We recently finished this modern ski cabin in Sugar Bowl. The design architect was John Maniscalco (see http://www.californiahomedesign.com/blog/2011-chd-award-residential-architecture-more-3000-sq-ft )
and the contractor was Ethan Allen. I was in charge of permitting and construction administration. I have not worked on a modern house before and the owner, Maca, and John were set from the beginning to convert me to a modern architect. I love modernismo (modern) architecture, but more like the type from the turn of the century. Most notably the work of Dominich Montaner, Hector Guimard, Gaudi, and Joseph Maria Olbrich.
The cabin turned out great, mostly due to John’s brilliant but simple floor plan and great natural lighting. I approached the project with a very conservative outlook and a initially drew sketches of a small, cramped entry. John gave us a 12′ wide entry that sets the tone for the house. The house is filled with light, the house is completely uncluttered, and the scale and size of the rooms is perfect. Maca did a lovely job picking finishes and lights, especially the stairway light,that shines like a hundred stairs in the night.
The difference between a modern house and a “traditional house” is that the modern house has much larger windows and the relationship of the rooms are much more open. The exterior is a sculpture rather than a faux copy of regional architecture 10,000 miles away. The modern approach is free in its expression. I would say that modern architecture is much more difficult than traditional architecture. I generally do not create new details or new ideas. I look through books to find the best of the old details and copy them. For some reason, I would be much more comfortable in a brown shingle home with wood windows and wavy glass than the modern home. The traditional house is still more comfortable though I am struggling with ways to get more light.
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