Roots of Design: The Birth of Modern Architecture

Roots of Design: The Birth of Modern Architecture

How did modernism find its way to residential buildings? Consider the meaning of “modern” within the context of the growth of a fashion. “Modern” in this sense is the inception of a brand new aesthetic without building upon or interpreting previous fashions.

Two phases of modern residential design happened in the early 20th century. The first phase comprised Prairie and Craftsman styles, which came to a halt because of World War I, and a second phase comprised art moderne, art deco and International style. This second phase, occurring throughout the 1930s, was brief and not nearly as successful as the first, because of World War II.

About 1900 Frank Lloyd Wright and a few other Midwestern architects that were a part of what is known as the Prairie School created a new vocabulary of style. Their buildings weren’t trimmed or decorated in any previous ornamental style but were distinctively detailed with easier materials confidently overlaid on solid and downhill highlighting forms.

Creative Architects

Prairie

Frank Lloyd Wright deserves significant credit for contributing to the creation of 20th-century residential architectural style. His 1893 Winslow House in River Forest, Illinois, called many trends in the upcoming century. The design highlighted horizontal elements, unlike Victorian topics of the moment, and a simpler and unified aesthetic, which felt grounded and related more organically to the landscape. His other thoughts, for example Broadacre City, preceded and tasked with the influence of the automobile.

This home could be familiar to many Americans, for this particular style stretches from coast to coast and survives in many types. A generous front porch is covered by a hip roof, in which a hipped dormer lets light to the loft area. The continuous eave line confidently encircles the construction and maintains its low profile.

Ron Brenner Architects

This home resembles the previous in form, and its next degree, which became more common, also highlights horizontal elements and has generous eaves standard of this design. Some houses of this sort are called foursquares, but the massing and simplified elevations mimic the aesthetic generated by the Prairie School.

Chrysalis: Home Studio

This brand new home adheres to Prairie details faithfully, yet its overall impression is characteristic of thousands and thousands of similarly shaped houses across North America. Low-pitched, hipped roofs with wide eaves and a long, low elevation incorporate the garage to its layout, a trait significant to later-20th-century dwellings. The Prairie period was comparatively brief, occurring in 1900 to 1920, but its influence translated into the ranch fashion, which started in the 1930s and persisted for the majority of the century.

Kenorah Design + Build Ltd..

Craftsman

This fashion started in California around 1903 and became among the most popular of the 20th century in the U.S.. The Greene brothers, architects in Pasadena, developed a bungalow-type architecture rich with timber detail influenced partially by the English Arts and Crafts movement and partially by Asian wooden structures. The intimate scale and warm details can be interpreted into small and modest homes or expressed more elaborately in bigger examples.

Because of the popularity of this design, there are many variations on the subject, but they are usually detailed with some kind of generous front porch. Columns can be straight and set beneath tapered brick pedestals, as in this example, but this detail varies widely.

Cosmetic mounts visually support the rake (the upwardly sloping eave of this gable end) in many forms, and a flared lintel detail above each window trim bit is not uncommon.

Notice the railing on this porch; variations often make a particular home unique. They can have shingle siding, but clapboard and stucco also happen. Brick is normally used for porch pedestals and chimneys, as is the case for this home.

Moore Architects, PC

This remodeled and remodeled home has tapered wood columns set on stucco pedestals. Compared to the previous home, the roof formation is a side gable, rather than front facing. A shed dormer penetrates the principal roof form. This is a common Craftsman characteristic. Also observe the mixture of stucco and shingle siding.

WW Builders Design/Build Associates

This new home has been designed with Craftsman details inclined to be found on originals, but it also has a few attributes that define it as a neo-Craftsman. The arched lintel involving the porch poles and also the French doors leading onto a deck wrapped with the primary roof and parapet railing are distinct contemporary adaptations.

Jones Clayton Construction

Art Deco

The word “modern” in the context of architecture commonly brings to mind white stucco, glass walls and flat roofs. These are the features of three important fashions which developed between World War I and World War II. Art deco, art moderne and International styles sprouted from the age of this machine. Developed countries around the world had all firmly entered industrialization, and structure represented the happening using a brand new aesthetic.

The International design developed in Europe throughout the architecture of Le Corbusier and Mies van der Rohe, among others. The Finnish architect Eliel Saarinen is credited with deco’s having won second place in an important competition in 1922 in Chicago.

This brand new art deco–inspired residence illustrates vertical emphasis characteristic of this design. Many originals of this day were far more detailed, with decorations of chevron patterns together with reeding and fluting in window and door surrounds. More commonly found in commercial or apartment buildings of the 1930s, this design was highly elastic.

Peterssen/Keller Architecture

Art Moderne

More prevalent in residences than in commercial buildings, the artwork moderne design played on the subject of compact machines. Cars, ships, toasters and a number of other items became places for expression of their aesthetic. Note the curved glass block wall in this example. Even though there are few houses today which may be categorized as being this fashion, glass block has become a favorite material for translucent walls and windows in many American houses.

