Architect Mark Hutker, AIA, has often talked about his firm’s mission of creating “heirloom houses” for his clients to pass down through generations. Now he, his co-principals Phil Regan and Charles Orr, and their staff have worked with Oscar Riera Ojeda Publishers to make a similarly enduring document of these projects. Called Heirlooms to Live In—Homes in a New Regional Vernacular, the weighty, cloth-bound volume comes in a handsome, embossed cloth case. The book is divided into four themed sections, each one introduced by a thoughtful essay and filled with relevant case studies of the firm’s houses. The first portion, “Build once, well,” examines issues of building quality and craftsmanship. “Outside” addresses the complex process of siting a house and the challenge of relating its indoor and outdoor aspects. “Inside” focuses on the relationship of rooms inside a house and analyzes the way the firm thinks about and designs these spaces. The last section, “Toward a new regional vernacular,” takes a look at the idea of working sensitively within both a community context and a historical context—a notion for which Hutker Architects is justly celebrated.
The book demonstrates the firm’s vast well of respect for the builders and craftspeople who put their houses together. Hutker and his partners clearly recognize the work of these professionals as essential to their own success, and they allude to that importance throughout Heirlooms to Live In. The photography—mostly by veteran New Englander Brian Vanden Brink—conveys the beauty and creativity embodied in the firm’s designs, as well as the solidity of its structures. As Arkansas-based architects Marlon Blackwell, FAIA, and David Buege write in their foreword to the book, Hutker Architects’ work is “built with conviction for permanence.”