Tag Archives: mid century modern

My Tiny Modern Luxury

Upcoming in the next three months, I have a wonderful project to build a tiny space. As part of a larger building, one might consider this as a self-contained suite or apartment. Nevertheless, the suite will have a footprint of 453 square feet.

When the building begins, I will document the various stages until the final result and post the ongoing developments. Although, not in the current plans, another patio may be considered on the bathroom side.

The Footprint of the Tiny Suite.
The Footprint of the Tiny Suite.

Obviously, since this is attached to a larger structure, the footprint is such that it could be made entirely free standing.

The following shows first the main space and then the patio and at the last the bathroom area.

This is a View of the Entry Door from the Kitchenette.
This is a View of the Entry Door from the Kitchenette.
Another View from the Kitchenette.
Another View from the Kitchenette.

On the same side as the entry door, a bank of cabinets provides an incredible amount of storage as well as a good size work surface and entertainment platform. It is possible that instead of one of the base cabinets an empty space below the surface will work as a desk.

Looking Back Toward the Kitchenette.
Looking Back Toward the Kitchenette.

In the above illustration, we see not only the kitchenette but also the small dining area and to the very right the armoire that supplies closet space to the sleeping area. The kitchenette will have a convection oven, induction stove top, and microwave. The chairs are of my design and can be found on diymodernfurniture.com.

It should be noted that this suite derives a large influence from mid-century modern design. Also, notice the use of the primary colors as a decorating scheme.

Looking from the Entrance.
Looking from the Entrance.



The above view shows a good deal of the space, on the left, the armoire, to the right, the bank of storage, and straight ahead the bed and relaxation areas.

Looking from the Bed.
Looking from the Bed.

Even though a large amount of storage is packed into a small place, the room looks spacious and comfortable.

A View of the Bedroom Area with My Artwork.
A View of the Bedroom Area with My Artwork.

The bed is a full-size bed. This space has room for a bedside table. Large windows provide plenty of natural light.

Looking Toward the French Doors that Lead to the Patio.
Looking Toward the French Doors that Lead to the Patio.

A private sitting area for reading makes for a pleasant ambiance. The French doors lead to the semi-circular patio.

We Look Back Toward the Entry Door.
We Look Back Toward the Entry Door.
Seeing Out Through the French Patio Doors.
Seeing Out Through the French Patio Doors.
The Patio.
The Patio.
The Patio.
The Patio.
The Gate to the Patio.
The Gate to the Patio.
The Door to the Bathroom.
The Door to the Bathroom.

As one will see, the bathroom has plenty of space for storage.

The Storage Space Available.
The Storage Space Available.

To the left, barely visible is the door to the outside where another patio may take shape.

The Shower Cabinet.
The Shower Cabinet.
The Shower Cabinet, Toilet, and Vanity.
The Shower Cabinet, Toilet, and Vanity.
A Good Size Window on the Right.
A Good Size Window on the Right.
The Exterior Door.
The Exterior Door.



Well, this project is in the planning stage. After the searing heat in this part of the country abates somewhat and new solar panels go up on the roof, then the tearing down and rebuilding begins.

As you can see, a complete living environment can be made without consuming a lot of space. One of the main strategies to achieve this is by providing an open flow, placing furniture and builtins to the sides of the spaces and not breaking up spaces into uncomfortable severity. Once done, I think this tiny suite will furnish a complete and satisfying habitat.

HBosler

Self-Portrait in Red.
Self-Portrait in Red.

Small House Ideas From the Past

In a post on midcenturymoderngroovy.com, I described the Aluminaire House, a prefabricated metal house that could be taken apart, packed up and moved to a different location. I am including the article here on Modern Tiny House because of the Aluminaire House when the garage and deck footage are excluded, is a relatively small house of just a few hundred square feet. Besides the Aluminaire House, I have included information on another modernist prefabricated house by Serge Binotto, an assistant of the famous French mid century modern architect, Jean Prouve. This is a circular house put together using pre-made insulated panels.

The main reason for including such information on Modern Tiny House is the form and nature of these two houses lead to all sorts of interesting ideas in terms of designs for tiny houses. As a further bonus, I have generated a 3D model of a dwelling based upon the concepts embodied in these two houses and will post the article as soon as possible.

 

Aluminaire House

Early on in my post secondary education I studied architecture. The notion that one can, in artistic fulfillment, create a work that not only others see, but also encapsulates them usefully for work, endeavors or domestic desires, brings a different sort of satisfaction over the embellishments that painting or other two-dimensional productions provide. In my nascent understanding of architecture the lofty goal of the modernists to design an inexpensive and quickly built dwelling that satisfies economic and social needs of the ordinary person, grabbed me as it has many an architect such as Frank Lloyd Wright and Buckminster Fuller and for differing reasons.

 

Rosenbaum House, Usonian, Florence, Alabama, Frank Lloyd Wright,1940.
Rosenbaum House, Usonian, Florence, Alabama, Frank Lloyd Wright,1940.

