ÐÏࡱá First attempt: Family house sequence (June/July 01) A family house is a house for more than one person. Daily life has organization and rituals. It has to be possible for people to get away from each other, aa well as be together. Different needs and desires unfolding at the same time under the same roof. The sequence is assuming a couple with young children, by and large with traditional attitudes, but influenced by the situation today. Steps 1, 2, 3 - to take possession of the site, determine the overall sq. footage, and placing and shaping the volume of the house to create “positive space”. (Within the scale of landscape and neighborhood, and within the scale of the individual parcel.) (I MUST see the “separate sequence”…???) In other words one knows the scope and configuration of the house, and one knows the special places and features of the site. But from here on in most of the work is inspired by who you are, how you live, and your spatial imagination. I believe that the next several steps has to develop this more introsepctive aspect of the project. Possible steps 4 - 7, family group brain-storming sessions, on the basis of following questions 4 what is most important room in house 5 where (and what) is your private space 6 do you entertain extensively at home (who, how, where) 7 where (how) do you relax, alone and as a family The idea is to simulate the introductory discussions between client and architect. But then what? As step 8: Locate the various rooms/ places in best possible spots in the configured volume on the site? But I don’t really like this… Step 4 Decide what is the most important room in the house (and locate this room in the body of the building) This is a very difficult task. I want to pick up on discussion of Chris’s living room. It is clearly the biggest and most important room in the house, yet it hardly functioned as a common living space for the family. It was/is a big beautiful room in the middle of the house, without a clear practical use, and thus served as a calm place for any single person - or group persons - to withdraw to, a priviledged breathing space for the family. This in addition to being a “festival” room, parties, etc. Are we advocating a “monumental” room, over and beyond the necessary functional space within a household? Fireplace, beautiful views, carefully detailed in every aspect, big. If this is so, what kind of “help” is this step to provide? It would be diffucult for a lay person to envision a big, beautiful room without function, without going neo-classical, which I don’t think is appropriate. Basic characteristic: “The void” in some fashion, but how to describe as operation…Min. size, min. height, …. Location in body of house: In the center, tangent to paths, but not traversed. Views and quality of light important, but perhaps direct access to outside (terrace, patio) is NOT important (?). I.e. this is different than “main space” in “small house”. This is essentially a formal room, and NOT the place to watch TV. Open question: Should it include a formal dining table…? I believe in a lot of cases, people would feel that the “most important” room in the house would be the place for the family to be together, the multitude of daily tasks, most likely closely connected to the kitchen, and perhaps also the outdoors. Most likely a big room with sub-areas, a loft like space of some kind. So this kind of space is definitely approaching the “main space” in the “small house”, except that the kitchen/ food preparing stuff should be much more extensive. Summary question for step 4: Two kinds of common space for family - monumental and informal - conceivably in the form of 2 big rooms, with their respective add-ons and connections ???? The informal - center of activity - space in the family could (should?) instead (or in addition to) have the form of a string of rooms/ places. A “thread of space” through the house. Next. Step 5 Locate the thread of common space We discussed that a string of smaller rooms could function as a actual common space, equally well, or perhaps better than a big room defined for this purpose. Example Chris’ house - kitchen, stair, master bedroom, library. Also Linden used to have a long continuous line of space - living room, hallway, dining room, garden. Perhaps we are saying that the life of a family NEED to have such a thread of space in some fashion. For activity, movement, variety, etc. That “works” in itself and with respect to other aspects of the house. In which case, it is a “step”, and which step. Is it located as a tentacled “entity” early? Or is it a question of “making something out of” necessary connections between rooms and places, once they are “located” within the house volume? - Probably the latter is more fun..? Un-planned, sub-consious… In which case the “step” would be more like: When you have located the main rooms in the volume of the house, look at the possible connections between them. Look at the web of connections, and define the special path that will be the core of the family common space - hallway, stairs and the connectiveness of rooms. The movement of space, sequences of rooms and places, is a major aspect of the quality of the house. Allow the thread to make loops, don’t be afraid to put in a second stair…. Another version step 5: “Thread” as tentacled entity Locate the spaces that create the most traffic (especially by the children) and think of these as a “thread” of common space: For example kitchen - family dining table - outdoor space/ garden - TV room - childrens playroom. Only one of these spaces needs to be reasonably big; f.ex. “farmhouse kitchen” (200 sq.ft ?). The “thread” should have a spatial quality. On Linden all the rooms were alongside windows to the garden. On Shasta the thread is more like a laborynth - the stairs and the variety of rooms. Illustrations: Get plans of both house Step 6 Locate the rooms adjacent to the thread of common space - I am thinking aminly of office/ computer spaces for the couple. Rooms that are near the communal activity for contact, but that can be closed off if necessary. “Half-hidden work space”. Also children’s private space could have this kind of relationship. Step 7 Locate rooms that are separate - Candidates: Studio work spaces, work that require absence of children for long periods of time. Painting, music… It may be appropriate for the master bedroom suite to have privacy. Depending on childrens age, I suppose. When the children are small, the bedroom may be at the center of the common “thread”…? (I don’t feel great about this. Only an elaboration of the 2 ideas from our discussion….) MISC Important question for working parents: Nanny quarters. Minimum - room with own bath room and separate entraNCE Bathrooms in general - Body culture expressed in the number of bathrooms 3 ½ minimum? (Couple (1), children (1), nanny or guest room (1), visitor’s (1/2) Where is any of this with respect to “intimacy gradients” on two floors, and the several “complexes” (Chris’ outline). Ingrid’s “levels of scale”. Etc. First floor gradient: Family kitchen commons vs. formal room (monumental) - what is the relationship to main entrance? Or are there two entrances? Common “thread” originate at “main entrance”? - Office space near entrance, studio space removed from entrance? ……I am leaving this for now. NEW proposition/ step Family houses (that are beyond a certain size) should have at least 2 stairs. (Proposal related to common space as threads/ spacial strings or similar) We know this adds to the cost of the house, but the benefit to the life of a household is tremendous. The second stair was earlier tied to the servant/family separation. Here we are reintroducing this pattern because of the spatial richness and variety it allows in the interior volume of the house. Separations and combinations. Childrens play and movement. As well as the possibility of a hierachy of traffic and circulation that related to different modalities of the household. The discussion here should start with the concept of intimacy gradient, 2 floors, and one connecting stair. Then show the spatial loops of older houses with servant stair, may be Loos’ house in Pars, and various new examples. (Sometimes the second stair is outside…) Another NEW proposition Big houses that are designed as over-blown small houses are hopeless. This as a general characteristic of new big houses. The wrong economies, etc. We tentatively propose that one has a look at older big houses, let’s say from before 1920, because they typically had some formal characteristics that we want to retrieve. Completely apart from their original functional origin. The following aspects: The second stair, the back entrance, the attic, the basement, the odds and ends of back rooms and second corridors….? All of this over and beyond the idea of a “monumental room”? Why? I suppose it connects to the idea of a “generic structure”, the house as a more complete psychological reflection, the darker sides, the undefined spaces, etc. etc. Well??? Another NEW proposition The interior “landscape” of a big house (A bit related to the “thread”, and distinctly to “second stair” I have thought about this one for a long time in a variety of context. Distinctly one such context is the CES house in the Berkeley hills (the U…house?). It is landscape-like inside with the long passages along contours, with clusters of rooms in various locations. There is no second stair there, as far as I know, but the sloping terrain outside may serve to make loops. Another well??? christopher alexander  UZ] ) —úHÁ°¦†vyÁ& & $