Spatial Verb

The building extends from the landscape, the walls folding up from the ground surface. Within the first few feet, the meaning of the ground cover changed to wallpaper. Within a few feet of the grade, the cover disperses into a distributed pattern of points in an isometric grid. The space between the planting exposes stone which is a series of random coursed bands. The stone starts as a grouping of thin rows that read like a textural band. The dwarf mondo ground cover sits within this pattern on the wall, the stone sits within the cover pattern on the ground. The overall effect is like a fabric of green and gray, creating a regular constellation that flips from figure to ground. At the clearstory, portions that were grass become glass and the pattern transforms materials to introduce grays and blues where there were greens.

The building is an object that creates a boundary but attempts to reflect the surrounding, well-kept landscape. The structure’s users focus inward and on their work, so windows are for light and not views. The oculus in the structure’s center frames the sky in its ever-changing colors and forms and clouds pass like strolling figures for those inside to see and ponder. The glazed roof opens with heat, and the passing air creates a vacuum that pulls the air from vents in the floor that cover ducts running under the ground to the open air. Small boxes stand in the landscape where the ducts extend from the earth, filtering the air of dust and blocking wildlife from entering. The boxes also provide a source of air conditioning in the warmer months.

The doors to the space are like two edges of a blanket that overlap to encase the space. A gap between the two edges creates a door, and the wall ends come together, as a tapered seam. The rear side of the wall is hinged to create a door, protecting the interior from the elements. The random coursed stone of the wall returns and surfaces the interior to create stacked rings within, which recede to the opening above. Below, the wall continues down to the floor surface that is slightly raised above the ground surface. Where the wall meets the floor, the stone dives half a course into the elevation and returns up to create a slight gutter around the interior perimeter. The gutter is nearly an inch wide and two inches deep and does not create a tripping hazard. The interior floor is in a random ashlar pattern that is able to accommodate the coursing of the surrounding walls. The walls are square with one another, other than where the doors create the seam.

Interior light comes from the oculus, the small windows along the walls, and the pendant lights that hang from cabling that springs from the wall to create a web-like structure high above the floor. These pendants are beadlike and are at multiple elevations across the interior to create a sense of hovering or levitating lanterns. The illumination is thrown down to the floor and up into the structure as indirect light. At night, the interior ceiling plane is like great celestial bodies seen through a telescope lens. The colors of the light vary slightly from warm reds and yellows to cooler blues and whites.

The furniture is arranged in functional and social groupings. The horizontal work surfaces are just below waist height and are composed of wood. The wood is stained a very dark brown to provide a sense of age and long use. The wooden legs and bracing on the table are heavy to complement the gravity of the stone walls. On each of these tables sits a small lamp that is controlled by a dimmer switch to provide varying illumination. The lamps can work independently, or they can be controlled as a group to provide steady light or a light show, flashing and changing. This light is a soft yellow.

The social groupings are seating with similar wooden structure and deep cushions. There are three to four chairs with side tables and a coffee table or rug in the center of each. The rugs are polychromatic, hand stitched, and different from setting to setting. The coffee tables and end tables are worn and populated with curiosities, each handmade or exfoliated with heavy use. Among these items of visual interest, there are occasional magazines, books, stationary, and writing instruments, inviting the user to make some imprint on the space. This is meant to be a soft space of hard materials.

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