 

Dymaxion House, Henry Ford Museum, Buckminster Fuller, 1930.
Dymaxion House, Henry Ford Museum, Buckminster Fuller, 1930. (By Rmhermen at the English language Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1917827)

 

The concept of a prefabricated house built of mass-produced and industrial materials that can be packed up and reassembled like a factory made doll house without a lot of consumed time or resources certainly garners fascination and experimentation.

 

Aluminaire House, Now in Palm Springs, California, A. Lawrence Kocher and Albert Frey, 1931.
Aluminaire House, Now in Palm Springs, California, A. Lawrence Kocher and Albert Frey, 1931.

 

Asked by Walter Street of the Allied Arts and Industries and the Architectural League of NY exhibition in 1930, A. Lawrence Kocher, who was the managing editor of  Architectural Record, enlisted  Albert Frey, a 28-year-old Swedish architect that had migrated to the US to help in developing a modern design for a house using off the shelf materials. Albert Frey was imbued with the Internationalist Style due to his experience with Le Corbusier’s office. The influence of American manufacture in the ready availability of materials that went into Aluminaire House also strongly pointed Kocher and Frey in the direction of metal and prefabrication.

 

After this experimental house was displayed at the shows the house sold to architect Wallace K. Harrison for $1000 and was moved to his property on Long Island, NY. There it remained until 1987 when the New York Institute of Technology accepted it to prevent its demolition and for its reassembly next to the School of Architecture by students. Although, annual lectures and events surrounded the Aluminaire House, plans to move the house to a location in New York City were not approved and the house, through the auspices of the Aluminaire House Foundation, was set to be moved to Palm Springs across from the Art Museum in 2017.

 

The Aluminaire House incorporated mostly aluminum and steel for the skin and framing of the building. Wood in certain places allowed for the attachment of insulation board and the floors were linoleum. At the time, the designers thought that aluminum would become ever cheaper and abundant and quite useful for building construction.

 

One of the most appealing qualities of the Aluminaire House comes from an overall design that seems in place at a more advanced stage of modernism. In fact, with little modification, this house could be built today and stand critical scrutiny. Of course, the use of steel instead of aluminum and a few other small changes would also result in a dwelling not all that expensive to produce.

 

Aluminaire House.
Aluminaire House.

 

Illustration From August 1931 Popular Mechanics Magazine.
Illustration From August 1931 Popular Mechanics Magazine.

 

It is fitting that the Aluminaire House will exist happily in Palm Springs, California where Albert Frey created notable work.

 

The Famous Frey House, Palm Springs, California, Albert Frey, 1964.
The Famous Frey House, Palm Springs, California, Albert Frey, 1964.

 

Interior of the Frey House.
Interior of the Frey House.

 

Interior of the Frey House.
Interior of the Frey House.

 

A future article will include further information on Albert Frey and his unique designs.

For more detailed information about the Aluminaire House visit these websites:

Aluminaire Organization.

New York Institute of Technology Aluminaire Information Page.

Curbed Article on Aluminaire. 

Article on Palm Springs Modern Committee about Albert Frey. 

Article on Architectural Digest concerning the Frey House II. 

 

 

 

The Circular House by Binotto

 

This is a digital walk through of the Binotto circular prefab house:

 

 

The Binotto House, Mirepoix, France, Serge Binotto, 1969.
The Binotto House, Mirepoix, France, Serge Binotto, 1969.

 

1960s Serge Binotto-designed circular property in Mirepoix, Ariège, south west France
The Binotto House, Mirepoix, France, Serge Binotto, 1969.

 

1960s Serge Binotto-designed circular property in Mirepoix, Ariège, south west France
The Binotto House, Mirepoix, France, Serge Binotto, 1969. (Interior)

 

1960s Serge Binotto-designed circular property in Mirepoix, Ariège, south west France
The Binotto House, Mirepoix, France, Serge Binotto, 1969. (Interior)

 

1960s Serge Binotto-designed circular property in Mirepoix, Ariège, south west France
The Binotto House, Mirepoix, France, Serge Binotto, 1969. (Interior)

 

 

 

HBosler

Self-Portrait in Red.
Self-Portrait in Red.

Dana’s Tiny House

Dana’s tiny house is one that uses many features from the mid-century and takes in influences from the orient. The use of brick and stone were quite familiar during the time for modern residences. Also, this house promotes a sense of solitude and seclusion with a front courtyard meant for relaxation in a private environment.

Dana’s includes many elements that I use over and over in architectural design such as multiple flat roofs at different elevations, clerestory windows just under the roof, and extensive outdoor space to supplement the interior space. As with the mid-century modern designers, I look to keep a close relationship between the indoors and outdoors.

The red metal screens that reside between the brick walls, not only breaks up the expanse of the wall, but also furnishes to lighten the heft of the barrier with enough openings to provide a look into and out of the courtyard space. Only one screen, which is also the gate, is not red in color, leading one to the front entrance.

