Richard Meier's Douglas House

Topics: Architecture, Richard Meier, Harbor Springs, Michigan Pages: 6 (2056 words) Published: November 25, 2012
1- Where?
This Project, just as many other Richard Meier projects, is built within a heavily contrasting context of nature, hovering over the shores of lake Michigan. The white reinforced concrete and glass are easily distinguishable from it’s exuberant background heavy in shades of green which invokes a sense of being deep within a forest, away from all man made things, making the project all the more contrasting and also creating a sense of privacy for the entire property which is seldom achieved through other methods. This natural environment plays a key role to the house, as it provides astounding views of lake Michigan and the vegetation surrounding it from the more public sectors making up the house.

Concerning the atmosphere of the house it is of great interest the clear separation of public and private spaces in the house. The living room receives a great amount of sunlight creating a very contemplative atmosphere, which is the result of the conscious arrangement of furniture and other elements in the direction of the natural beauties surrounding the house.

As previously mentioned, the house is built within a context of nature and relies heavily on the contrast it’s white reinforced concrete walls will provide against the house’s natural background with changing colors around the season. It is built with the intention to be as close to it’s natural environment as possible, with as few trees as possible removed to make way for the construction of the house, it is lodged overlooking lake Michigan. So steep is the fall of the land from the road down to the water that the house appears to have been notched into the site (Meier & Partners. Online.). The house has a very simple intention in respect to type, to be a comfortable place to live, separating successfully the public and private areas of the house, exposing the living room and other public spaces to astonishing natural views we can appreciate from the inside the house thanks to the prominent glass panels facing them, while the more quiet and private sector of the house is hidden from this view and closer to the street on the backside of the building, bringing together under the same roof the two different kinds of spaces needed for a house to be truly complete. 2- When?

The Douglas House is the culminating work of the first period of Meier, where all the ideas developed in the experiments in single-family homes resulted in a more balanced and imaginative structure. Built in the 1970's, it became a symbol of that period of rationalism. It is an architectural piece very closely associated with the period of time it was created, a true symbol of it’s time. Meier was able to capture the powerful tendencies of the time with his personal touch and a revolutionarily modern angle from which we can very still learn very much today.

The memory the house emerges is one of the modernist movement in the seventies, it brings thoughts of the time when modernism was beginning and being experimented with evoked by the house’s purity and whiteness, common in Richard Meier’s architecture

3- How?
In this house, Meier proposes formal, space-rich compositions. He organized the internal space such that the small, tight main entrance opens into a large space encased in glass. This style allowed him to express various themes: the contrast between light and shadow, the change in spatial scale, and access via ramps, bridges and stairs.

A skylight running nearly the full length of the roof deck focuses sunlight into the living room reinforcing the separation between the public and private sectors of the house (Meier & Partners. Online.). The exposure to sunlight the public section of the house has helps differentiate and bring a different mood to the separate spaces of the house, light is a definining element in this project which allows for the view and the public area to be really shine and stand apart from the opposite section of the house....

Bibliography: Meier, Richard /preface by Richard Meier ; essays by Paul Goldberger and Joseph Giovannini ; afterword by Joseph Rykwert.. Richard Meier : Houses and Apartments.
New York, NY: Rizzoli International Publications., 2007
Richard Meier architect : 1992-1999 / Richard Meier / essays by Kenneth Frampton, New York: Rizzoli, 1999
Douglas house, Harbor Springs, Michigan, design: 1971; completion: 1973; architects: Richard Meier and Associates
[ 4 ]. Context. The task of the architectural project is to reveal, through the transformation of form, the essence of the surrounding context. V. Gregott, 1982 introducing to French edition of Gregotti 1966, 12 (Forty, 132)
[ 5 ]
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