Norris Architecture

International

European architects of the 1920s and 1930s adopted a doctrine of no ornamentation, and all elements served only functional purposes. The attractiveness of a building was to be achieved by the exactness of machine-finished structural and materials transparency. For the very first time, exterior walls weren’t structural and were tagged curtain walls. The construction (usually steel) occurred on the inside of the building, also supports were placed to allow as much freedom as possible for inside configuration.

Found in this home is a harshly executed arrangement of elements. The chimney is a floating cylinder, the walls above the windows appear to float, and also the forms appear to enclose indoor in addition to outdoor spaces. Windows are grouped or stretched in long rows, and razor-thin supports define separation.

Ehrlich Yanai Rhee Chaney Architects

Notice how the architects have given the impression of a floating roof in this Los Angeles home. The windows are either large, focusing on a certain level of interest, or organized in ribbons and mitered at the corners. The walls of the home appear solid and massive, like large cubes. The details are flush and smooth.

Birdseye Design

Within this wonderful Vermont home, the cantilever of a second level serves as security to an entrance. The materials are detailed to feel sharp and precise. The windows and doors align and are flush with the ceiling and the ground. Notice the way the terrace extends across the incline of this landscape, but is not too high off the floor, as a railing would spoil the plot.

Particularly affected by the German Bauhaus school, the International design set into motion an architectural discipline that is, to this day, essential and formative to the profession.

Historically, the trajectory is intriguing. The design became popular in Europe prior to World War II but lost favor following the war; it subsequently recovered popularity later in the century. In America, despite art deco and art moderne, residential style of the 1920s and 1930s was ruled by revivals and eclecticism.

It wasn’t till after World War II did this design fold into an American mainstream vernacular, as we will see in a future ideabook.

Next: Midcentury Styles Respond to Modern Life

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An Observatory Tops Away a Modern Home

An Observatory Tops Away a Modern Home

When architect Dan Nelson’s clients approached him to create this house high in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains, they were very enthusiastic about energy efficiency and a renewable, low-maintenance design. One of those clients, however, had an even larger priority: installing a firefighter’s pole. The consequent home has a small footprint and stunning views, thanks to its siting and four-story height. And it also has that firefighter’s pole.

at a Glance
Location: Stanwood, Washington
Who resides: A couple and their 2 boys
Size: Around 3,800 square feet; 4 bedrooms, 3 1/2 bathrooms
Year constructed: 2008

Dan Nelson

“The fire pole was the father’s idea; he’d always wanted a fire pole,” says Nelson.

Dan Nelson, Designs Northwest Architects

The house sits at the highest stage of this website. “The higher we went, the more dramatic the views,” Nelson says. Another fantasy house feature for the dad was an observatory for his telescope.

Dan Nelson, Designs Northwest Architects

Views and an interest in sustainable design drove the types and layout. The house has four floors and a rather small footprint. To the left is your garage with the master bedroom above. To the right are the living spaces, with just two bedrooms and a bath overhead.

Nelson intended for the future as well; his design can incorporate solar panels and a wind turbine should the family choose to bring those features later.

Dan Nelson, Designs Northwest Architects

A glance through the front door shows the expansive views enjoyed from every room on the main floor. The open floor plan incorporates the kitchen, dining area and living space, and floor-to-ceiling glass offers western views of the Olympic Mountains, the town of Everett, Puget Sound and amazing sunsets.

Polished concrete floors create continuity throughout the home and provide a thermal mass for spreading heat.

Dan Nelson, Designs Northwest Architects

Dan Nelson, Designs Northwest Architects

The fire pole connects the bedroom degree to the main degree and adds a lively element to all the glass, steel and concrete.

Dan Nelson, Designs Northwest Architects

Dan Nelson, Designs Northwest Architects

The tall, narrow segment in the previous photo is the stairwell, which extends four tales, from the daylight basement into the observatory.

Dan Nelson, Designs Northwest Architects

The second floor up is your family’s sleeping flooring. It contains the master suite, two other bedrooms, another full bathroom and this reading loft, which opens into the living room under.

The expansive windows are equipped with motorized colors for infrequent hot days.

Dan Nelson, Designs Northwest Architects

The observatory occupies the highest part of the house. It’s a glass box which sits atop the roof. “The higher we made the house, the more complex the observatory could be,” says Nelson. The husband nicknamed his fantasy distance “The Bubble” because of all the glass.

Adjacent to The Bubble is a large roof deck where the family enjoys fresh air and expansive views.

Dan Nelson, Designs Northwest Architects

Dan Nelson, Designs Northwest Architects

The first floor is a daylight basement which contains an in-law package for guests.

