House & Home at Nat'l Building Museum

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Last night I attended a press preview for the National Building Museum's House & Home exhibition. (Check out my co-worker Shelley Hutchins' story on this long-term show.) House & Home packs a lot of valuable information on residential design and construction into its seven galleries, but two items in particular drew my attention.

One was the procession of 1/8-inch-scale models of 14 architecturally significant dwellings, including a Sea Ranch condominium, the John Hancock Center, and Vizcaya in Miami. I loved the variety of the projects shown, as well as the blend of the expected (Fallingwater and The Glass House) with the somewhat less well-known (McKim Mead & White's William G. Low House).

The other highlight for me was a film showing, as the museum puts it, "some of contemporary America's most innovative houses." The chosen buildings are a FlatPak House (shown below) by Lazor Office, whom I wrote about in our January-Feburary 2012 issue; a Tumbleweed Tiny House by Jay Shafer and Dee Williams; Gateway Dormitory by RTKL Associates, which won a 2009 residential architect design award; New Carver Apartments by Michael Maltzan Architecture; Ventana Canyon House by Rick Joy Architects, and Leake Avenue Duplex by bildDESIGN, whom I wrote about back in 2007.

This mesmerizing film shows the projects' residents going about their daily lives, and it really does give you a sense of the beauty and power of everyday rituals like cleaning up or sitting down to a meal--and of the role design plays in orchestrating these daily events. Said one of the exhibition's guest curators, Donald Albrecht, "We're talking about not only the home, but about different ways of living."--m.d.

*The image below is of FlatPak House residents Rodney White and Thomas Brown, Callicoon, New York. Architect: Lazor Office. Built: 2008. Film Still: Ariel Efron; Local Projects. Courtesy National Building Museum.

FlatPak

 
 

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