Sunday, July 5, 2009

Spanning: Bridge Houses

A couple of projects, picking up on the recent post 'A River Runs Through It', feature a pair of amazing buildings spanning waterways. I guess the spirit of Frank Lloyd Wright is alive and well in architecture.

The first via Arch Daily, is Bridge House, a design in Adelaide, Australia by Max Pritchard Architect. This modern slice of living is delicately placed to span a small cree
k, touching down lightly on either side to minimize impacts.

The house has a bunch of green features, as well as a pretty nice pricetag: "A bend in the winter creek that divides the property, creates a billabong (a deep waterhole) bounded by a high rocky bank. A house was required that would allow appreciation of the site without spoiling its beauty, but at a budget comparable with a “prefabricated” dwelling or an “off the plan” developers design (approximately (A$220,000)."

Some photos of the result, (copyright Sam Noonan, via Arch Daily)

:: images via Arch Daily

The second project (via SpaceInvading) is aptly enough also named 'Bridge House'. This design in Marin County by Stanley Saitowitz/Natoma Architects " fifteen acres of wooded grasslands with a ravine running through. The house, a continuous twenty-two-foot-wide two-story bar, bridges the ravine from east to west."

:: images via SpaceInvading


  1. Fascinating to see the differences in these two typologically similar projects separated by location, politic, and the consequent architectural attitudes towards materials. The Aussie piece here, which certainly bears the marks of the Murcutt school of thought, expresses quite literally the ethos of "touching the ground lightly", to say it bluntly. It's delightful to see it's ends not embedded in the banks of the stream but rather delicately balanced on the cross-brace supports. One wonders what will happen when the banks erode and the "bridging" of the house slowly becomes "floating". Perhaps an addition will have been added to span the gap!

    And then to see it in juxtoposition with the Marin county house is quite a shock! Interesting to note the similarities in climate between the two locales and the responsive use of materials here. Corrugated sheet metal on the one, and Cor-ten panels on the other. I was just in Seattle at the sculpture park marveling at Serra's "Wake". Though now I am thinking that his influence on the architectural imagination may becoming a bit overbearing. Perhaps we could call it Ship Breaking Brutalism. But this digresses from the real difference the Marin house presents. It seems less a bridge and more an under-mountain tunnel that has emerged from cliff sides to break daylight, with an excess of concrete poured in to retain it against the shifting geomorphology. And the quality of the space left underneath the house seems markedly different due to these divergent approaches to a building in response to it's landscape. Price tag for House B = add a zero the end of price tag for house A.

    I'm not trying to hate on the architects of the Marin house, really I think the cause of this is a certain culture of building and the strictures of building codes in this country.

    All in all interesting to see the two side by side.

  2. What happens if there is an earthquake?

  3. I'm pretty sure new construction in certain zones must be built to seismic standards that take into account the possibilities of earthquakes... not sure the rules (nor seismic potential) in Australia... but I imagine that worst case scenario is the building would fall down.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.