Sunday, April 13, 2014

Two New Corner Houses from Harrison both Blend and Show Off

Architecture tourists have the sweetest dreams about corner houses. Even the little ones are important.

I've followed these two corner teardowns for a while. I cheered when the Harrison Design Associates signs went up. Harrison is particularly clever in adapting elements from neighboring houses. It's one of their trademarks and very important for small lot neighborhoods. It doesn't matter so much on "estate" lots where you can only see one house at a time

This one is on a little hill in Lenox Park a block from Shutze's Dwoskin house and across the street from two Ivey and Crook houses. That is a high bar.

The teardown was a low-slung mid-centry modern camouflaged in ivy. It ignored the street. It was more a green space than a house lot.

Here's the new house emerging from the clay with a coat of primer. The front door points diagonally into the corner. I call this "honoring the corner" because it contributes to the feeling on the street. They divided the lot so they'll build another house to right some day.

It's bit smaller than nearby teardowns. You can't tell that it's a skinny "L" shape, a house of wings that will bring in the light. Pattern Language fans will remember "107. Wings of Light"

The other corner is the most prominent setting on the street. It takes a lot of detailing to manage this much restraint. Who doesn't love a shield with swags?

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They aren't matching bookends but they go together in shape, style, mass and the aim of the front door. Someone suggested the left house is a Shutze. I don't know if there is any evidence but I wouldn't be surprised if that proved true.

26 second video:

Now the other house:

The other is in Brookhaven. It's not in the country club proper but within the halo. You build 5,000+ square feet if you are doing a teardowns around here. This was picturesque, doomed, and I loved it, see "The only one I care about will soon be a goner."

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The old house looked like farmhouse; the new one will too but grander. It looks like it has evolved over the generations with outbuildings. It's smaller and more restrained than nearby teardowns.

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Here's the other corner on a little rise, a high quality design I think. The new Georgian "farmhouse" will be a good neighbor on what will be a memorable corner. Other than the pretty gabble facing the side street the modern ignores the corner, ignores the street.

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Not bookends but related, horizontals galore broken up by vertices in the widows, and board and batten siding (in the gables of the teardown). Fancy gables are a bit rare in a mid-century but here they are. The deep overhang in the modern echoes in the teardown. Overhanging roofs are NOT a Harrison Trademark. The embracing crook between garage and house honors the corner.

18 second video:

I'll show you when they are finished and landscaped.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

UPDATE: Cam Dorsey House by Hentz, Reid & Adler 1923-24 Destroyed by Fire April 1, 2014

UPDATE April 9, 2014
That's the spirit!

Original post:
Folks said I'd fall in love and I did. I never expected to see it again but I had hopes. It was 7,000+ square feet perfectly sited on 5 acres, a landmark in Atlanta's most prestigious neighborhood. From Habersham it seemed a perfectly framed hilltop folly in the form of a Greek temple. Yet this giant house wasn't intimidating. It was a family home scaled for humans.

Thank goodness I took a few exterior pictures. Here's what it looks like today "Huge Buckhead home goes up in flames" - Atlanta Journal Constitution.

Rodolfo Castro invited me to Buckhead in Bloom, a fundraiser for the Atlanta Preservation Center. That was April 11, 2010, four years before the Cam Dorsey Residence burned down.

We lost two great houses in two weeks: the Aronstam House burned on March 18 and now this.

It's a Neel Reid Design, Hentz, Reid & Adler Job 527 1923-24 (See J.Neel Reid Architect: Of Hentz, Reid & Adler & the Georgia School of Classicists by William R. Mitchell Jr.). Photo is from 1929, image purchased from the Atlanta History Center.

A winged Cape Cod with porticoes everywhere.

This is the Vernon side, the back side, the main entry that you can't see from the street.

Photo is from 1929, image purchased from the Atlanta History Center. See below for the precedent of the polygonal porch.

Neel Reid got it right the first time and gave it a motif for integrating additions.

You could see all the way through to the Hambersham side, through the picturesque portico visible from Habersham.

It's a low rambling complex with sheltering porches and no steps.

Four porches in a row.

This is the view from Habersham. 1929 image purchased from the Atlanta History Center.

The portico you could see from Habersham was a glassed-in sun room.

It was all shutters, gables and porticoes. 1929 image purchased from the Atlanta History Center.

The additions kept the spirit.

From the street you'd never know.

What about the polygonal porch?

Gunston Hall, Virginia
Photo by Rictor Norton & David Allen from Flickr.
Polygonal entrance from George Mason "Gunston Hall" River front entrance. Thanks to Robert Craig for telling me about it.

William Buckland: Master Builder of the Eighteenth Century (Lorton: Board of Regents of Gunston Hall, 1977);
"As Buckland used polygons on the river porch at Gunston Hall and later on the two wings of the Hammond-Harwood House in Annapolis, he seemed to espouse a form then achieving popularity in Britain. Unlike the building committee, Mason did adopt Buckland's suggestion for a polygonal entrance as well as the unusual Gothic detailing which marked his garden porch. In this instance and others Mason does seem to have adopted a number of ideas, probably originating with Buckland and possibly Sears as well, which went beyond stylistic norms in the Chesapeake."