CONNECTING BUILDINGS TO THEIR SITES
Many of our projects involve enhancing the interconnection between buildings and their sites. Over the last 100 years, advances in heating and glazing have enabled modern buildings in cold climates to open up to the surrounding landscape. A basic impulse of modern living has become a bright, airy structure as open as privacy will allow.
In our projects this merging has been pursued several ways. In the first, an interior space of the building extends out into the landscape as a continuous experience with inside and out separated by a thin film of glass. This approach is most common in new buildings where the forms of the interior rooms and the exterior skin are both more maleable.
Another way that buildings are merged to the site are by providing a series of spaces that transition from inside to outside gradually, through a series of related spaces, obscuring the exact point where inside becomes outside. An inner room flows to a glazed room that transitions to a screened one, then to a covered porch to an overhanging eave to a raised terrace that steps down to the site beyond. This approach is often used when altering an existing structure.
Another design device that helps the merger is too extend the same materials from the inside out and the outside in.
Although this is a primary aim of many new buildings we have worked on, it is perhaps shown most dramatically when old buildings are renovated to reorient to their sites to accommodate more contemporary ways of living. Projects have included the renovation of, or a new addition to, the interior spaces of an existing structure; a new porch, a new fronting pergola, a series of terraces and landscape features that extend living spaces out across the landscape until they dissolve into the surrounding site.
ZEN MOUNTAIN MONASTERY
At the Zen Mountain Monastery the two wings of the Sangha House are angled to each other defining a central gallery that extends out onto a widening terrace then to a meadow beyond.
BROWN UNIVERSITY CAC
At Brown University’s Creative Arts Building the building is sheared with a amphitheater descending down into an auditorium on the lower level of the building on one side and ascending up to the building entry and an art gallery on the other side.
AVALON BOWERY PLACE
At Avalon Bowery Place the apartment building lobby extends out into a fore court on the entry side and into a small resident’s courtyard on the back side.