Saturday, January 10, 2009

I know I'm supposed to love this, but...

I just can't. As a (wannabe) designer, I realize that this is a very important house, revolutionary idea, etc., but I feel sad instead. This is from the NY Times article, Surrendering to the Landscape and is built by architect Tom Kundig and his wife (also a designer) in southern Idaho. Take a moment to look at that view; isn't it incredible? Then you look down at that cement and glass BOX of a dwelling and you say, OH COME ON. Take a look at the rest of the house:

I'll admit that if I were there where she is standing I'd be just dying over that view, but what if you were on that mountain behind her? She's blocking the view!!

Big block cement wall.

This is their garden. Beautiful rose garden with thick cement walls on either side. What's the point?

I love the idea of the windows on either side of the fireplace. That's amazing.

View of the modular living room.

AMAZING view of the mountains while they make me dinner. This is the kitchen, btw.

Lots of books. For some reason though, that fabric on the chairs doesn't really say contemporary/ modern home in the desert.

This isn't part of the article but it's a picture of an uninterrupted beautiful landscape in the same area as the home above.

I do love some aspects of this home, however it just doesn't feel right to me to place that little block in the middle of something so majestic and beautiful in nature. Is there a way that we can have a neat looking house in the middle of a gorgeous landscape without making it look like that? I get it; it's the juxtaposition of the two forms, but I think it's too obvious. I'm over it. Also, doesn't it seem strange that people are railing about destroying our environment, animal's natural habitats etc, yet we're supposed to be in awe of this home? Up by my parents' home, there is a house that is partially underground. It's SO cool looking and there's just a simple silo coming up from the ground (the rest of the house is built into the side of the hill--and it doesn't destroy the view of the Berkshires. Thoughts? Please don't yell at me.

Alicia B.


dwelling and design said...

I could not agree more. The huge windows are a fabulous idea, but why on earth would you put something that has such an industrial feeling in such a natural environment. Not all modern design has to be so minimalist and stark, I wish they had gone with a more organic and warm environment.

Anonymous said...

You're so gutsy to criticize the Idaho house, and you're dead right.

Anonymous said...

Maybe the architect was intimidated by the landscape and decided to go 'humble' instead. Charles Moore used to say houses either 'claimed' or 'merged with' their landscapes. This one confronts, defers, and denies. I can't see the point in arguing with Nature.

Anonymous said...

The view is amazing! But that's all I can say about the house. By the way, the reason there are block walls around the rose garden is so the roses won't die over the winter in that stark climate. Other then that, it's awful. JMHO.

Robin said...

I agree, the best view of this house is from the inside out. The only warmth here comes from the sunshine and the wood floors (and the books). There is no personality, no color, it is way too minimalist. In the article it said she built this house as a post-divorce project and I think that it is why it seems such a lonely place. And can you imagine what a white elephant this will be if she ever tries to sell it? Yikes!

Alicia B. Designs said...

Robin--interesting point about this being post divorce! Clearly her personal life reflects in the style of the house. Cold, closed off, isolated etc. Good for her though for doing something for herself in a divorce. I'll give her that much.

Anonymous said...

I think everyone has already said it, but I personally don't care for homes that look "deposited" onto the landscape. It's so bleak and harsh. And what's worse than unadorned cinderblock? The view is sublime, but it feels like a gilded prison.


I love so many of the images you select for your blog that I am surprised you have such antipathy for the home. I live in Atlanta where most people have an almost innate repugnance for industrial, contemporary spaces I champion those spaces by saying, "yes, but imagine what it would feel like to be in that home." I think you would agree that it would be simply awesome b/c nothing about the house destracts you from the majestic environment. As far as the house blending with the landscape-who cares! There's no one else out there to see the house, LOL. But I do agree completely about the fabric on the dining chairs :-)