The second house in Arts & Architecture magazine’s Case Study Houses program shows the hallmarks of the series: an emphasis on light-soaked living areas, indoor-outdoor living, strong horizontal lines dominated by a flat roof, and so on. It is distinguished, though, by particularly creative details linking the indoor and outdoor areas, and by a strong awareness of function.
At first glance the house is deceptively straightforward: a row of square rooms all fronted with floor-to-ceiling glass (with some panels divided into louvered windows), along with that familiar flat roof, give it a blocky appearance. But the architects included plenty of elements to offset those severe lines—starting with the most dramatic feature, a waving wall extending right from the border of the property to the house, providing privacy for the southern terrace and garden.
This curving wall continues from the carport directly into the entrance hall. Not only that, but the flower bed which it shelters on the garden side extends to indoor planting. Similarly, on the opposite side of the living area, the line of the hearth extends right through the window wall to the outdoor terrace. (Those window walls ensure of course that these details cannot be missed—as is apparent when walking through Archilogic’s 3D model.) Continuity of the color scheme (originally dark flooring and light ceilings, both inside and out) also furthered the aim of minimizing the separation between indoor and outdoor areas.
Another striking detail is the wedge shape used for cabinets and other features throughout the house. The living room has two of these cases—one continuous with the angled hearth, one dividing the entrance hall from the dining area—and they are echoed in the bathrooms, ensuring that even these mundane areas feel far from prosaic. Outdoors, too, the tapering terraces prevent any sense of rigidity.
The house was designed for a family of four with a fondness for entertaining, and the practicalities were not overlooked. Both the entrance case and the pass-through kitchen countertop provide bar storage, while terraces on both north and south offer welcoming spaces in all weather (both a swimming pool and badminton court were also planned). Built-in cupboards in the bedrooms ensured ample storage, not to mention the extensive storage possibilities in the service yard, where a room with deep freeze allowed for quick offloading from the car.
Experiencing this house in 3D really brings home the effectiveness of the indoor-outdoor design—the full-length windows on both sides of the house create a sense of vast space and openness, with the continuous lines of the serpentine wall and the hearth pulling the outside in. Although intended to maximize space, the concept relies on a fairly high square footage, both indoors (since furniture must be arranged away from the outside walls) and out (given the loss of privacy). But given a certain minimum of space, all that glass and light serves to double it.