Dan Nelson, Designs Northwest Architects

Dan Nelson, Designs Northwest Architects

Native plants populate the landscape, and a cistern shops rainwater from the roof to summer irrigation.

Dan Nelson, Designs Northwest Architects

Dan Nelson, Designs Northwest Architects

The western windows harness solar heat. Other energy-efficient elements incorporate using insulated concrete form walls (ICF), structural insulated roof panels (SIPS), radiant floor heating and geothermal heating.

“This client truly let us do a contemporary house,” states Nelson. “When we proposed what we wanted to do, ” he said, ‘Proceed.'”

More:
Innovative Home, Heated and Cooled by Design

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Corner Windows Bend Imagination

Corner Windows Bend Imagination

Approximately one year ago I started contributing ideabooks to get . My first one concentrated on corner windows, including some houses with corners that almost disappeared through the use of mitered panes of glass, with no mullion in the place where they match. This ideabook looks at corner windows, but without limiting them. These examples may be mitered but more often than not a mullion retains the corner.

Most of the examples are presented from the outside and then the interior. With almost any window, what happens on the inside is more important than what is going on outside. Corner windows are similar to that to a larger degree, given they’re special assemblies that are a bit more difficult to build than standard punched openings. But as you’ll see, the benefits are worth it.

KUBE architecture

This house extension by KUBE Architecture resembles a white block that is punctuated by openings that are anything but traditional. Openings are of various sizes and in asymmetrical locations, like the effect of inside to outside is much important that the resulting elevations. From this angle a corner window jobs in the top floor.

KUBE architecture

Seen from the inside, the same corner window serves a small office area, providing the occupant a great panorama of the surrounding trees. An extremely great diversion really.

KUBE architecture

Taking another perspective of the house from KUBE, yet another corner window is visible, this time recessed instead of projecting.

KUBE architecture

A peek inside reveals the corner window to be in a bedroom. The window appears to bridge the long and low opening above the bed together with the tall one on a perpendicular wall. It’s clear the corner window will help bring in more sun to the room.

Klopf Architecture

At first glance the corner window in this Eichler House addition and redesign does not seem particularly special.

Klopf Architecture

But seeing out the corner in the interior reveals how special it actually is. The household has found a kids’s table, letting children to look from the window as they draw or read. This photograph illustrates the full potential of windows isn’t realized until some mechanism (furniture, built-in and these) for using it is additional.

Neiman Taber Architects

This house has a vertical corner window near the front. I am intrigued by its relationship to another windows, particularly the low and long one right next to it.

Neiman Taber Architects

Both of these openings are in the kitchen, sitting above the countertop and framing views in the foreground bar area. To me the low window is “eyes on the road” — urban activist Jane Jacobs’ phrase — making the tall corner window “eyes on the trees”

Randall Mars Architects

As in the prior example, the horizontal corner window within this perpendicular wood-clad volume makes you wonder, “What’s going on behind the opening?” Let’s take a look.

Randall Mars Architects

Again we have a kitchen. The window threads its way from the sink into the stove between the counter and the top shelves. Note the small operable window from the sink, an chance to let a snap in while washing pots and pans.

Charles Rose Architects Inc..

The Chilmark House from Charles Rose Architects includes a number of corners wrapped with windows. In the foreground the living room is observable, while beyond is another window overlooking the porch.

Charles Rose Architects Inc..

That second window is in a kitchen. Notice the intricate interplay between the windows (narrow and corner one on the left) along with the casework. Shelves pass and cantilever in front of the openings, setting the items on screen. (The cantilever actually needs a secondary arrangement, a small rod hung from the ceiling)

Charles Rose Architects Inc..

Another place from the Chilmark House reveals how the corner-window motif extends to even interior corners. This inset, restricted by some wood louvers, is home to a potted plant, so making very good use of a small and otherwise inaccessible area.

Klopf Architecture

This project may be called “dueling corner windows,” awarded these two almost equal openings facing each other across a patio.

Klopf Architecture

The interior of one of these (the one on the right in the prior photograph) reveals the clerestory windows throughout the rest of the room. The latter bring in plenty of light, but it is the corner window that allows for views of individuals outside and vice versa.

Randall Mars Architects

Talk about an interesting corner window. This one resembles an alien thing grafted onto portion of a traditional-looking house. Note how the window can be used to display some artwork.

Randall Mars Architects

From inside the artwork is also observable, now against a backdrop of trees. The window appears to be strategically placed to make the most of corridors and the view throughout the house.

John Senhauser Architects

This last example unfortunately does not have an interior view to accompany it, so it is up to your imagination. Like the previous house this corner window appears grafted onto another house. The stair resulting in the roof reveals the projecting window may be serving a couple of functions, as an appearance and as access to the more special realm above.

More:
Micro Additions: If You Need Only a Bit More Space

Skinny Windows: Exclamation Points of Light

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