Smaller version of Dana's tiny house.
Smaller version of Dana’s tiny house.
Front rendered simply and graphically with simple shadowing.
Front rendered simply and graphically with simple shadowing.
Front showing the main gate and the cantilevered roof.
Front showing the main gate and the cantilevered roof.
A slightly different angled view of the front.
A slightly different angled view of the front.
A corner view that shows the metal screens with a Chinese pattern.
A corner view that shows the metal screens with a Chinese pattern.

One of the most intriguing and pleasurable aspects of mid-century modern houses is the adaptation of materials into modern forms. The inculcation of Chinese patterns into a modern structure lends itself to the international appeal of modernist structures. In fact, a great impulse among the modernists derives from the compulsion to boast at the technological advancement in the production and manipulation of materials, especially in large numbers. Unfortunately, the modernists only succeeding in satisfying this impulse with objects and furnishings in terms of widespread acceptance.

A side view from the driveway.
A side view from the driveway.
Corner
Corner.
Coming around to the back showing the rectangular windows of the bathroom.
Coming around to the back showing the rectangular windows of the bathroom.
The back
The back
Around to the other side.
Around to the other side.
The side.
The side.
Coming around back to the front.
Coming around back to the front.
The front gate. The front gate is a different color from the other Chinese screens just to emphasize the way in.
The front gate. The front gate is a different color from the other Chinese screens just to emphasize the way in.

 

The front courtyard.
The front courtyard.
Dana's Tiny House17
The front courtyard from the opposite direction.
Inside the main living area.
Inside the main living area.

The main living area in this version is entirely open and serves space for the kitchen/dining area and the living room. The smaller version of this house has a pullout sofa for sleeping, with a wardrobe for clothes storage. The bathroom, behind the door that is seen in this picture, also has a wardrobe for more items.

The living area. This open space has a 12' ceiling height.
The living area. This open space has a 12′ ceiling height. The door to the bathroom has a transom.
Looking toward the front door and overlooking the dining table.
Looking toward the front door and overlooking the dining table.

In the above view, we see the alternative configuration of windows. In the first iteration, there are glass blocks above the large glass windows. We will see the alternative version, which is bigger and with a bedroom, after we see the smaller house.

The opposite corner from the couch. A wardrobe is in the corner.
The opposite corner from the couch. A wardrobe is in the corner.
The modular kitchen.
The modular kitchen.
Bathroom with door to main living area on the right.
Bathroom with door to main living area on the right.
The toilet and the additional storage.
The toilet and the additional storage.

 

Alternate Plan #2:

Alternate plan with separate bedroom and bathroom plus back patio.
Alternate plan with separate bedroom and bathroom plus back patio.
The front of the alternative version. Gone are the glass blocks in favor of additional windows.
The front of the alternative version. Gone are the glass blocks in favor of additional windows.
The side of the alternative version. The bathroom extension is gone and a patio is added.
The side of the alternative version. The bathroom extension is gone and a patio is added.
The back patio. The door leads to the new bathroom. The bedroom would be on the left.
The back patio. The door leads to the new bathroom. The bedroom would be on the left.
The back patio with retractable awning.
The back patio with retractable awning.
A look from the opposite side of the alternative version.
A look from the opposite side of the alternative version.
Inside the bedroom.
Inside the bedroom.
The bedroom on the opposite side with the door to the bathroom on the left.
The bedroom on the opposite side with the door to the bathroom on the left.
In the alternative bathroom. The door on the right leads to the back patio.
In the alternative bathroom. The door on the right leads to the back patio.
The bathroom vanity with the door to the patio on the left.
The bathroom vanity with the door to the patio on the left.
The toilet and storage cabinet in the bathroom. The wall toward the main living area is painted half black and half white.
The toilet and storage cabinet in the bathroom. The wall toward the main living area is painted half black and half white.
A look at the back patio.
A look at the back patio.
The back patio looking at the door to the bathroom.
The back patio looking at the door to the bathroom.

These two versions of a modern tiny house has many features usually reserved for much larger dwellings. With a courtyard in the front and a patio in the back, plenty of outdoor living is provided. The simple, basic design of the floor plans readily fit all sorts of changes in materials and colors. For instance, instead of brick, the front courtyard enclosure could be surrounded by a metal fence with wood screens of abstract patterns in place of the Chinese screens.

HBosler

Self-Portrait
Self-Portrait

Quonset Huts: Great Idea for a Tiny House

I remember as a child traveling in the car with my parents in the direction of what are called the Foothills in Yuma, Arizona. Yuma, situated on the Colorado River on the border with California and a stone’s throw from Mexico,  was only around 14,000 people at the time and surrounded by a true desert landscape. As we passed along the road toward the barren mountains to the east of Yuma, we would pass the Marine Corps Air Station where flyers from around the world would come to learn military flying. During World War II, the base was an Army flying training center. It was at this time Quonset huts were built for shelter for the troops training at the base. The huts remained there at the time of our passing by. These semicircular buildings seemed like a wonderful, exciting place to live, especially for a child enamored with their inimitable look.

