Honor Award 2017
Marlon Blackwell Architects
Marlon Blackwell, FAIA
Meryati Johari Blackwell, Assoc. AIA, NCIDQ, ASID, LEED AP BD+D
Bradford Payne, Assoc. AIA
The Graphic House is a single-family home for a middle income family of four that occupies a corner lot within a typical suburban neighborhood. The “L” configuration keeps the house’s program on a single level, providing an accessible home for the family and simplifying the building’s organization. The plan arrangement frames the landscape behind the house and responds to both residential scales of the primary and secondary neighborhood streets. The second story loft creates a strong figure, a bold graphic, along the primary street edge, giving prominence to the house while respecting the scale of the neighboring homes.
The exterior carapace cladding is a distinctive rain screen system of scarfed end cedar siding, with a 1/4” horizontal gap between the boards. The cedar is stained charcoal black, bringing emphasis to the figure that seemingly floats above the concrete brick base of the house. The narrow height of the bricks (4” nominal height) and the raked horizontal joints complement the linearity of the house.
The floor plan has an open organization with a large painted, poplar-lined fireplace and storage piece separating the public from the private spaces. A skylight is cut directly above the finish face of the fireplace to articulate the undulation and movement of light on the textured surface throughout the day. The living room, kitchen, and dining room are defined by the birch veneered casework with intentionally exposed end-grain.
A studio space, with a second level loft, is situated behind the service walls of the kitchen and dining area. The studio provides theowner, a graphic designer, home office space as well as opportunity for pursuing personal work in design and other mediums. Each bedroom has a unique steel box window to provide space for reading, sitting, and view. The master bedroom opens up to an exterior bamboo terrace, flooding the room with natural light, while still providing privacy from its neighbors.
The graphic character of the landscape design complements the figural lines of the house. Like the composition of the house, the landscape is clearly delineated as it marks the entry sequence into the house and patio space behind the building, which serves as an extension of the living and dining rooms.