DOUGLAS HOUSE, RICHARD MEIER, 1971-1973
The Douglas House was built by Richard Meier in 1971-1973 for Jim and Jean Douglas. The house is gently placed on a steep slope over the water, almost as if it is floating amongst the trees. As Meier stated about the house, “So steep is the slope to the water that the house appears to have been dropped into the site, a machine-crafted object that has landed in a natural world. The dramatic dialogue between the whiteness of the house and the primary blues and greens of the water, trees, and sky allows the house not only to assert its own presence but to enhance, by contrast, the beauty of its natural environment as well.” Due to its location, Meier layered four floors and anchored the house into the hill. The entry is on the east side of the house facing the road, which Meier considers the “private” zone and is expanded by a roof-level bridge. Once inside the entry vestibule there is a continuation to a roof-deck, and the living room and kitchen are seen two stories below with the fire place in view across from the entry, typical in homes designed by Meier. The “public” zone of the house, including the living room and dining room, faces Lake Michiganand gives the impression of a completely different place when compared to the deceiving one-story entry space. The living room is open to the surrounding landscape with three large floor-to-ceiling windows, which was heavily used on the western side of the house to take advantage of the view. It also receives sunlight through a skylight that further separates the public and private zones. The bedrooms were designed small and cabin-like, intimate for their private function. The layers of the floors are read on the exterior through these window mullions, and the interior public and private zones can also be determined depending on the number and sizes of the windows.
Circulation through the house is primarily horizontal with the open floor plans except for two staircases, one...
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