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the miller house (should be more famous)

Jun 27 '08 81 Last Comment
Steven WardSteven Ward
Jun 27, 08 11:35 pm

just the most incredible house i've ever visited...and i've visited a lot of the biggies.

pix:
mine
someone else's

...but pictures don't do it justice. for the first time in a long time, a prolonged state of wonder, wandering from space to space, detail to detail.

everyone should experience this house.

not kidding.

 

holz.box
Jun 28, 08 12:46 am

um, architect? very nice, steven

ARKTEK
Jun 28, 08 1:48 am

Yeah, SW, I saw the pictures on your flickr set earlier tonight and also wondered 'who?' and 'where?' I see on someone else's flickr set that it is in your neck of the woods (louis, ky).

Thanks for sharing.

timothy sadler®
Jun 28, 08 1:53 am

It's a little bit of Corb, in Lexington. I was a student at KY when it was being built - the owners were from out of town and the students liked to party at the jobsite. One Sunday afternoon they showed up for a surprise visit and found dozens of drunk architecture students with kegs of beer tearing up the site. They weren't pleased. Neither was Jose (Ouberie, the guy who designed it).

The trees look nice all grown up. Looks vacant, with the tags and all.

ARKTEK
Jun 28, 08 1:55 am

Is it vacant? Being redone? In some of the other guy's pictures it almost looks like you'd expect to find squatters there.

(omg, that just brought to mind an image posted by mdler in another thread)

Steven WardSteven Ward
Jun 28, 08 7:05 am

yep, as oldfogey said, jose oubrerie was the architect: cohort of corb, recently finished the project he and corb worked on together, the chapel at firminy:


when this house was done he was dean at the university of kentucky school of architecture. he's now at ohio state university.

the house is vacant now, and in disrepair. one of the millers died, the other remarried and moved elsewhere and the house went derelict for several years. 90% of the windows were broken out, the floors got damaged by rain, the basement got flooded, and the house got tagged in many places.

a couple years ago a subdivision developer bought the property and planned to demolish it for more houses, but a local outcry has put it on life support. a foundation has been established which was able to buy the house itself (on a reduced site), stabilize it, replace the windows, and is now working on cleanup and renovation. the intention is to use it as an arts/cultural hub, a place for symposia and similar events and for an arts-in-residency program. the way the house is set up is conducive to it being zoned into separate studio areas.

the level of detail in this place is incredible to the point of obsessive. in wandering around, i became obsessed with the continuous restatement of one particular detail throughout the whole house - rendered in a variety of materials and situations.

our governor's school for the arts class spent the day there doing minor repairs and cleaning up the house and property.

Steven WardSteven Ward
Jun 28, 08 7:07 am

oh, and cool you were there then, oldfogey. i know several others that were too. i'm sure we share some aquaintances.

Jun 28, 08 9:21 am

Looks like late Le Corbusier style as Composite Order--Villa Shodham meets Heidi Weber Pavilion meets Chandigarh tapestries.

What was the year of construction?

Evokes some memories of Graves' Syndermann House.

timothy sadler®
Jun 28, 08 10:14 am

It wasn't quite finished in 1990 when I graduated. I saw it finished to the point of having the interior bridges in but it didn't yet have the "volume boxes" - the white vinyl-siding interior volumes. I never saw any of the woodwork either - thanks for those photos. You're right Steven, this house is truly gorgeous, so glad to hear that someone is stepping up to take care of it.

The true rockstar engineering professor Peyman Jahed (one of the finest people on the planet) did the structural work on it, he would take people out there to look at it. I recall there were a number of people, students, who thought the school "owned" it - since our dean and profs were doing the work then they had the right to be out there whenever they wanted. I only went out there a couple of times, somewhere buried in a box is a picture of me standing in one of the cells of the brise-soleil. After the debacle with the owners (imagine driving up to your property only to see a line of dozens of cars stretching out of you driveway, blocking the road, dirt path into the site is now mud, with people hanging all over the structure, grilling, kegs of beer, frisbees, etc.) the Dean called everyone together and told us all to stay the hell away. They chained the gate but alas, entitled as we all were, the chain kept getting cut and people kept going out there, as long as I was a student there.

won and done williams
Jun 28, 08 10:31 am

why are these millers so damn fortunate and have such good taste?

brian buchalski
Jun 28, 08 11:11 am

it's because the millers are "top base runners"

vado retro
Jun 28, 08 11:36 am

my uncle who married my mom's sister is a miller. my dad's sister married a miller too. none of them own these cribs.

vado retro
Jun 28, 08 11:40 am

also the man who established the cummins foundation that brought all the high design to columbus indiana was named miller as well. there is money in heavy machinery kids. that monet that sold for 80 mil recently came from his collection i believe...

Mylarkid
Jun 28, 08 11:42 am

I'm a student at UK but the latest I've heard about the Miller House is that local architect Scott Guyon, former UK graduate has purchased the place. If this is true it's good to know it's in the right hands.
Jose lectured this spring at our school and one student asked how he felt about the current state/condition of the Miller House. Jose's comment seemed to state that , at a certain point you have to let things go. Overall, the house is amazing and the structural engineer is still a structures teacher at UK. cool house.

