I get this every so often: “Brennan, I think you just repost everything you find that’s clad in wood paneling. That’s hardly critical of you, and I don’t like your bias.” to which I’d reply “Hardly. There’s a lot of absolute rubbish architecture out there, putting perfect colours over terribly geometry is just lipstick on a pig.”
There’s a fine line that gets walked here when I write about these things, but I will risk seeming elitist when I say: architecture is hardly about the colours. Interior design is worthless if the space itself is worthless. I suspect that’s why the pretentious architecture is white – the emphasis isn’t on the interior palette, but the volume itself.
This is the Casa Lara by architect Mihai M. Tudose for his own family.
I disagree with it.
The first photo at the top seems promising; rectangular prisms, white stucco, warm wood accents, neat lines of hedge. The front gate thing is sort of awkward, but alright, nothing is perfect.
Then the second photo, the bridge. Um, diamond plate? Interesting choice. Why do you have to escape through the window to get onto it? Why don’t the steps line up at neat angles? This whole photo says to me: “We saw this in a Dwell magazine and really liked the idea, so we made our own version of it.”
Third photo: living room. The couch, of course, is opposite how it should be but architecturally speaking, the windows are severely lacking. That whole wall should be glass. The roof should hover, as if not a roof at all but an awning. Theirs is firmly planted, adding an intense claustrophobia to the room(s) which should be the lightest, airiest, and most desirable. The ceiling ledge lighting is patchy.
The shelves are Texas thick and cluttered without care, and it appears they have two coffee tables in front of the already heavy sofa area. I don’t mean to use the word again, but it’s really the adjective that keeps coming to mind: claustrophobic. Everything. Annoyingly full. Stuffed without care or harmony. It’s not even that you have to get rid of it all (well, maybe that second coffee table) but just design it to be cleaner. Minimalism isn’t about living with less than you need, it’s about living in harmony with the stuff that you have.
I’m not sure if it’s just terrible photography (you’ll notice he took his own photos) but everything just seems dark and closed in. There’s no appeal, nothing inviting here. I like the lighting behind the shelves there, but the wall separating the interior cavity from that large wall of frosted glass is twice as thick as it needs to be, and probably useless altogether – given the frosting was acceptably private, I would say it should extend around the corner, lighting the whole area.
Overall, the house feels like they saw things they liked and then copied them, but didn’t bother to learn why they liked them in the beginning. Modernism isn’t just white with wood panels, nor is minimalism concrete with steel and glass. They appear often in the same sentence, but the defining of it; the passion of it is entirely unrelated to the materials. It’s a lifestyle and a philosophy. This house just copies the lipstick, but places it on the wrong animal.
Thanks for trying, and props to you for doing it. It has it’s moments and does have some nice features, but I just feel like the overall execution was less than ideal. Then again, meta-architectural philosophy: Are you happy living in your own house? If yes, than it’s a resounding success. Some armchair critic can’t say if you’ll be happy of not, and what are houses if not places to be as you intend them.