Residential Design

VOL4 2019

A business-to-business magazine focused on the collaborative process and talented work of residential architects and custom homebuilders.

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Page 9 of 87

The Great Escape It's summer, so our thoughts turn to long, languid afternoons—perhaps with a martini in hand (make mine vodka, please). This time of year, magazine editors typically fill their publications with vacation houses, so even if readers can't physically escape city life, they can get away vicariously. The broad theme of this issue is "The View House." As I hunted for projects that exemplified the concept, I came to realize it's a core tenet of well-designed custom homes—not just vacation or weekend houses. A house strongly rooted in its place creates its own views, assimilating its surround- ings into the fabric of its design. The flow of outdoors and indoors is fluid, natural, inevitable. Great architecture melds solid and void—materials and the space around them are inseparable. Yes, there are still architects who seek only to create the beautiful object or an in- tellectual exercise without regard for context, but that solipsism is on the wane, thank goodness. We don't want to just gaze at jewel boxes anymore or contemplate their com- plexity. We want to engage with the buildings we occupy, and we want them to elevate our experience of being alive. The view house is about gazing outward and appreciating where we are, but it's also about looking inward and reflecting on who we are. We're more than 20 years into the evolution of regional modernism, and it only grows more inclusive and sensitive to the qualities of site, history, and local traditions. Rooting design in the specificity of place is the roadmap to making houses that belong where they are and are cherished for the long term. In this issue, you'll find four featured projects that harness key elements of their loca- tions and turn them into very different but seemingly inevitable results. Yes, they're also beautiful creations with intellectual firepower underpinning their design and execution. Although they respond directly to context, they don't replicate the buildings around them. They absorb precedent and then go on to set a fresh precedent for the buildings that come after them. Our cover story, by Brooks + Scarpa and Studio Dwell, is an urban infill project near Northwestern University in Chicago. It takes an iconic local material—Chicago standard brick—and weaves it into a dynamic, sculptural façade. It's original, beautiful, and highly specific to its location. Its form is extraordinary, of course, but it's in complete service to the functional requirements of the house. The façade acts as a screen, protecting the front courtyard and private interiors from street view without sacrificing the home's neighborli- ness. It's not a solid fortress wall, but a subtle veil that intrigues while it obscures. The best houses make us feel like we're on vacation every day. They refresh and re- store us, fortifying us to go back out into the big, messy world we all share. S. Claire Conroy Editor-in-Chief EDITOR'S NOTE

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