Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Hugh Newell Jacobsen

While I appreciate a multitude of architectural styles and designers, Washington DC based architect Hugh Newell Jacobsen is undoubtably my favorite.

What I appreciate the most about his work is how he is able to successfully combine the gabled roof lines of early American architecture with the modern minimalist facades.  The house in the photo above is a perfect example of how these two styles are incorporated.  Jacobsen designed this home to look like a series of one room school houses from the exterior, but is in-fact a single family dwelling.  The red door, gabled roof, and white-painted wood siding are all borrowed from early American design, while the clean lines and stark surroundings are a nod to Modernism.

As an architect, Jacobsen is focused on the entire site, as opposed to only the structure.  He feels that the surroundings largely dictate the design.  In the planing phase, he will ask himself whether there is a view, and where that view can be best appreciated from, and also how the natural landscape may influence the layout.

Another factor that Jacobsen considers is what the local architecture and tradition is.  While his firm is based in Washington DC, they have designed projects across the country.  While each of these buildings will have certain recognizable elements, careful consideration is used in designing for a specific region.

A home built in New York or Maryland will have a look that may be quite different from one built in Massachusetts.

While the homes built in coastal New England may have a distinct beach feeling, a home designed for coastal Florida would have a completely different aesthetic. The two images above are both examples of New England projects, while the photos below are from Florida.

The image above is a great example of a Hugh Newell Jacobsen design.  The gabled roof line and dormer windows are very traditional, but the large windows, steel roof and open floor plan add an unexpected and refreshing element.

There is something so whimsical about the designs of Hugh Newell Jacobsen.  I love how there are familiar, traditional aspects in his projects, but that modern element add a bit of intrigue.  

While Hugh Newell Jacobsen is an architect by training, he also has a vision for the interiors of the homes he designs.  In a future post, I will explore the interiors that he has had an influence on.


Julie said...

Which is your favorite? I like the one with the steel roof. And you're right, they are slightly whimsical. I'm looking forward to seeing some interiors.

Brunskill Design said...

I'm an english architect and I like the way Hugh mixes modern rationalism with a traditional approach. When we do traditionla styled buildings we try to achieve this. He does it in spades!
Helen Brunskill

Brunskill Design said...

and hes hidden all the downpipes!