As we discussed in part III of anthology of houses series about intellectual avant-garde and formalistic tendencies in experimentation on program, in part IV we shall discuss the contextual response within modernist paradigm and regional imperatives that has shaped the house and program. This phase brought about some fine seminal work that are not only time-less but has remained inspirational source for generation of architects and architecture patrons.

We are going to discuss the houses that are embedded in the belief system that program of house and nature are unified whole and must resonate in its expression. The house and nature are given and modernity or modern means have to be dealt with. All the houses that are showed here are built in different timeline but all of them endorse the broader philosophy of built form and nature as singular code.

The work of Alvar Aalto remained in subservient to modernist paradigm but stayed away from clinical severity of modern language and brought about warmth, tactility and regional flavour in form and material. The villa is programmed in horizontal layer of informal spaces facing the courtyard and formal or private spaces are behind the front layer.  The upper floor follows similar pattern. Both the floor configuration brings about soft edge to hard edge in overall massing of the buildings. The architectural vocabulary heavily depended on contrast of soft material and hard material, echoing the mood of various spaces in relation with outside. The building brings about morphing of several material, resonating horizontality of nature around.  Hence sensing the continuity of transformative nature of outside to inside in harmonious way.

The casa Malaparte is another experiment with the context where definition of house and program gets much diluted due to prominence of the context. The house is like wedge that is carefully caved into the rocky terrain. The plan does not strive for any seamless vista from space inside, rather it controls but releases the view by creating a seamless plane as roof top whose access is celebrated with broad flight of tapering out steps. It definitely re-defines the program of house in such a powerful context. The house program is broad flight of steps, the roof plane and curve wall that shows the direction, rest of the box seems incidental in housing the basic comfort.

Architecture of domesticated nature through concrete walls offer unexpected architectural challenge. The decisive factor now become topography, wind direction, position of the sun & expectation as regards spatial program. Tado Ando’s houses reasserts the unified coded philosophy with brutal materiality, i:e exposed concrete. Nature is defined as direct component of living, House is a retreat, isolated fragments of light that illustrates the whole of nature. The modern means have softened down our senses towards nature and house are a medium that re-capture that relationship.  The character of the house is more brutal as engagement with nature is re-defined in time, i:e time bound light cast its deep shadow or piece of sky that is visible from courtyard.

Architecture must be “a counterpoint to nature, a dialogue with nature, Architecture can pay tribute to nature is by confrontation, by creating new equilibrium. Mario Botta’s work is committed to methodical formalism of modern academics but creates unique equilibrium of built and nature. The program of the house is inverted as it exploits the topography, as one descends down, the house unfolds insides as well as outside what it has captured.

The stretto house by Steven Holl uses the peculiarities of site, that is water stream and uses the analogy of water dams and aqueous quality of water i:e roof and transform the house program, site & experiences that results into complex layer of contextualized gesture and meaningful domestic architecture.

The rugged box, that rises from muddy field, creating very introverted spaces, attempting to be collapsed within. The house designed by Claudio Silverstin is literally challenges the user with unusual characteristics. Once the initial shocks are over, house offers sense of calmness, warmth, good sense of proportions and minimal aesthetics.

Such programmatic experimentations are rare and only for those who are willing to dedicate themselves for intense existential experience of life. The blog attempted to bring about position of an architect their own interpretation of context and resultant response. In next blog we shall discuss the newer paradigm in architecture of houses and emerging trend in contemporary architecture.

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