Tuesday, March 16, 2010

309 W Eugenie

A fun, modern home at 309 W. Eugenie Street, this residence is easily and often overlooked (I must confess I passed by this home a fair number of times before noticing it).  Built in 1963 [1] (this home is nearing it's 50th birthday!) this single family home possesses several architecturally significant details. Close inspection reveals these details and how they separate it from the structures around it.

The first thing you will likely notice are the undulating curves of the brick facade as it playfully interacts with the windows and roof line.  These unexpected curves seem to beak up the otherwise hard and rigid patterns of tradition masonry construction, and seem to suggest something a little less formal, perhaps more natural (which is enhanced by the selection of green paint for all wood panel siding.   It is important to notice these pattern, as it serves as a datum for the remainder of the home.

The brick facade is further detailed through the use of offsets, that create a rippling, wave like pattern in the otherwise regular field.  This enhances the sense of softness and again alludes to the natural environment.  This undulation is present on the masonry walls, but is particularly evident on the northeastern column of masonry that rises to the roof line.  This pattern is also present on the masonry wall return at the entryway.

Remember the curved pattern of the Masonry wall as it encounters the wood paneling above?  It makes a big return to the site as it is repeated throughout the metal working details on a custom window grates, hand railings at the entryway staircase and the front yard fence, all of which are finished with the same green color. This shared typography of form and color provide continuity, linking the structure with its supporting elements.  It is hard to imagine the fence being used separate from this site, and the building without the related details would lose much of its architectural strength.

A final detail, most obvious in plan, is the form of the front stair, which return to the motif of unexpected curves.  Each stair tread, when viewed from above, varies in depth considerably from one end to another, creating a curvilinear shape that is frame by the curves hand railings, as described above.

It is hard to say if the exterior of this home is entirely successful as an aesthetic, but any fault is not for lack of trying, as the designer clearly placed considerable emphasis on tying all the elements of the project together into one unified goal.

[1] City of Chicago: Chicago Landmarks Historic Resources Survey

No comments:

Post a Comment