“The residential commission allows one to formulate ideas and develop a set of principles that, one hopes will inform future works for a long time to come.”

Richard Meier


Richard Meier, has been associated with recognizable use of its own language in the field of architecture. This language has some formal characteristic that has been applied in almost every example of his private houses. Some of those design characteristics includes; the use of ‘colorlessness’ (white), geometrical order, visual layering and perceiving the house as machine to live in.

Taking the Douglas House as a case study or a precedent, our approach to its analysis is not merely based on the technique that is used by the architect, but on how organizational principals of design are interpreted in a conceptual manner.

In terms of the contextual environment of the Douglas house, the house is on a totally isolated environment that separates it from the neighborhood, and locates itself on a steep forest facing the Michigan lake. Meier describes this contextual environment as “a machine-crafted object that has landed in natural world.”

In the first analysis we interpreted the house as a moving mass on the steep slope of the coast. However, the positioning of the mass to the ground level created a different entry level experience to house that reminds the analogy of a boat getting close to the coast. The flying bridge that connects the house to the ground strengthens that analogy.

Secondly the dialectic relation between ‘open’ and ‘closed’ or as defined respectively in the house as ‘public’ and ‘private’. Here we can argue that the functional division also reflected to the exterior and the interior space composition of the house, where private areas were enclosed into cellular spaces, while the public area is translated into a singular volumes. This relation of ‘open’ and ‘closed’ also effected the structural composition of the house, where private spaces were surrounded by thick load bearing  walls that diminished the transparency level, while the public spaces were constructed on a grid with thin columns and beams.

Thirdly, the use of light in the also helps us to understand the clear division between open and closed spaces, where the light act as a separator between two different compositions.

At last the circulation diagram acts a bit differently than the usage of light. The light acted only as a separator between open and closed spaces. On the other hand the corridor separates and mutually connects two other spaces.





Dahabreh S. Douglas House: the formation of a language: Citations to Articles Posted to, Academia. January 11, 2017.

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