J Shaped Glass House ι Maryland ι The
J-shaped configuration of the plan sets up a dual vista across the
interior and exterior space. . . .
Michael Bell ¦ Design
J Shaped Glass House ι Maryland ι The J-shaped configuration of the plan sets up a dual vista across the interior and exterior space. . . .
The J-shaped configuration of the plan sets up a dual vista across the interior and exterior space. The idea is modest in its application but is derived from Michael Heizer’s Double Negative and Robert Smithson’s Spiral Jetty. The subject is metaphorically displaced by the twin towers—the bath and the kitchen—and placed outside of space to witness their exchange. This limited volume offers the clients a liberating expansiveness. The project evolved toward a minimalism that alluded to more than immediately obvious.
Glass House: The freestanding studio or guesthouse was intended to be a time-out zone, a refuge for a family that owns and operates three businesses and has two young children. The courtyard house, also in this folio, was an earlier proposal.
Surface as Structure: The frame is integral to the surface of the building. Two columns fall inside the space, almost as holes in the continuity of the interior volume. The bathroom and kitchen cores are recessed volumes similarly removed from space. A skin surface may, ambiguously, belong to the edge of mass or the edge of space; if it belongs to space, then the building becomes a void and the other edge of space comes into question.
Construction: Four-inch-square steel sections are attached flush with the top outer edge of the foundation slab and the lower outer edge of the roof slab. The columns are set on a fourteen-foot bay. The windows are framed in a steel flange and project past the surface of the columns. The foundation slab is paved with roman brick; in the bath and kitchen, a reveal is cut in the concrete floor. The towers were designed to be fabricated in brick.
Structure: The frame of the building is attached to the outer edge of the floor plate. The complete building structure and closure occurs at the outermost edge. From inside, the subject reaches for the envelope of closure as if it were the outside surface of space rather than the inside surface of volume.