Sir Arthur Braagadocio
Jun 28, 08 12:02 pm

thanks for the images steven, especially DSC01191. think you just solved a stone meets wood detail on a staircase i am working on.

this is based solely on pictures, but of all the modernist homes i've seen, this may be the finest detailed home with raw materials. i'd almost call it "fine brutalism". there does not appear to be an un-detailed or standardized face in the home besides the ceiling, which is surely a modernist concept. i can see why you like it.

compare this with contemporary modern.

in place of the custom gridded steel railings you would use a mesh by GKD or Cambridge Architecturals, or even glass recessed in a Julius Blum channel. even better, you'd probably use something by 3-Form or Panelite.

the finished milllwork is made of the material it is, in place of say a pre-fab Italian kitchens.

even the steel connections are not "standard", see moment/non-moment connections in Architectural Graphic Standards.

you would probably use Fry-Reglet reveals and Schluter transition strips in place of these raw material thresholds and lines.

and don't forget structural glazing products

but wasn't that modernism major contribution to architecture.


Steven, being that you are a huge fan of drawing, I see why you really like this. and to keep in theme with drawings, what I can say thru experience that does not exist in 3D modeling is the direct correlation between the drawing method and the style of the finished home. this project in every way, especially the reveals in the wood paneling are a direct result of what i am going to call "modernist drafting".

the drawing below has been one my most exciting drawings i've done recently and took just as long as this rendering below, and it was just a survey.

in short, I think you may like this home because it is a fine expression of the"modernist drafting" method constructed with materials in a very pure philosophical way.






(the point i was trying to make in that other thread was if you forget about drawings you free yourself up from any stylistic pre-conception. (everything Peter Eisenman says is theory on one specific style of architecture))

Tim DoTim Do
Jun 28, 08 1:29 pm

i like how the main circulation integrates and enhances each of the spaces it winds through, almost making the circulation a room in and of itself.

silverlake
Jun 28, 08 3:45 pm

There's a great spread on it in American Masterworks.

I have fond memories of Jose from my time at OSU. He's a great resource for the school and a great person and architect. Its a shame he hasn't built more...

He did the French Embassy in Damascus which is very, very nice. Can't find any pics of it though.

Nam HendersonNam Henderson
Jun 28, 08 7:08 pm

Love the house...

Conway PedronConway Pedron
Jun 29, 08 5:15 pm

bob (mylarkid) is right.
I'm also a student at UK but have yet to go out there....
Scott Guyen and Clyde Carpenter went in on the house together and are currently trying to get more funding and stuff for repairs. there are alot of people that are working on it right now and trying to get it to the point where they can sell it. so if anyone out there has a few extra million sitting around.........


and yes. peyman is a rockstar. oh the tail he gets....

timothy sadler®
Jun 29, 08 6:50 pm

The school should use it as a guesthouse for all the alums they fly in from out of town... that's a good idea if I ever heard one!

Nam HendersonNam Henderson
Jun 29, 08 8:38 pm

OldFogey,
Would that include you?

timothy sadler®
Jun 29, 08 11:23 pm

What a thoughtful offer! When would you like me to fly in? :-)

(During the Keeneland spring meet, that's always a nice time to visit...)

Steven WardSteven Ward
Jun 30, 08 12:35 am

meta, there definitely is not an un-detailed or standardized face in the home - not even the ceiling. we made note of that while we were there. EVERY inch is resolved, every surface and intersection.

i would almost buy your comments about 'modernist drafting' except that, at least as i understand it, this is not exactly how this house worked out. the explanation to me was that there was no complete c.d. set. from that i have to speculate that there was a concrete set, there was some field observation that figured out the result, then there was a steel set, more field obs, another set adding another layer, etc. a lot of things appear to have been worked out in the field - but always with the bigger concept in mind. the spiral theme that runs through the house is (maddeningly/obsessively) seen at EVERY LEVEL of detail. a lot of field craft and cutting-and-fitting here, i'd guess.

---

scott guyon and michael speaks came out while we were there. the foundation to which i referred to was put together by guyon and he's now working on getting events going during the remainder of the cleanup/fixup. a uk studio was already out there last semester.

ksArcher
Jun 30, 08 5:37 am

I spent a day romping around inside the Miller House. I agree that it should be a more famous U.S. residence- few like it and very few done in this style (cubist modern?, Corbusian?) in our country. If it falls into ruin, maybe it will be 're'discovered before it gets totally destroyed, which would be good.

Sir Arthur Braagadocio
Jun 30, 08 8:24 am

so in the end is was slightly guided by vision?
(by the way steven i am giving up my whole drawing vs BIM theory, officially)

snook_dude
Jun 30, 08 12:15 pm

sounds like it needs some New Cannan Connecticut backers!

ether
Jun 30, 08 1:01 pm

definitely an impressive and beautifully details house. (unless i missed them from above) are there any drawings available, plans, sections, etc? It's pretty hard for me to get a sense of how the house is organized as well as a sense of scale. how big is this thing? it looks like it could be huge and yet some of the photos allude to it being very small intimate and compact.

