OCEAN AVENUE RESIDENCE
Because of its proximity to the ocean, our client felt inspired to explore a nautical theme in the interior remodel of his residential unit. In his mind, this initially entailed brass portholes and dolphin images. In our minds, however (as would be the case in most architects’ minds) the notion of the ship conjured up one singular thought: Le Corbusier's impassioned, if perhaps a bit rhetorical, case for the modern beauty of the ocean liner in "Towards A New Architecture". In the section titled "Eyes which do not see/ Liners" Corbusier chastens his peers: "Architects live and move within the narrow limits of academic requirements and in ignorance of new ways of building...architecture is stifled by custom...the use of thick walls, which in earlier days was a necessity, has persisted, although thin partitions of glass or brick can enclose a ground wall with 50 stories above it....The steam ship is the first stage in the realization of a world organized according to the new spirit.
"Taking the lesson to heart, we started to discern ways in which we could organize the spaces required by our client, in a way that made more sense than the conventional organization offered by the existing conditions and typical floor plans. As we worked, our client began to see the inherent logic of approaching the design solution to his small space as one would a ship or even a small boat, where every inch counts, and many things have to do double duty. Rather than conventional walls, the spaces are articulated by thin plywood panels, which bend and fold to accommodate shelving or storage or let in light, whatever is required at any given point. One such panel folds to accommodate a sink, which is fabricated to fit into the language of the panel.Another wall makes a place for the tub by virtue of changing material and creating a soffit. We continuously worked to create a different kind of architectural language that could accommodate the functional requirements and break the expected paradigm. As we evolved our formal language, our client got into the spirit of the game and started to creatively adjust his programmatic ideas. He decided that the small room that enclosed the toilet could serve admirably as a library as well. The final result is in no way the typical master suite, but rather a series of insertions that took their form as a specific response to the programmatic requirement.Keeping in mind that our project is, after all, just a master suite remodel, we still made an attempt to take an opportunity to engage ourselves and our client in a serious exploration into the fundamental questions about the making of architecture