Geography 101

Power to the Place

A home is a kind of signpost

3430164569_9b64d6018b signs cc will ockenden

indicating where you are and sometimes where you’ve been and where you’re going (image courtesy Will Ockenden,  Flickr). In the most elemental sense, as in the historic outline of Ben Franklin’s house in Phildelphia created by Venturi Scott-Brown Architects,

ben franklin house

which functions as a frame for history, a house is the place — and everything through and around it (image courtesy imcorker2 at Flickr).

Our customers build in many geographic locations,

image001 second sales map

as this North American map shows. At Houseplans.com we think each plan should be adapted to individual needs and the site (that’s what our Customizer Tool is for) so why not go a step farther and make sure each plan says something about its location. Usually this means giving a nod to the climate. In the hot bright desert Southwest, for example, deep shade is important, while in the rainy and overcast Northwest maximizing light is key. Historically the geography, climate, and available materials, tools, and building techniques all played a role in the development of architectural styles.

Though it’s now possible to build almost anything anywhere, it seems logical to take customization cues from the site and the neighborhood as well as from larger architectural ideas about structure and space.  Look at this Rocky Mountain house

tgh colorado sidelong view

by Turnbull Griffin Haesloop Architects, whose firm designed our exclusive Sea Ranch Cottage plans.  Here’s a landscape view, for context:

photo3 TGA Colorado landscape

Sited between the treeline and the meadow, the simple structures belong where they are.  The steep gabled profiles recall ranch buildings from the 19th century while the sheltered outdoor living room — complete with fireplace — is very contemporary. The house celebrates its setting,

photo2 TGH view from outdoor fireplace

by becoming a nature viewing platform and re-imagining local building traditions while allowing for today’s living patterns.

So the lesson is: Look around when you build.

tgh colorado house

The setting and its building traditions can fire up a strong sense of place.

One response to “Geography 101

  1. Nicely stated and illustrated.
    ‘Look around when you build’

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