Form Follows Thought

No offense, Mies, but in my opinion 'Form Follows Function' doesn't tell the full story. It's a powerful phrase, and it summed up the intent of design in the machine age, but it implies linearity in the design process.  Mies' buildings are stunning works of art, and I would argue they were driven by more than function. After all, architecture is more interesting than pure engineering, in which form only follows function. I would argue that in architecture Form Follows Function and Function Follows Form, and it goes on and on like that in a somewhat circular fashion until the design problem is solved. Form and Function inform and reinforce each other. Although function certainly comes before form, recognizing the power of form and treating it as an equally important participant, and not merely as the result of function, can help to propel function itself to an entirely new level. That's how inventions come about, for example.

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Brookland House Before/After

Post by Catarina Ferreira, AIA

Last summer we completed the renovation of our Brookland House project, with J.Allen Smith Design/Build as the General Contractor. It was a complex project. The age of the house and the fact that it was balloon framed presented some challenges, but all is well that ends well.

We recently stopped by for a pre-shoot. A more comprehensive professional photo shoot will be done in the Spring once the landscaping phase is completed.

Here are some before/after shots illustrating the transformation that the house underwent

 
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At the front of the house, windows, front door and siding were modified/replaced, the front porch was updated with cedar trim and wider steps.

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At the rear of the house a new kitchen/family room and master suite were added, to replace a 1950's addition. The footprint of the house did not change, however, which simplified the permitting process.

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A two foot wide unsafe stair was replaced with a centrally located stair that became the organizing element of the new house.  An existing long front hall and compartmentalized spaces were transformed to an open plan through the removal of several load-bearing walls which we replaced with new flush beams.

A retro kitchen was replaced with an efficient new kitchen opening onto the family room and new exterior deck (note the pantry under the stair landing).

See more photos of the finished house, renderings and construction photos HERE!

 

CLEARING THE WAY, ONE PIECE AT A TIME

post by Catarina Ferreira, AIA

Our Porter House project, a ground up new construction contemporary house in Washington DC's Cleveland Park neighborhood, is about to go into construction. The DC Historic Preservation Office approved the razing of the existing 1950's house and the proposed design to replace it last year, the raze and construction permits have been issued, and the deconstruction work has begun. The existing house is being stripped down piece by piece by the non-profit charity organization Second Chance, http://www.secondchanceinc.org/, and many of the materials are being recycled.

Existing house being deconstructed

Existing house being deconstructed

Stay tuned for more images as the work progresses. For more images of the proposed design go to http://www.architextual.com/on-the-boards#/porterhouse/