Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Using Available Home Space

Back when I was still working at Microsoft, I got an opportunity to work on a CD-ROM project (Remember, children, back before the web could do things like stream multimedia content, there was this brief period in history where people got their content on CD-ROMS! thus ends your history lesson for the day).

This project happened to be on Frank Lloyd Wright (I can't believe it, but I actually found the link to several used copies on!), and included a biography and photos and text on most of his structures, as well as cutting-edge (for the day) three-dimensional walkthroughs of some of his most famous houses, like the Ennis House , which by the way has appeared in the culturally iconic Karate Kid movies (number III, I believe) as well as in Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

While Frank Lloyd Wright didn't design homes in the time of "Green Building" and "Sustainable Development", which are hot topics now in the architectural world, he did often make very good use of small spaces and natural heating and cooling, especially in his series of Usonian Houses , which were made to be modular, partially constructed by the owner themselves, and employed natural cooling (no air conditioning) and radiant floor heating under a tinted-concrete slab (something newer green homes are emulating). If you want to take a look at the way he used very small spaces with efficient built-in furniture and unique features like pull-out kitchen countertops (much like the roll-out breadboards), the book Wright-Sized Houses has some beautiful photos and inspirational ideas to incorporate.

During the time that I worked on this project, we got the opportunity to take a tour of the Brandes house in Sammamish, Washington. and were able to see first-hand some of the innovative ways that Wright used small spaces and inexpensive construction as well as his signature connection to the environment in which the house was situated. That style of home was brought to mind when I saw the following video. This young architect has taken the notion of using small spaces and built-in functionality to an incredible extreme, and we could all learn something from his ability to think outside the box when it comes to space and design!

Okay, and since I'm a Lego Geek, I can't pass up on the opportunity to drool over these sets. Who can resist the Guggenheim and Falling Water in LEGO!!!

1 comment:

KJ's Restart Button said...

Down the road from me is the Gordon House by Wright. It is still unique. I wish to see more of his homes in person.