Planted Environment

Type: Residential-Interior
Program: Single-Family Home
Location: Geneva, Illinois
Construction: Harder Brothers, Inc.
Status: Completed 2010
Brief: Renovation of a 1,500 SF ground level space

The newly renovated single-story space inscribes the functions of living, entertaining and yoga into a traditional suburban home.  The Clients, having lived and traveled in the eastern world, aspired to transplant the character of Southeast Asian living into their home.  Rather than forcing the marriage between these two dissimilar architectural languages, the choice to disconnect each from the other created a world within a world. 

The fluid arrangement of spaces and the tectonic assembly of materials are in contrast to the rest of the house, thus providing a greater sense of transition from the everyday indoor environment. The conventional language of privacy enclosures is replaced with screening elements, typically found in the Eastern world.  The partial height screens provide substantial visual privacy yet allow for light and air to permeate through the resultant voids.  Drawing on the horizontality of plywood, the walls are assembled to appear woven.  Each rectangular piece of Baltic birch plywood is placed individually, not unlike the tedious assembly of the hand-crafted water hyacinth furniture housed in the space. 

The ceiling soffit adds an organizational framework between the vertical variation in the ceiling height and the overall plan.  Its geometry is derived from the boundaries of existing infrastructural elements and runs counter to the direction of the spatial flow.  The new vegetation embraces the walls, transforming the space and in time, enriches the planted environment.