12.20.2011

Architecture Dreams

Back in the early 90s when I was in high school, I would spend hours and days on end designing homes and interior spaces using one of two software packages I got my dad to get me. Mind you, this was not professional nor official work I was doing, just a hobby I picked up via doodling, and that kept me busy indefinitely and out of hot water, as an only child on those hot high school summers of yore.

One of my all time favorite design footprint discoveries was the small footprint tall building, with a small staircase to go from living space to living space. The entire concept emerged as I thought about the compact footprint and spaciousness (it seems contradictory but it's true) of the staircases inside the high school I went to (Mount Assisi Academy). It was basically taking the rectangular space of a stairwell and expanding it enough to include living space around the stairs.

photo: Michelle Kaufmann Studio
So it was amazing when I first learned, a few years ago, about the SmartHome at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago. I finally got to drag the significant other unit there a couple of years ago. I was blown away seeing their SmartHome.

photo: Ludlow Island Resort
This spectacular SmartHome took my original, primitive concept (which obviously others have perfected way before I ever thought of it) and actually made it happen following sound, structural engineering and architectural design principles. Not only that, but the entire home was built in an environmentally friendly and sustainable manner. I was as gleeful as a thrilled school girl.

Today, when I was perusing some wooded area cabins and travel websites for the great lakes, I happened on a building with a similar concept and footprint, the Ludlow Island Resort's Dreamweaver cabin on the Vermillion Lake in Minnesota. If you add a wooded lot I'm in ecstasy. It's a dream I've always had, that of living in a thickly wooded lot.

There's something about the small footprint, panoramic glass arrangement, and modern conveniences all nestled in the wild of a thickly forested area that feel like absolute heaven to me. May God(ess) help me get there some day.

It takes someone with a very particular taste and vision -- some may say survival instincts -- to create and feel comfortable in these types of tall and rather rectangular living spaces. Many would falter at the lack of neighbors living in a forested environment. Others would be incredibly irritated by the sounds and potential intrusions of the nearby wildlife. But if this type of environment is your cup of tea, like it is mine, then there's quite no other place like home. No sequined, red slippers required.