The architectural model gained new prominence after a period of decline when it became a popular tool for design education and practice in the early twentieth century. This revival is usually associated with the turn towards objectivity and the search for expressive means to communicate ideas in three dimensions–but how was the model transformed in the age of its mechanical reproducibility?
Modernism in Miniature: Points of View explores the encounter between photography and model-making between 1920-1960. It focuses on model photography as a distinctive genre and suggests that the so-called ‘model boom’ was inextricably bound up with the explosion of modern mass media.
The objects on display illustrate a variety of visual practices ranging from straight records of study models to hyper-realist photomontage. Channelled by the illustrated press, miniatures reached out to a wide public and, in some cases, acquired enduring cult status. By revisiting a widespread yet oft-neglected imagery, the exhibition provokes questions about the relationship between media in architectural culture and the specific impact of photography on the perception of the miniature.
Modernism in Miniature: Points of View, September 22 – January 8, at Octagonal Gallery, The Canadian Centre for Architecture (CCA), Montréal, Québec
This house is located in the Southern Highlands district of New South Wales and is set amongst rolling pasture with views to adjoining rural properties, escarpments and national parkland in the distance. An existing 1970′s face brick bungalow was extensively remodeled to create two linked pavilions. The principle living spaces are interconnected and are located to capitalize on aspect to the terraces, lawn and the view. Painted white internally, a dark brown color exterior references the beautiful old dry stone walls. Gardens were re planned to open up vistas and panoramas from the house.
Southern Highlands Residence, New South Wales, Australia by Katon Redgen Mathieson
The house is used as a holiday home by a single person, who often invites guest to stay. It needed to be a space that could be used as a controlled studio with the feeling of being open, as well as to be able to morph into private and individual spaces when the house is full of visitors.
Our gaze is on the ‘geographical room’ of Camps Bay; the Atlantic Ocean, Lion’s Head and Table Mountain in the backdrop. The design intent is applied by framing views towards the sea (rooms) and opening up spaces (terraces) to look up at the mountains.
The concept rests on creating a subtle journey through the open spaces and through the interior that constantly glimpses at the landscape and merges within the Architecture that never reveal the entire building in one instant.
In order to allow all rooms in the front of the house proximity to the sea, and to bring fresh air, light and circulation into the back of the house, two glass walled courtyards were introduced on the ground floor. One courtyard, built around the passage, connects the bedrooms and the other one is built inside the main bedroom as part of the en suite area. These two courtyards are reflective of sea views.
The use of neutral and natural materials is the response to the desire of bringing the outdoors inside, achieved by contrasting the exuberant landscape with the ‘blank canvas’ of the interior. The ultimate concept of luxury is the constant extending and opening of the inside spaces to meet in full the unique and exquisite South African climate.
The residence itself is modern, linear, geometric, elegant and stunningly stark white jutting out from a mountainside overlooked by a castle and is located in Ayora near Valencia. This single-family residence has been designed to “integrate into the environment, respecting the strategies of adaptation to the environment using non mimesis materials that would lead to misleading historicism, thereby showing the time constructively to meet the requirements of the “new dwellers.”
The stark white single-family residence is located in a landscape of unique beauty, the result of a natural and evident growth, against the stunning natural backdrop. The mountain, crowned by a castle, is covered by individual houses juxtaposed mutually as they entwine a disjointed white fabric adapted to the extraordinary topography. The [house] proposes architecture that integrates into the environment – this was also the design challenge, with respect to their policy of adjustment to the natural setting. With this in mind, the house is conceived as a volume positioned into the rocky mountainside; a volume which uses white lime and a sense of constructive continuity reduces openings to a minimum expression. It conveys all of this whilst making the most of the plot’s contours and conforming to the disintegration of the surrounding environment.
The [house] was designed with three main factors in mind: The owners demanded privacy and sun washed interiors, as well as available budget, the third factor which they had to consider at all times. In its interior, the three-storey house was designed with a void which acted as a divider, the void acting as the core of communication cut a parallel disposition of the mountain without touching it. Additionally, this void is adjacent to a skylight which allows for abundant natural lighting which flows through the interiors.
The cellar can be found on the ground floor, on the first floor one comes across the children’s bedrooms, bunk beds, and a bathroom which open up to a private street. The master bedroom on the upper floor overlooks the houses across the street and the valley of Ayora. While on the top floor, one will also find the study, an open plan kitchen with the dining room and the living room. The study is opened in turn to central double height, incorporating it into the space.
Located on the shore of Lake Michigan, the 1973 Douglas House was one of architect Richard Meier’s first residential commissions. Defined by its verticality, the house features an exterior stepped walkway that extends over the trees, connecting the levels.
