Four Houses: A Language of Transition from Earth to Sky

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Virginia Tech

The thesis of this project is to develop a language of architecture for the design of a rural house.

Parameters for this language are specified through program, ideas about living in a country home, and the importance of integrating the building with its site. The parameters are reaffirmed through the materials and elements of architecture.

In order to develop a cohesive language, four houses have been designed for four different sites. Each house implements the specified parameters in a manner appropriate to the setting of the surrounding landscape. The houses themselves become a transition between the inside and the outside and between the natural and the man-made. Thus this thesis is: Four Houses - A Language of Transition from Earth to Sky.

Our experience-space is necessarily in conflict with the space of nature. The space that nature offers us rises above the ground and is oriented entirely towards the earth's surface. The contrast between the mass of the earth below and the space of the air above, which meet at the surface of the earth, is the primary datum of this (experience) space.

Dom H. Van Der Laan, "Architectonic Space" (E.J. Brill, 1983), p. 5

enclosure wall, Light, stone wall, courtyard, room, balcony, stairs, hearth