Modern Prairie Design Process
A contemporary take on the Prairie Style of architecture, this modern masterpiece in an exclusive Denver neighborhood is designed to stand the test of time. The modern interpretation of the Prairie Style responds to the historic context of the neighborhood and the surrounding landscape, and also responds to the owner’s musical proclivity and passion.
Architectural timelessness is achieved through attention to detail, high quality design and materials, along with expert execution and craftsmanship. Prevalent during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and made popular by American Architect Frank Lloyd Wright, the Prairie Style is characterized by use of horizontal lines, broad eave overhangs, flat or low-hipped roofs and high-quality materials. The strong horizontal nature of the structure evokes the expanse of treeless prairie that once dominated the vistas of the Western United States and allows for integration into the landscape.
R+B’s modern take on the Prairie Style reconciles the current-day demand for high ceilings, expansive windows and modern construction techniques with the historic style’s emphasis on craftsmanship, horizontality and sensitivity to the landscape.
To emphasize the horizontal nature of the home’s design, the team chose a neutral stone palette for the wall surfaces and contrasted it with bands of deep bronze-colored metal. The use of sandblasted-smooth stone and rough cleft-face stone allows for variation of scale and texture, while its coursing emphasizes horizontal lines. The home’s singular fenestration, including floorto- ceiling windows and doors punctuating the horizontal bands of the façade, was inspired by Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI) wavetables. The end result is an enhancement of the home’s dramatic scale and indoor/outdoor living.
Additionally, the landscape design grounds the residence within the established context and aesthetic of the surrounding neighborhood. The chosen planting palette includes mostly native plant species appropriate to the region. In lieu of colorful ornamental plantings, simple massing of ornamental grasses and low deciduous shrubs convey a modern complement to the Prairie Style of architecture.
It has been said that architecture is frozen music. They both employ the use of rhythm, pattern, texture, palette, layers, and structure. Nowhere is this relationship more evident than with the composition of electronic music. Like an architect developing a design through a series of sketches, models, and drawings, a music producer builds a track through a series of audio samples and MIDI generated sounds. The result is a digital composition of notes, audio, and automation which come together to produce a full piece of music. When analyzed these compositions can create beautiful patterns of notes varying in length, velocity, and automation fitting seamlessly into a grid defined by rhythm and notation. The parti of the Alameda house pulls from these patterns of digital music. Strong horizontal lines are punctured by strategic voids of space like notes placed within the cadence of a melody. These voids are filled with patterns of glazing and screening, giving each instance a unique visual sound. Deriving from the function within, the voids of the façade tell the story of the home like musical notes tell the story of a song.