Once [Michael McCarthy and Marcia Myers] bought it, they called Meier’s office in New York. The architect suggested that if they intended to modify the building they might consider hiring his firm. “But he said if we were going to restore it, we’d be better off using local engineers,” says McCarthy, who did a bit of both by assembling a team to move forward while at the same time striking up an informal relationship with then Meier employee and Michigan native Michael Trudeau.
The Douglas House is a clear nod to Les Terrasses, a 1928 residence created by Le Corbusier in Garches, France. Shared elements include curved walls, spatial ambiguities, and the series of ladders and cantilevered staircases that join the levels and encourage a cascading architectural promenade.
If the couple had questions, they’d call Trudeau, who’d get answers from Meier. “They’re impeccably cognizant of keeping the original design,” Trudeau says. This went on for four years. The team removed the original steel awning windows, sandblasted and powder-coated each one, then reinstalled them with thermal glass and hardware from the original supplier. They replaced and painted the redwood siding its original “Meier White,” then added a steel backbone to the bridge. HVAC systems were replaced with energy-efficient equipment. They even reupholstered a Meier-designed sofa for the living room.
With the renovation now mostly complete, the couple has reached out to state and national preservation organizations about the home’s future. “We had no idea what we were getting into–but this is a keeper,” McCarthy says. “Our role is to restore it and maintain it for America.”
Forty years after its creation, the Douglas House has returned to its original intent–an architectural experience that moves the visitor through an exploration of inside and outside spaces. “The same is true in the Farnsworth House and Fallingwater,” says Meier. “The idea was there from the beginning–it’s about the making of space and how to articulate it.”
This house on Lake Scharmützel, which was recently awarded the German Timber Construction Award, is a summer and weekend escape for a family with two children. As committed urban dwellers (they spend most of their time in a flat in downtown Berlin), the family was not willing to give up their urban way of life and move to the suburbs, so they opted for a retreat that would provide the maximum contrast to their everyday life in the city. The result is a simple refuge that interacts harmoniously with the surrounding landscape.
Summerhouse in Brandenburg, Diensdorf, Germany, by Doris Schäffler
via: Architectural Record
Located in Mendoza, Argentina, this square house was designed by A4estudio (Leonardo Codina Arch and Juan Manuel Filice Arch). Called Codina House, The house is situated on a flat land of 1,500 square meters in a residential area. The project is an opportunity to rethink the suburban houses facilities in emerging environments in contemporary Latin American urban spaces. Trying to understand the space as a stimulator, suggesting sensitive geometries that optimize weather conditions and operate from green conscience.
The house is all around an interior central courtyard, opening the main spaces to a large lateral garden. These spaces are organized in a north orientation, gaining direct heat by solar radiation, the smaller and private spaces, are oriented to the east, leaving the services areas to the west. Due to the natural movement of air masses, the volume of air in the central courtyard rises, because of temperature, causing environmental benefits of the garden perimeter through the interior spaces of the house.
Restauration House VH, Bruges, Belgium, by CAAN Architecten
This house is an exploration on the trace of a variety of formal and architectural lineages in the ongoing transformation of the modern dwelling that ranges from Neutra’s Kaufmann House to the Case Study Housing Program.
This house was designed as a man-made pavilion for observing and living in close proximity to nature. Organized around an open landscape, the result is an L-shaped plan one room wide, an intersection of the two axis radiating from the central living / dining space in which all rooms flank the swimming pool and face the view of the park, including bedrooms with headboards. Pushing the limits of interior space through the use of floor to ceiling glass openings, we sought to bring house and landscape into a higher unity. More than a composition on lines and planes, this residential design provides a framework for appreciating nature. Through the use of a steel structure we created a greater feeling of lightness and openness. Through the use of overhangs we provided shade and reduced glare. Brick was a fundamental material in the house, brick provided insulation for extreme temperatures primarily from the intense summer heat. We created a special composition whereby walls organize space but do not bear weight. The rectilinear composition is supported by the straightforward landscape designed by Pamela Burton. The pool, not only recreational asset, also intensifies the view from the interior through its constantly changing reflections of the sky and clouds.
Set on five acres in the NSW Southern Highlands, this house is presented as a steel and glass pavilion perched upon a raised podium to take advantage of a north aspect and views across rolling hills and a nearby reservoir. Internally the house features terrazzo floors that extend out onto external terraces. The house overlooks a contemporary garden with a small purpose made lake and a 15 meter lap pool set amongst trees.
Myra Vale, Southern Highlands, Australia by Katon Redgen Mathieson