The Quonset hut got its name from the place they were first manufactured, Quonset Point, at the Davisville Naval Construction Battalion Center in Davisville, Rhode Island on the east coast of the United States. The design came from a structure very familiar to those in the British Commonwealth called the Nissen Hut used during World War I and designed  by Major Peter Norman Nissen. Later during World War II, the design was improved upon and became the Romney Hut in Britain and the Quonset Hut in the United States. After the war, many in Britain, the United States and elsewhere were either torn down, used for commercial or agricultural purposes or converted to housing, with housing being the smallest percentage of reuse.



The biggest advantage of the Quonset Hut and its other manifestations is the speed at which the manufactured shelter could be constructed. Six men could construct a Nissen Hut in about four hours, with a slightly longer time for the other iterations. The reason for the quick construction time results from the simplicity of the parts and how they go together. In the basic form, the Quonset Hut is made of a curved form covered in corrugated steel. To make the walls and the roof, one only need repeat placing metal panels to a curved frame.

 

Quonset Hut at the Marine Corps Air Station in Yuma, Arizona

Of course, the World War consumed materials, shipping, manufacturing and man-hours. So the design of the Quonset Hut had to be one that used as few of these things as possible. For the very same reasons, the Quonset Hut today requires a lot less money to purchase than any other sort of residential structure. Much like the geodesic dome and the A-frame, since the roof and the walls compose the same architectural feature, maintenance is also reduced. Large amounts of space are easily covered with this semicircular building and the addition of doors and windows do not amount to anything close to difficulty.

 

Quonset Hut in Arizona

 

 

Is the Quonset hut a modern building? Actually it is a product of the mid-century and has clean lines and a basic form. It uses modern materials and modern techniques for production and construction. It does not require traditional carpentry or building methods. It lends itself to open spaces, without the fractured nature of other types of housing. Missing, however, are the extensive use of glass and the close relationship between indoors and outdoors. Yet not all modern dwellings and structures during the mid-century professed to perpetuate the two concepts. Some Organic and Brutalist architecture ignored the aesthetic of walls of glass and extended outdoor areas. Not all modern design can be defined by just an International Style such as found among the works of Mies van der Rohe, Philip Johnson or Richard Neutra.

 

[1]

Singleton House in Los Angeles, California by Richard Neutra 1959




So, can a Quonset hut look and feel modern? Here are some examples:

 

Quonset hut designed by the Charles and Ray Eames Office in 1951.

 

Robert Daniels House by James W. Fitzgibbon, completed in 1950. (This image was made after extensive renovations that included a new roof. The old roof was corrugated metal.)

Although technically not a Quonset hut, the Robert Daniels House was constructed using the hut frame and shows what can happen when following the basic shape. The addition of stone, leaving the frame exposed and uncovered on the side allowing large areas of glass, brought this semicircular building to a modern aesthetic.

Robert Daniels House with the corrugated metal roof.

 

Interior view of Robert Daniels House

 

Arc House in East Hampton, New York by Maziar Behrooz Architecture.

Obviously, the arc of a Quonset hut can vary in height and width creating different looks and designs. The frame can be exposed to make glass areas more available. Additions and the use of natural materials can add contrasts to the dominating semi cylindrical roof.

  

Office building for Tangipahoa Consolidated Gravity and Drainage District No. 1 in Tickfaw, Louisiana.

Some random examples:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As one can see, the design possibilities of a Quonset hut are enormous. The construction of a modern dwelling using the semi cylindrical form is indisputable, while at the same time avoiding the expensive, traditional building techniques and materials. Innumerable companies sell kits and materials for Quonset hut construction, which are found widely on the Internet. A little imagination and not a lot of money can put together a modern Quonset hut home.

As for the Quonset hut as a possibility for a tiny house, the idea of a scaled down version from what we have seen above should take very little mental effort:

It doesn’t take much imagination to figure out, that as a modern tiny house, the Quonset hut is easily adaptable to a modern structure as well as a small or tiny house. For those interested in a tiny house, the Quonset hut should very much be considered.

Quonset Huts Book
Quonset Huts and more style=



HBosler

self-portrait2.png

 


The Mid-Century A-Frame

When thinking of the mid-century, one rarely thinks of the A-frame. Yet the A-frame was a familiar notion at the time, mainly as a mountain getaway. Indeed, even to this day, the A-frame’s association with the woods and mountain cabins, strikes people as unusual when seen in other environments. Nevertheless, the A-frame has certain advantages over traditional forms.

The A-frame became very popular around 1957 after an article in the New York Times appeared about a beach house built by the modernist architect, Andrew Geller, on Long Island known as the Elizabeth Reese House.

Elizabeth Reese House, Sagaponack, New York, Andrew Geller, 1955. (Courtesy Jake Gorst)




The main interest of an A-frame house comes from the ease and inexpensive construction. Like a dome, the A-frame forms the roof at the same time as the walls, thereby, making the building quicker and less costly. A little time after the publication of the New York Times article, even Macy’s got in on the act and began offering A-frame kits. In fact, purchasing in kit form was quite common as the A-frame reached a peak in popularity.

