I am now a few weeks into my graduate education and would be a big fat liar if I said I wasn’t feeling challenged. So much to do, yet so little time. I forced myself to take the night off from studio so I could get a haircut and wash laundry, so I thought I’d share a project that was made in the first week of studio.
The challenge was to create a 500 square foot home with a 500 square foot exterior space. The REAL challenge was thinking of a creative way to combine the two. I decided to choose an urban infill site in the alley between two buildings and to create what I liked to call an, “Urban Camping” experience.
The idea of escape from the city, within the city really intrigued me. As with previous projects, I wasn’t shy about making the living conditions a bit more than inconvenient for the clients.
As the relationships between indoor and outdoor spaces formed “blurred” spaces, opportunities to push the camping side of the project arose. Pivoting walls created zones of both indoor and outdoor spaces. Below you can see the site plan and building footprint, along with hand drawn section and plans with a little photoshop love.
It may be strange to think that a person living here must go outside to get from the kitchen to the bedroom. Perhaps stranger to think that a person must go outside once again to get from the bedroom to the bathroom. But the idea was to emulate the camping/lodging experience within the urban context. The bathroom is open to the entire house via a wall of glazing, but is screened by a wall of bamboo. This is meant to re-create the feeling of using the restroom in the forest, during which one can never be sure if someone can see what one is doing behind the bushes. Also, the ceiling of the bedroom/flex space was designed to be perforated in a way by which light would enter through the screen and recreate the stars at night. So as not to completely remove one from the city, two opportunities to reconnect with the urban nature of the site are provided in the form of slightly perforated screens that allow people standing immediately adjacent to them to see/hear through the wall without disturbing others in the home. Below is a gently rendered SketchUp model that illustrates these architectural moments.
Although I was pleased with the outcome of the project for the time spent on it, during a group review we discussed a MISSED OPPORTUNITY! Where the above image shows a small, man-made fire, there was an opportunity to provide a large outdoor oven that doubled as a fire-pit. That would have really given purpose to the courtyard and would have tied the entire project together.
You live you learn! I’ll get’em next time!