Architect Profiles – Joze Plecnik

Hello readers,
This is a new feature that I am adding to my blog profiling the life and work of well known and perhaps lesser known architects. Plecnik is not well known in the United States and hardly mentioned other than in the history classes of architecture schools; all of his work is confined to his home country of Slovenia and the cities of Prague and Vienna. However his work has steadily been wining more converts as more people visit the former Soviet Bloc countries and see his buildings first hand.

Plecnik lived from 1872 to 1957 and was considered part of the Vienna Secession movement that was at its height at the turn of the century. The Vienna Secession movement was a modernist reaction against art nouveau (the sinuous style promulgated by the likes of Mucha and Macintosh in favor of more blocky forms that embraced technology and modern materials. Of all the buildings that Plecnik designed in his lifetime the most memorable was probably his unbuilt scheme for the parliament building in his home town and the capitol of Slovenia Ljubljana. The scheme may remind a laymen of the Travelocity Roaming Gnome from the building’s pointed dome.

Plecnik's Entry for the Parliament Building

All architects have signature elements that define their work. Plecnik was known for his use of columns on his building. The column was his favorite architectural element. The photos below showcase the types of columns created for his buildings.

Columns on the Assurance Building in Vienna

As much as Plecnik was tied with Otto Wagner and the Vienna Secessionist movement, Plecnik’s own style evolved into something more traditional, one might say Neoclassical. His campanile and covered market are both highly classical in style and proportion as was his scheme for Prague castle recreating the columns from a Greek Temple inside the castle.

Plecnik Hall, Prague Castle, Prague

The Covered Market, Ljubljana

Campanile



Plecnik also designed furniture and other decorative elements in addition to his work as an architect and city planner. Below are a few examples of his furniture.





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40B Development Project – Community Development & Affordable Housing

This week I created what is called a 40B development project, which is a housing scheme that combines affordable and market rate housing together in one property. Cities and towns will often give preference to these types of projects as they are perceived as helping the less affluent into housing in an area that is normally out of their reach. My project consists of a two-unit complex with a shared parking garage. The affordable unit is a 1-bedroom/1-bath single floor apartment. This unit works well for the elderly/disabled as there are no stairs to climb and could be made handicapped accessible with few modifications. The affordable 1 bedroom features a unique oval-shaped courtyard that brings nature indoors while making the space appear larger and more open from all angles. The apartment has a fenced in yard and an extensive porch for enjoying the outdoors.

The deluxe market rate apartment is a 2 bedroom/2.5 bath luxury penthouse. Features include garage space, a lap pool, private deck off the master bedroom, massive dressing room and master bath, eat-in kitchen with separate dining room, a 2 story living room with a mid-century Gyro-focus fireplace and floor to ceiling views of city, and a separate media room/study. This apartment spans two floors and can be designed with or without an elevator.

In addition to creating affordable housing, my development project also created a small community center to serve the local community. The center offers exercise equipment, a climbing wall, pool tables, a juice/coffee bar, and free wi-fi access to its patrons. There is also a basement function space for events.

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Ask the Author – How does the new site work?

The new A Point In design uses a menu bar found directly under the top header. Select from the listed categories to read articles related to that topic. Also a list of the latest articles will be found directly to the right of the sidebar when you arrive at the site, similar to the old site. To leave a comment on an article scroll to the bottom of the post and enter comments in the space provided. All comments will be included that are not spam.

Residential Project – Where the Desert Meets the Sea

Hello viewers,

Welcome to my new blog. For my inaugural post I present this design. I was inspired by a project I saw recently featured on ArchDaily’s site for a housing development in Peru. The locale, vista and scenery were really breathtaking. The site was profiled in the video shown below. The four house complex called W Houses located in Cañete, Peru was designed by Barclay & Crousse architects.

The setting more than the housing was what I found inspiring. So I created my own design to be placed along side the Peru project. My greatest difficulty with this design was trying to figure out the materiality for the building. I tried many different materials ultimately choosing a stucco and sandstone combination that matched the red earthy desert. The photo below is one of my material test cases.

The house itself is a 4 bedroom 3.5 bath house with a swimming pool, decks, and a 2-car carport. Given the arid location, no grass was planted on the site and arid plantings were chosen that were drought tolerant. The house wraps around to form a courtyard which opens onto the swimming pool with views of the ocean in the distance.

Below are photos of the inside with the plans