How to design a bridge house

Learn design with Doug Patt at his live virtual webcam studio.

Welcome to design a dwelling – volume 2. Im Doug Patt. This is the series where we pick a site and put a house on it. Other than a medieval anomaly or a draw bridge with a small structure for operation its not very likely youll see a house built on a bridge any time soon. With that in mind this bridge site at the Grand Canyon is perfect for a house. Any building placed on this structure would be able to take advantage of the thrilling view and if designed properly the vista would be completely unobstructed. So, I did some thinking about the building and I like the analogy of creating a home that is something like a cork to a wine bottle. In simple terms just as a cork is round and fits the round neck of a bottle, the house would be rectangular, fitting the rectangular cut out shape of the structure. As noted in previous episodes, Im always more inclined to go modern and this site lends itself to that aesthetic. To get an idea of how big this house is going to be we can gauge the scale of the photo from the people on the bridge. The first design I completed followed my original sketch fairly closely. The configuration stayed pretty true the idea of a rectangular shape with simple cut outs and geometrical forms for openings and windows. However, the design fails to take any real advantage the most important factor of the site has to offer, the view. Now remember, This exercise is simply to describe what an architect might be thinking about in a schematic way if cost and schedule were in no way an issue. It also assumes that just about anything is possible. So I began rethinking the design as well as the method by which someone actually enters the house. Lets get a little fantastic here and assume the bridge is well traveled but the owner has the exclusive right to use the site. Lets say they use an entrance from bridge level to enter the home By the way, I have no idea where they park their car. To create the image, As in the first example, I overlaid the sketch on the photo to make sure the scale and position were correct. I added shade and shadow as well as a light filter to alter the colors slightly. And finally a change in the value of the background image to make the new building really stand out. The second design includes an elevator as well as a large living space, an observation deck and an enclosed lookout space for viewing the landscape. And there you have it. A modern bridge dwelling. Thanks for checking out volume1 of – design a dwelling. This is Doug Patt. See you next time on how to architect.


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