douglas house

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Page 91

Richard Meier & Assoc., Douglas House, Harbor Springs, Michigan, 1971–1973
(Photo: Ezra Stoller)

and abruptly meets the ground. Totally precise and hard­edged from afar, upon approach the building begins to assume the romantic, lush characteristics of its surroundings within its reflective surfaces.
The crispness shown in the IBM building takes on a different, but again entirely bauen spirit, in the pristine, white painted wood spatial interpenetrations of the Douglas
House by Richard Meier. Located on a spectacular, 45­degree sloping and densely wooded site overlooking Lake Michigan to the west, it is a sophisticated statement of clean, abstract lines in direct contrast with nature. Instead of terracing down the hillside into the natural terrain, the design layers a house, respecting the verticality of the site, on a series of four strongly expressed and stacked levels, where the horizontal layering in turn reflects the shore line and the approach road at the top entrance level to the house. Solid surfaces in combination with transparent visual penetrations to the interior, curved elements and terraces interconnected at every level whose edges are delineated by the nautical­like lines of white metal handrails, all create a penetrated volume poised on the slope, framing spectacular views; an object in the landscape that elects to recognize the rich color of nature in its contrast of white solid elements and planes, and a white depth revealed by transparency and terraces against it. The compositional abstraction of crossed bands again is in the modernist spirit of the De Stijl.

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