Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Review of new home architecture


Well, this coming Sunday is the day when we meet with my brother to go over the revised home concept. So, there'll be nothing to post on that front until at least next week. In the mean time, I came across an article the New York Times highlighting some home designs of "larger" families (read: 3 or 4 kids, which is a shockingly large family to the secular world). I thought I would provide some commentary on a couple of the designs just for fun. They're both modern designs, but as I've said before on this blog when it comes to one's home I think there are lots of design options, including a modern feel.

Here's the first home: "With Patience, a Family of 6 Builds Up"

It is a family of 6 that lives in London and actually obtained the airspace rights over a building right in the city, on top of which they built their home. Definitely a unique situation. Here's some pics...
I think that for where they built their home, the structure is pleasing to the eye in that it makes good use of proportion and continues the footprint of the building upward. The vegetation that they have on the outer parts of the structure makes a good impression in that it looks like the home has "grown" on top of the building, and it softens the industrial feel of the rest of the building (as well as departs from the beige of the building).

Also for me, if there's three things I love in a well-designed building, it's light, light, and more light. Their home has so much light, it totally alters the mood inside and makes it bright and pleasant. This is one reason I still find myself attached to the idea of floor-to-ceiling windows. The family does note that for a while they felt like they were living in a fishbowl, but they got used to it.

A couple other pics...
This is their media room with, as they call it, a "conversation pit." This is a little weird for me. Those pillows are going to be a nightmare to continually have to place in their spot. In our family, the pillows would have all of 5 minutes before they were strewn all over that room. And I think it's odd to say, "hey, I'd like to have a conversation, let's go sit in the 'conversation pit'". Interesting idea though.

I had to show this last one, of the exterior walkways that surround the home. The mom says, "The children run around the terraces like they're in a hamster cage." Now this is madness. Again, look at the first pic above. This house IS ON TOP OF A BUILDING! Hmmm, do I really want my kids running around a terrace, inches from falling stories to their certain death? I think not. I had a vision of Aidan climbing over that fence there and shuddered.

All in all, I give this design a thumbs up. I like it, and I think it would be fun to live there.

Here's the second home, which is actually an addition to an existing home: "A Crowded Family Enters the Space Age"

It's a family of five (why that's a "crowded family" I'll never know) that added on to their home with a very different style addition. Here's some pics...
Alright, so I like the fact that again this home has a lot of light, and is very transparent. And I like the cantilevered stairway. But that's probably about it. The design is not to my taste in most respects. I'd rather not live in a space ship. But the real deal is the minimalism (which I would note was not the case with the last home in the truest sense of the term). No family lives like this, and I don't know any that would want to. See the area in front of the TV downstairs? There's two simple chairs, that's it. Do they live like that on a daily basis? I guarantee you no. If you have to run around arranging things in your home to enhance the minimalism just for a photo shoot, and then afterward you go back to the way you really live, then it's a fake design. No one walks into a perpetually empty room and says, "Oh, I see two solitary chairs over there, how about I go sit in one, and you can sit in the other, and we can talk to each other?" Families want to be comfortable, first, and then they'd like to have enough seating to have a family conversation, and they'd like a room that didn't totally ruin the "design intent" if it got a little messy.

All in all, I give this second design a thumbs down.

That's my family home architecture review for the week!

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