Sunday, April 5, 2009

CF3 Coffee Chat - Alexander Residence

Last weekend we decided to get the whole family out of the house and went to check out the CF3 coffee chat event. The featured home was that of the late Jim Alexander, an architecture professor at UC's DAAP and a practitioner. The house was built in 1949 and is located on a unknown road in the outback of Wyoming. Several other moderns dot the street including one I spent two years working on. Most of the street includes very hill driven lots that offer great views of the outerlying valley. Wendy, Ava, and Ashton stand for their photo op in front of the carport.
On first approach the house seems much smaller than it actually is. It follows the terrain and linearly extends from the approach. One enters the house by descending into the entry courtyard, overhead a trellis structure connects the carport to the main house. The overall composition consists of several interlocking volumes, anchored by the larger two story 'original house'.
Over time this was added onto by subsequent kitchen, dining, and living space additions. The main foyer and hall has natural stone quarried from the site and generates the means to all levels. The bedrooms are upstairs with the public areas on the main level, utility & studio on the lower level. The arrangement of the spaces creates a simple yet intimate flow with each addition a reconizable block of time documenting the growth of the Alexander family. These spaces also testify to Alexanders development as an architect. The dining, kitchen, and living area exhibits the most quinessential post and beam MCM character with its flying roofline, all glass facade and fireplace as a centerpiece. The clindrical concrete flue seems to puncture the roof and anchors the ivy covered block to the glass facade.
Next door is another Alexander designed house, very similar in overall aesthetics, they almost pair up in their similarities. We also got to check out the Avril House by architect Cliff May a few doors down. The homeowners, fellow cf3 members opened their doors for a bit for us to take a tour. The house is unique in that the entire house is made out of concrete, from the foundation to the roof. All in all it was a great spring day as we got to see some other modern fanatics we hadn't seen in a awhile and the opportunity to see a couple modern homes.


  1. i interviewed jim for a daap project i worked on my senior year. i was in this house and have a few photos. let me dig them out and post them to my flickr site. i'll let you know.

  2. hey, we bought this house! i look forward to seeing more of your projects as we begin to tackle this one.