In 1950, San Francisco architect, John Campbell, designed and built the 540 square foot Leisure House. This led to kits for sale for $5000 and acclaim for his design, further fueling the modernist interest in this type of building on the west coast.

 

Leisure House, California, John Campbell, 1950.
Leisure House, California, John Campbell, 1950.

Modernists enjoyed working with the A-frame because of its basic artistic nature. The triangle finds a supreme place in the arts. From the pediment of the Parthenon to the design of a Renaissance painting, the triangle, along with the rectangle and circle, forms one the simplest and fundamental shapes.

The A-frame, as the result of odd space near the bottom sides and at the very top, were incorporated into larger structures in hotels, resorts, shops and gas stations. Many times the triangle formed a central area with an extension or extensions radiating outward. The most iconic image of the A-frame in the United States is the lodge or hotel cabin.

 

Aspen Inn Motel - Fort Klamath, OR, United States. Super cute A Frame Cabins
Aspen Inn Hotel, Fort Klamath, Oregon.

Because of the unique space of the A-frame, most usually have a loft, typically a sleeping area.

Aspen Inn Motel - Fort Klamath, OR, United States. Upstairs loft in the A-frame.  Great for kids.
Aspen Inn Hotel, Fort Klamath, Oregon. (Loft Area).

The A-frame is extremely simple to construct and kits are still available.

Example of the framing of an A-frame, small house.

The A-frame can have a very modern look with plenty of glass and some slight modifications to the basic design.

THE A FRAME HOUSE:

Or one can settle for a rather plain, common look for the A-frame.



cabin fever:

a frame cabin:

a-frame:

Duplex Paris:

Rustic gets a modern edge but keeps its pedigree in a lakeside vacation cabin, thanks to a thoughtful renovation by its architect owner:

Modern A frame cabin:

A-Frame Resurgence - A-Frame House - Bob Vila:

small modern house designs in triangular shape:

10 A-frame House Designs – For A Simple Yet Unforgettable Look:

http://www.decoist.com/2011-11-10/black-cladded-vb4-extension-creating-a-new-sun-filled-dream-home/:

A mid-century modern A-frame in Atlanta via Northcrest Modern:

Beautiful A Frame in the snow:

Cottage Life-- Mobile -- Straight As for these beautifully designed A-frame cabins:

Before & After: An A-Frame Cottage Gets an A+ Renovation | Design*Sponge:

Contemporary take on A-frame. Architect Kengo Kuma's Y-Hütte, in Eastern Japan:

Modern and Luxurious Tiny A-frame Cabin 001:

An Ultra-Minimalist Cabin Takes A-Frames To The Limit | Co.Design: business + innovation + design:

AMAZING A-FRAME HOMES: mid-century #modern living room with #natural lighting + #retro furniture:

Mount Washington A-Frame:

Catshuis aan Zee - huis in A-vorm:

illuminated A-frame at night:

Desanka's Visionary Lux Lodge — House Tour | Apartment Therapy:

A Frame Home Decorating Ideas | Frame House | Home Exterior Design Ideas:

A Frame | Flickr - Photo Sharing!:

a frame houses | The A-frame is the epic combo of modern meets mountain meets retro ...:

Far Meadow Base Camp, Sierra National Forest:

A-frame:

Contemporary-mountain-House-Design-Ideas-with-Extraordinary-and-Beautiful-View-in-Snowy-image, Pyrenees, Paris:

An A-Frame Cabin for a Snowboarding Family in Whistler:

hiroshi nakamura, hiroshi nakamura & NAP, japanese architecture, nasu tepee, teepee-inspired homes, timber homes, small homes, small homes in the woods:

 

Here are some mid-century A-frame designs:

Mid-Century Vacation Home Graphic | The Johnsons' Mid-Century Time Travel Guide #midcentury #vacationhome #illustration:

 

Vintage Cabins | Mid-Century Modern | A-Frame House | Residential Architecture | Home Ideas | Interior Design:

No roof rake needed.:

ARCHINOWHERE 06_study Art Print:

Modern Vacation Homes Atomic A Frames Chalets Eames Era Floor Plans Mid Century | eBay:

Mid-Century Modern Vacation Home Plans, via grainedit.com/2009/05/25/mid-century-modern-home-plans:

//:

a-frame interior:

 

The A-frame makes a good fit for a tiny house. The open plan and the lack of expensive and time-consuming labor, allow for a modern house requiring less maintenance. The fact that the roof is the walls means less painting, for example. For a house off the grid, the angle of the roof permits the perfect collection of solar energy if pointed in the right direction.

The construction of an A-frame house does not demand sophisticated knowledge of techniques as used in an average house. Rather, it is like two lean-tos built against each other or a hard shell “tent”. Once the few angles are known, the building becomes rather simple.

Artistically, a modern style comes just as easy as the construction. Roofing made of modern materials such as steel and interiors utilizing the many modern surfaces available today, plus the edition of mid-century modern furniture, takes the A-frame from backwoods cabin to modern dwelling.

