartment Phoenix, AZ

I visited the case study apartment #1 in Phoenix last week. It had some similarities to the Stahl house in that it used plenty of glass and rectangular floor plans. This apartment was part of the Case Study program that the Stahl and Eames house were in.
 Here's the view of a unit via the parking space.
 Here you can see two units. The consistent glass pattern however blends the two properties together keeping a cohesive look. I liked that they had large patio space and garden areas. The original light fixtures are still there.
 Here is the main entrance area where a single plane of decking draws the visitor in. The narrowness elongates the view, making the space seem more lengthy. The thin posts and beams and the openness of the property balances out the heavy lowness of the roof plane.
 Here's the entry of a unit. People still live here today.
 Here you can see the equal spacing of the posts, keeping for a modular-like design.  You can barely make out the third unit at the right of the image (there are three total units).
 I liked the subtle floating quality of the main deck. The simple gap of levitation contributes to the elegant compilation of planes.
 The main entry. Here you can see clearly that the courtyard space of the entry feels intimate and secluded from the road. However, because of the excessive use of glass, there is little privacy.
 The landscaping was pretty cute and simple.
Click for more info on the apartment

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

LA trip #4 Stahl House

 The Stahl House is another home from the Case Study Program (a collection of homes designed to educate the public on modern building ideals). Built by Pierre Koenig, this building, in its most simple form, is made of two box containers in the shape of an L. Large industrial pieces put together. From the street, it does not look like much. However, upon entering past the backyard gate, you stumble upon this view (to the left).
 The interior walls of the home is detached from the ceiling, allowing for a very free, open floor space plan.

 Here is the kids bedroom, which may only be entered through the master bedroom (which was also used as a sort of "family" room).
 View of the living room. this house completely opens itself to the amazing city views. All the glass heated up the house quickly, however. I even ended up wearing my sunglasses in the house because of the strong sun. The sun also damages the furniture, which is replaced approximately once a year.
 Entrance into the kids bedroom via the master.

 I really like the pool here. To access to the house from the door at the gate, the visitor must traverse over the concrete slab that hovers slightly above the pool, providing interest for swimmers. A platform to sit, to play, to rest.
 All the glass made for some sort of human incubator! I'm not sure how the Stahls managed the heat coming into the house.

 I really like how the kitchen seems like some sort of insert into the box form house. It looks contemporary and light.
 View of the master and kids bedroom, and how the walls slide out.

 The home cantilevers slightly into the cliff side.

 City views from the kitchen.

LA stop #3 Eames house

 The Eames house, designed by Charles and Ray Eames was built for the Case Study House program. This program in the 1960s was to display several modern forms of architecture, open for the public's viewing. In 1949 the Eames moved into the home.

 Built against an 8 foot high retaining wall, the rest of the four sides of the building, mostly composed of glass, opened outward towards the private meadow, connecting the home with nature.
 The Eames house was one of the pioneering works of "pre-fab" homes. The concept of "off-the-shelf" parts made for a more efficient building process (the skeletal structure took only two days, the rest of the home approx 8 months).
 Here is the studio unit.
 Here is the main house.
 The house viewed from the meadow. It reminds me of some sort of  De Stijl painting. I personally loved the different sized rectangles and bursts of color. It made for an interesting composition.

 Here is the main entrance door (between the trees).
 The home is only 1500 sq feet. It has a loft and an open space living room area, and is 17 ft high, which balances out the "small" home size.

The home integrates work, play, life and nature.

LA stop #2 Walt Disney Concert Hall

 Frank Gehry grew up and attended school in Los Angeles, later becoming a world famous contemporary architect. I was so excited to go in one of his buildings. Through pictures they've always looked so uncomfortable and straining to the eye (in my opinion). But being up close to one, at least the Disney Concert Hall, was such a wonderful experience. Firstly, the whole building feels so spacious. A lot of it is due to the fact that it is quite a large building, but it also has several gaps of glass in the roof (like the image to the left) where the building opens itself outwards to the sky.
 Curvy forms made the building look so elegant and free.
 These huge tree-like columns held the building up structurally, and also hid the ventilation ducts.

 Bits and pieces of glass can be seen from the inside of the building, whilst being seemingly hidden from the outside.
 Gehry's use of wood allows for a warm setting, greatly contrasting from the metal used on the outside.
 Here is the main concert hall (which has several balcony levels above). The wood was mainly used for acoustical reasons. The concert hall's concave shapes also help focus the sound.  The walls in the hall are actually made of transparent mesh for sound to pass through and reflect off the many other hidden concave curves in the wall.

 Here is a small view of the city from the balcony. Unfortunately much of the views were blocked by the height of the encasement walls of the deck. The metal also dangerously heats up by the sun and becomes incredibly hot.
 The shadows of the windows were fun.

 Another example of hidden glass slits in the roof. From the outside of the building, a visitor could not see these slits of light. Entering into the naturally lit building and seeing a bright space thus becomes more of a surprise.

The rose fountain in the garden.

 The cold looking shapes of metal on the exterior.
 This was a neat surprise when I walked into a small crevice of the garden. Wedging myself into the space, I saw the reflection of the polished/glazed metal onto the unpolished metal pieces.
 Looking up.

 I like how the windows of this building are not set into a wall, instead, make the wall.
 Looking at the building is actually quite bright, especially on a sunny day. The reflections of the sun makes it difficult to enjoy the structure from the outside.