1989 INNOVATIONS IN HOUSING COMPETITION – A SINGLE FAMILY RESIDENCE

ImageThis project is a shingle style house that was submitted to the 1989 Innovations in Housing Competition sponsored by APA wood products.  It won a Certificate of Merit Award.  The Grand Award winner of the competition that year was Ken Dahlin, Architectural Designer of Racine, Wisconsin.  Other Certificate of Merit Awards were John P. Cutsumpas, Architectural Designer of Mamaroneck, New York and Jeffery Charles Raasch, Architectural Designer of San Francisco.  I was a student at the time and produced the presentation drawings between semesters.

I’ve posted the jury comments below.

Keep in mind that when this project was drawn, the post modern movement was waning and the deconstructivists and neo-modernists movements were gaining in popularity.  Genuine traditional styled projects were unusual.

The general comment from the jury: 

The quality of the submissions remains divided between the very high and the not-quite-so-high, as might be expected.  There is an emphasis on historically derived directions, as is evident in at least two of the winning entries.  The Grand Award winner falls within that classification and reflects a general embracing by the public of the comforts associated with homes of times gone by. 

While this is by no means the only kind of thinking the jury was looking for, it represents an approach that, it is hoped, will lead the public towards more design quality than it has typically been offered in many marketplaces.  At the same time, the jury recognizes that innovations can take many forms, and future entrants need not think that historic references are a prerequisite for winning this competition. 

The jury comments for my entry: 

This represents a very well thought-out, very thorough, fairly standard floor plan and cottage-type house.  The architecture itself is not particularly innovative, but what it does, it does extremely well.  It seems to be a very comfortable sort of house – a house that could fit in a lot of different neighborhoods, at least in the Northeast.  The quality of the execution is extremely high; however, the level of innovation is not particularly high. 

It is innovative in the sense that the spirit of the original that it springs from is still here, and yet it somehow merges with the way we live today, making it seem as if the two eras really are, in a sense, one – that they belong to each other.  That’s a pretty neat thing to accomplish. 

It has all of the things that a modern house should have, but the fact is, the designer was very, very thorough in interpretation and execution of what could be termed a shingle-style house.  It might seem a little too regional to the Northeast, but it really could be built in a lot of places, though probably not anywhere in the South.  Nevertheless, it’s an extremely well-handled attempt at this kind of thing, with nice spaces for dining.  The plan seems fairly well thought out. 

I think that the use of shakes on the exterior is very, very  important.  I think the artistry is marvelous.  The presentation is beautiful – absolutely beautiful. 

It is our feeling that the designer who did this very thoroughly thought out every aspect and carried it through the presentation, which is something we didn’t see a lot of.  It’s quite rare even to see that much care taken in a contest entry. 

(Note:  The program sponsors require that the Grand Award winning design use APA Rated Siding on the exterior.) 

The last comment is interesting.  I entered the previous year and did not win.  When the winners were announced, a brochure featuring the winning entries was distributed to all the other competitors, and  I noticed that the winning entry had what appeared to be wood shingles or shakes.  I remember thinking, “Hey wait! I didn’t know we could use wood shingles on the exterior!”  So this entry was deliberately done in a shingle style because plywood siding lends itself more to modernist styles than traditional styles.  I suppose vertical battens can be applied to create a carpenter gothic style, but there isn’t much else that can be achieved with plywood siding as an exterior material.  I would have proposed using plywood siding in other less significant areas.  For example, T-1-11 grooved siding could have been used at the eaves above the exposed rafters to simulate board sheathing, or the T-1-11 grooved siding could have been used for interior wainscots to simulate vertical board wainscots.    

The drawings were bound in a book rather than mounted on boards, therefore the cover with the exterior perspective was designed to catch the eye.  The drawing depicts the house framed by an archway.  Upon further examination, the archway is split in two with the left side depicting the detailing of the front porch columns and stone pedestals, and the right side depicting the rear secon floor balcony columns with the wood shake clad skirt panel.  The floor plan of the house is depicted as if it were a set of drawings draped across the porch floor or skirt panel.

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One thought on “1989 INNOVATIONS IN HOUSING COMPETITION – A SINGLE FAMILY RESIDENCE

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