Just a treat, if you are from the US, especially from the western US, you remember the ubiquitous at the time Der Weinerschnitzel:

A-frame Roof Weinerschnitzel Restaurant in Whittier, California.
The Original International House of Pancakes.
The original Tastee-Freez, Perris, California.
A Former Heap-Big-Beef, Mill Brae, California.
A Former Nickerson Farms in Arizona.



Whataburger A Frame
Whataburger in Corpus Christi, Texas.

HBosler

Self-Portrait
Self-Portrait

A Frank Lloyd Wright Inspired Tiny House

This design is a variation on the Round House. Many of the rectilinear elements of the Round House are removed and replaced with curved forms. The main inspiration for this tiny house comes from two houses in Phoenix, Arizona known as the David and Gladys Wright Home and the Norman Lykes Home. Both these houses are examples of Frank Lloyd Wright’s later style which is seen in the Guggenheim Museum and Gammage Auditorium.

Guggenheim Museum 1959.
Guggenheim Museum 1959.

 

Gammage Auditorium 1964.
Gammage Auditorium 1964.

The Norman Lykes Home was the last house designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1959, the year of his death. The home’s completion came in 1967. Created with concentric circles, the house sits perched above a desert valley and lyrically repeats the organic motifs of circles and half circles. As typical, Frank Lloyd Wright also designed much of the furniture as well as the built-ins in both houses.

The Norman Lykes Home, Completed in 1967 by FLW’s Apprentice John Rattenbury
The Norman Lykes Home, Completed in 1967 by FLW’s Apprentice John Rattenbury
The Norman Lykes Home (Office), Completed in 1967 by FLW’s Apprentice John Rattenbury
The Norman Lykes Home (Office), Completed in 1967 by FLW’s Apprentice John Rattenbury
The Norman Lykes Home (Living Room), Completed in 1967 by FLW’s Apprentice John Rattenbury
The Norman Lykes Home (Living Room), Completed in 1967 by FLW’s Apprentice John Rattenbury
The Norman Lykes Home (Master Bath), Completed in 1967 by FLW’s Apprentice John Rattenbury
The Norman Lykes Home (Master Bath), Completed in 1967 by FLW’s Apprentice John Rattenbury

 

The David and Gladys Wright house was a house designed for FLW’s son and daughter-in-law and completed in 1952. Wright brought the house off the desert floor with sweeping circles much like the helical walkways of the Guggenheim Museum.

House + Home Magazine Article on the David and Gladys Wright Home, June 1953.
House + Home Magazine Article on the David and Gladys Wright Home, June 1953.
David and Gladys Wright Home
David and Gladys Wright Home
David and Gladys Wright Home Interior View
David and Gladys Wright Home Interior View

 

The Round House easily lent itself to redesign based upon influences seen in the above two residences.

The Round House
The Round House

Expunging the roofs and linear effects of the front walls, left room for an ascending curve, directing visitors to the front door.

FLW-House.png

The cantilevered, extended roofs are replaced with semi-circular ones while leaving the ascending, sweeping effect of the different circular heights, giving an organic feel to the design. Since this is a tiny house, the house is left on the ground rather than elevated, but another creation with this element would demand some significant changes. The clerestory windows now have an inverted semi-circular shape, a favorite of FLW. Glass blocks, in order to bring the plans back to the 1950s, replace the windows in the bedroom section. The building still is balanced by rectangular patios off the bedroom and in front of the living room. The low, rock wall now curves and ascends toward the entry door.

FLW-House2.png

FLW-House3.png

FLW-House4.png

FLW-House5.png

FLW-House6.png

FLW-House7.png

FLW-House8.png

FLW-House9.png

FLW-House10.png

Fortunately, the extreme changes on the outside did not require wholesale changes on the inside. The movement of the front door caused a couple of furniture re-orientations, but that is all. However, considering the influence of Frank Lloyd Wright, the style of furniture and the nature of the built-ins, the finishes inside almost demand a change to something matching the organic architecture.

FLW House Floor Plan
FLW House Floor Plan

If you would like to read further about the two Frank Lloyd Wright houses referenced, an extensive article at Mid Century Modern Groovy discusses both houses as well as their influences.

HBosler

http://www.moderntinyhouse.org

self-portrait.jpg

Self-Portrait

The Round House

The Round House is based on mid-century modern styles, except this time on a more organic and less International flair. A juxtaposition of curved and rectilinear forms, although they might seem in conflict, produces an interesting contrast between the opposing thrusts in the design.

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Front entrance to the Round House showing the roof over the bedroom and front portico.

 

The building is composed of two cylinders of different heights with cantilevered roofs projecting over separate areas, one, the front entrance and the other an enclosed private patio. Also, the two roofs are composed of different materials, further separating the two visually. The split between the two halves are further delineated by color, the bedroom/bath is dark in color and the living/kitchen area is white. Introduction of a rectangular front porch as well as a rectangular private patio, mirrors the roof structure, with the roofs providing a practical cover for both. For the cylinders that make up the two distinct areas of the design, the outer walls should properly be constructed with a visually smooth, paintable surface such as fine textured stucco or metal. A cement block or brick surface would diminish the overall aesthetic. However, with significant changes, this house could use a variety of materials and finishes.

