Sometimes even the best conceived plans are let out into the world with out much care, and they go feral. Oftentimes in the world of architecture and design this is at the request of the client, oftentimes a builder that just wants a set of drawings to get permits and build something. The details are left on the drawingboard and the project has to fend for itself, with the hope that its underlying design are sufficient to make for a successful project. The beachHOUSE in Port Aransas is a case in point.
The drawings date back to 2006, when we were approached by a builder in Austin to provide designs for two projects, one of which was for his personal beach get-away. Jumping at the chance to get something built in my hometown, we quickly went to work on a compact 1100 s.f. plan for a very constricted lot. The tight budget, lot constriants, and desire for a truly simple functional place, conspired to form a simple modern box that meets the programmatic requirements with a certain quiet modesty.
Even accounting for the various screw-ups that happened during the un-supervised construction process, the design is a success. A straighforward 16' wide by 48' long bar defines a master bedroom suite, a secondary kids bedroom, a public bathroom and a kitchen that opens into a larger 20' x 16' living area. High clerestory windows (though built at a shorter head height than intended...) allow ample north light into the building from what is effectively a cramped rear setback that looks into the rear neighbours yard. Large sliding glass doors topped with transoms on the street side of the house open the living area and kitchen onto a shaded front deck (sadly out of scale to the house because the pier and beam foundation was built 18" higher than required...)
The well lit living area and kitchen take advantage of the SIP panel roof system and have a full 10' ceiling height, while the hallway, bathrooms and bedrooms are furred down to allow for the HVAC system to feed all the spaces from a simple and efficient straight trunk line. Large eye level picture windows in the hall allow for the relatively tight 4o" wide passage to feel much more expansive.
Simple utilitarian bedrooms are amply lit by the clerestory windows as well as floor length single hung egress windows. Closets and storage are more than sufficient for a vacation house and the bathrooms while compact can accommodate two adults in the master, and at least two kids in the public bathroom.
Galvalum Snap-Lock roofing wraps the exterior siding surfaces of the house and lends a rigorous rhythm to the facade.
Even with the slight rhythmic flaws in the window placement, the taught galvalum skin is a playground for shadow and light, which are always a source of quotidian beauty in the salt air.
While the house is currently abandoned, and I'm assuming being foreclosed on by the bank, the overall conception of the house is still a resounding success. While many details were not carried through as intended, the spatial characteristics and light quality serve as successful prototypes and test-beds for subsequent designs. Primary among those designs are the plans for ClearSpace Modular, which take as a point of departure the floor plan of the beachHOUSE as the prototype for the many different plan iterations. The bedroom layouts, the compact bathroom plans, the hallways, and the overall kitchen and living area design are all derivatives of this abandoned and neglected design.