Monday, April 22, 2013

Architects House Themselves

The current World-Architects eMagazine has a feature I assembled on houses that architects have designed for themselves, culled from the many profiles featured on the site. Architects House Themselves highlights nine projects—3 from Europe, 3 from the Americas, and 3 from Asia/Oceania—and their varied responses to unique architect-as-client scenarios.

[Tower House, GLUCK+. Photo: Paul Warchol]

The introduction for Architects House Themselves:
There exists a long tradition of architects designing houses for themselves, many of them becoming historically notable works of architecture because of experimentation, a mix of living and working spaces, and an obviously unique architect-client relationship. Think of Frank Lloyd Wright's Home and Studio in Oak Park and his Taliesin estates in Wisconsin and Arizona; Alvar Aalto's house in Helsinki; Walter Gropius's house ten miles from Harvard; the Charles and Ray Eames House in California; Luis Barragán's House and Studio outside Mexico City; Frank Gehry's exploded bungalow in Santa Monica. The list of architects and houses goes on, with pre-20th-century examples found in Thomas Jefferson's plantation home at Monticello and Sir John Soane's house-museum in London, to name just two.

Even as architects continue to design houses for themselves and their families, very little attention is given to the unique circumstances these projects represent. How do architects design for themselves? What experiments do they incorporate that can't be done with traditional clients? What are the stories behind the design and realization of an architect's own house? As a means of answering these and other questions, this "Insight" collects some houses of architects with profiles on World-Architects. Since this architect-client situation isn't geographically unique, we've assembled one house from many of our national platforms, grouped by larger geographical area—Europe, Americas, Asia/Oceania. These houses illustrate that the tradition of "architects housing themselves" is still alive, producing some of tomorrow's historically notable works of architecture.