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A better view of the two roof lines and clerestory windows.

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A view of the side of the house with a look at the curving form of the taller section.

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Beginning to see the sculptural nature of the two semicircles.

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The metal roof casts interesting shadows against the curved, white surface.

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The soft curves of living/kitchen area starkly contrast with the sharp angles of the roof and private patio on the right.

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The differences between shapes and shadows reminds me of paintings by Georgia O’Keeffe of Santa Fe structures.

 

Georgia O’Keeffe, Ranchos Church, Number 1, 1929, oil on canvas, Norton Museum of Art, West Palm Beach, FL.

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Coming around to the other side we see the enclosed, private patio covered by the cantilevered roof of the tallest semicircle.

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A direct side view displaying the different roof elevations and the contrast between dark and white.

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We see the repetition and rise of the angular forms and the windows which only face the front.

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The long stretches of roof thrust in different directions. The long, short stone wall helps to weaken the stark dark and white influence by introducing natural colors all along the front, directing the eye to the front entrance.

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We get a closer look at the front portico.

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Peeking into the front window at the living room.

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On the other side of the front window with a view of the front portico. The wall on the right hides the kitchenette and small dining area.

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Looking into the dining area with the wall to the kitchenette on the left.

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Looking back toward the front entrance and living room.

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The dining area on the right and the kitchenette on the left. The door on the left leads to the bathroom and the door to the right to the bedroom.

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The kitchenette with the door to the right to the bathroom.

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The bathroom which is formed from the  curved outer wall and a curved inside wall that altogether is like a Gothic arch.

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Outside the bathroom door and in the bedroom. The vanity for the bathroom is in the main space of the bedroom, much like one would see in a hotel.

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Looking across the curve of the bedroom with the glass door on the right to the private patio.

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Seeing through the glass doors into the private patio.

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Looking back toward the bedroom.

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The Round House Floor Plan

 

Obviously, the Round House is composed of two half-cylinders with rectangular areas on either side of their union. The cantilevered roofs give covers for each end of the design. The private patio is just that, very private due to the high walls creating total seclusion off the bedroom, with the roof still 4 feet from the top of the patio walls. Windows are limited to the front and high clerestory windows provide a lot of light without diluting the space for furniture and wall space. In order to also offer this light to the bathroom, the surrounding walls (not seen in the images) go up 8 feet, 2 feet below the ceiling, allowing light from the clerestory windows to leak in.

As difficult as it is to design suitable space using circular forms, this particular design is quite flexible. By changing the roofs or changing surrounding spaces, the house can look and live very differently. Having recently examined a Frank Lloyd Wright house in Phoenix, Arizona that uses his trademark round shapes, I have already produced a variation on this house with a strong influence of Wright and will post that very soon. Keep watching.

HBosler

Self-Portrait
Self-Portrait

 

Charlie’s Tiny House: Mid Century Modern

Using the same inspiring mid-century modern arch from Patricia’s Tiny House, I have separated the form, similar to a pilaster, from surface decoration and surrounded a tiny dwelling ¾ of the way with arches. Charlie’s Tiny House, much like Patricia’s is totally influenced by the modernity of 20th century American design. The introduction of curved shapes while maintaining an overall rectilinear plan is seen over and over again in modern architecture from dinners such as Sambo’s to burger joints such as McDonald’s.

  

Sambo’s restaurants were an incredible source of mid-century architecture, which included fanciful roofs, rough stone walls and long stretches of windows. Most were original and delightfully playful in their artistic exuberance.


1587 Shawano Avenue, Green Bay, Wisconsin, McDonald’s Speedee Sign, Built:   c1959, Style:   Mid-Century Commercial, Singular example of iconic McDonald’s metal and neon sign dating to the late 1950’s in Wisconsin. Features include the company’s trademark mascot, “Speedee,” and golden arch design.   This sign remains in its original location, and was recently restored.  

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The “front entrance” of Charlie’s Tiny House.

 

I have never understood some preconceived notions about house design such as the aspect facing the street should have a front entrance. Famous mid-century modern architects many times set the entrance back, hid the front facing the street with sculpted block or walls and reserved walls of glass for the unseen areas in the so-called back of the house. Charlie’s does not necessarily have a front, but does have entrances. The two doors at the corner of the house lighten the heavy effect of the red stained, wood covered exterior and balance the two long windows on either side.

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A more direct view of the “front”.

The Rietveld chairs, combined with a Platner coffee table, sets a mid-century modern mood, which continues around the rest of the veranda. Mid-century pendant lamps keep the influence going.

Gerrit Thomas Rietveld (1888-1964), Dutch, active 20th century, Red-Blue Chair, designed 1917–18, produced ca. 1950, Painted beech and plywood, Layton Art Collection, Inc., Milwaukee Art Museum. Photo credit: John Nienhuis

 

Charlie's Tiny House3.pngA corner of the house showing the continuation of the yellow arches, the tall, narrow windows of the bedroom and the cement planters.

Charlie's Tiny House4.pngDirect view of the veranda with the Wassily Chairs by Marcel Breuer, 1925.

Charlie's Tiny House5.pngComing around the corner.

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Straight on view of the side opposite the “front” entrances showing the boulder garden, Lombardi poplars and the French doors leading to the kitchen/dining room.

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An oblique view.

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A closer look exposing the cement, elevated planters and the Grand Confort Chairs by Le Corbusier.

Grand Confort Chair by Le Corbusier (1929).

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This image displays the side of the house with the sanded, stained and clear coated wood strips reflecting the living area extension. The casement window at the roof line is repeated inside.

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Image looking back toward the raised planters and boulder garden.

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Direct view of the side with an entrance on the right.

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Back around to the “front” entrances with a better look at the Rietveld “de Stijl” chairs.

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Coming in through one of the “front” entrances and seeing the living area. The door is to the bathroom. Notice the window above the door.

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A less elevated look at the living area with the door to the bathroom ahead.

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The television console with the door to the bedroom to the right, the door to the bathroom on the left and the dining area straight ahead.

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The bedroom with the two long windows.

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The bedroom with desk and wardrobe.

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Out of the bedroom and looking at the kitchen/dining area. Notice the windows to the bedroom and to the bathroom.

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The kitchen and dining area with the French doors to the veranda on the left.

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The dining area and French doors to the veranda.

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The bathroom covered on the left with the same material on the exterior of the house.

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The bathroom with the door to the living area on the right.

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The bathroom windows.

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Looking back toward the entrances.

This small house is only around 360 sq. ft. and appears much larger due to the ceiling height at 12 ft. The long windows not only let in considerable light, but  also produce a feeling of greater space. One other advantage of tall walls is the ability to hang large artwork which produces a feeling of spaciousness as well.

Charlie’s Tiny House Floor Plan

HBosler

http://www.moderntinyhouse.org

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Patricia’s Tiny House

One of my keen interests in design or architecture is the forms of the mid-century. Modern design lends itself to so many variations that an inexhaustible supply of ideas becomes available. Furthermore, modern design is not only in the realm of commercial and typical residential building, but also in terms of the tiny house movement. In an effort to spur creativity in this realm, I have developed the notion of creating some architectural motifs and patterns whose usefulness brings on new concepts.

These architectural details fall into the American version of modernism with sculpted cement blocks and forms, zigzag roofs and other sorts of applied decorations. Organic architecture will also be considered in formulating designs.

"Lincoln Center by Matthew Bisanz" by Matthew G. Bisanz
“Lincoln Center by Matthew Bisanz” by Matthew G. Bisanz

Arizona State University Library in Tempe in the 1960s
Arizona State University Library in Tempe in the 1960s

Gammage Auditorium in Tempe, Arizona, Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright 1962-64
Gammage Auditorium in Tempe, Arizona, Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright 1962-64

 

The form I developed for Patricia’s Tiny House is a sculpted modern arch. The arches are mainly applied decoration, except the yellow arches support the roof over the patio and entrance to the house. Also included and in contrast to the arches are rectangular forms on the roof with glass panels on either end. These mimic the frequent zigzag pattern in overhangs, roofs and porches  seen in many American mid-century modern buildings, especially small, commercial structures or on schools and hospitals.

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Front of Patricia’s Tiny House.

The entrance is to the right, off the patio. Looking through the two large glass panels framed by arches, the living area and kitchen are on the right, while we see a study area in the middle. The bedroom and bathroom are covered by the filled in arch on the left.

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View of front from a slight angle.

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Another view of the front at a higher sight line.

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At this angle we are able to see the patio and entrance.

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Showing the patio and entrance head on.

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At an angle that, along with the patio, shows the back of building.

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The back of the building where we see the multiple arches framing the half-circle, clerestory windows. The rounded forms which push upward are resolved by the triangular shapes on the roof.

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A more graphic, drawn image of the arches that surround the tiny house.

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The Arches.

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The side of the house opposite the patio.

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Coming back around to the front.

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A closer view of the front.

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Peeking through one of the large windows and looking at the living area with the kitchen in the distance.

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The kitchen area with large frig, washer/dryer, cook top, and convection oven.

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Looking at the living area from the kitchen with the entrance on the left.

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The living area, as well as a space for study.

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From the kitchen area, we look into the study and bedroom area. The door on the right is to the bathroom.

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Inside the bathroom, showing the vanity and toilet.

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Toilet, shower in the bathroom. Behind is the door to the rest of the tiny house.

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Simple floor plan of the tiny house showing the basic dimensions. Patricia’s Tiny House is 387 interior sq. ft.

As one can see, the introduction of a couple of architectural elements can give a basis for the overall design, in this case, arches and triangular forms. I find the arches extremely pleasing and thought-provoking, which will start many variations for future proposals. Hopefully, since so many things spring to mind, that the use of various mid-century modern motifs and details won’t begin to bore the reader. However, I have already thought of several buildings using the inspiration of the major features of Patricia’s Tiny House.

Until then…

 

HBosler

 

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