Jun 30, 08 3:24 pm

"Ah, Detailotheca, the nimiety of detail museum."

"If only all architecture were so self-evident."

"I know. It never really was a house, was it?"

"True, but it's actually two museums."

"Ah yes, the Reenactment of Late Le Corbusier Style Museum as well."

Sir Arthur Braagadocio
Jun 30, 08 8:40 pm

nice Lauf, very nice.

outed
Jun 30, 08 8:47 pm

ether - the house was featured in an issue of GA Houses back just after it was built. that should have the most complete documentation that is probably available. let's see which issue....here -

2001 Miller House in GA Houses Special Masterpieces 1971-2000 Volume 2 Yukio Futagawa

prairie avenue books has it in stock - 57 clams.

outed
Jun 30, 08 8:50 pm

it was also the cover house for GA Houses #35. still in print, probably a little less money.

Kendall Starr
Jun 30, 08 8:52 pm

There was a pretty good article on the Miller House in the last Oxford American, I believe.

FRaC
Jun 30, 08 11:04 pm

william stout architectural books

GA Houses 35 for $35

i'd buy it but i'm broke

ether
Jul 1, 08 12:22 am

thanks for the heads up, folks!

Sean!
Jul 1, 08 10:51 am

SW:

thanks for sharing your pics, i've always wanted to Visit Miller house. how did you gain access to the structure, is it open to the public?

Steven WardSteven Ward
Jul 1, 08 2:08 pm

if you volunteer to help with cleanup, fixup, or, better yet, bring 20 kids willing to work hard, it's open. contact scott guyon's office to arrange.

Evan ChakroffEvan Chakroff
Jul 1, 08 5:28 pm

pretty amazing building. i worked with jose for a few months last year collecting, scanning, and archiving sketches, photos, and drawings....

the article in GA really just scratches the surface. those are definitely the best drawings that have been published, but they're not entirely accurate.

liberty bell
Jul 3, 08 1:10 am

I just went and saw it myself, peeking through the windows as it is not open and unoccupied. Watched some fireworks over it, too.

It's a masterpiece. As one of my two brilliant co-teachers said, it's like a piece of furniture that kept building up until it became a house.

Awesome. I want/need to get inside it.

WonderK
Jul 3, 08 3:05 am

I apparently grew up 90 miles away from this and didn't know it existed. Thanks for pointing this out Steven. It looks really amazing. And massive too, isn't it? Wow. Is it as imposing in person as it seems in the photos?

Fogey I didn't know you went to UK. I've got friends that graduated from there.....

nb072
Jul 3, 08 4:58 pm

so apparently kentucky has a lot more going for it than you might think. first i meet a couple of awesome young architects from kentucky, then i hear that one of my professors taught there, and now this. i think i might need to take a little trip down to this mini-architecture-mecca in the appalachians.

Steven WardSteven Ward
Jul 3, 08 5:12 pm

no appalachians around here, nic. it's all horse country between louisville and lexington: rolling bluegrass landscape. the mountains are farther east.

Steven WardSteven Ward
Jul 3, 08 5:24 pm

lb, we should try to arrange to go back when i'm back in. the outside is NOTHING compared to walking around inside.

vado retro
Jul 3, 08 5:32 pm

the kings thoughts on KeNtUcKy!

bothands
Jul 4, 08 11:17 pm

I know someone who worked on this with Obrerie...found that out years after having bought the GA Houses #35 on it.

Mylarkid
Jul 26, 08 1:33 am

Kentucky is hot watch out.

good news with the Miller House check out the new
Foundation for Advanced Architecture website!

http://www.thefoundationforadvancedarchitecture.org/index.html

off topic but also hot in Kentucky:

also there was a recent 48hr collaboration with UK students: Paul Pressiner, Heather Flood + Ramiro Diaz Granados, and local faculty Mike and Liz Swanson Mckay.

on the local Newspaper Website:
http://www.kentucky.com/211/story/467775.html

on suckerPUNCH:
http://suckerpunchdaily.com/kentucky.html

Mylarkid
Jul 26, 08 1:36 am

sorry should be stated "UK Students + ...."

Steven WardSteven Ward
Jul 26, 08 7:14 am

while the comments in the news article are ridiculous and funny, they are also a good/accurate indicaiton of what those fighting the centerpointe project are up against. hoo boy...

thanks for the foundation link, mylarkid! it may or may not note in that site that last semester the graduate class from uk developed a full measured set of documentation of the miller house.

Evan ChakroffEvan Chakroff
Aug 26, 08 6:11 pm

a little self promotion never hurt.... just posted my thoughts on the house to my school blog... a short essay i wrote last year while working for Jose organizing materials about the project. I'd be interested in your thoughts....

link

Steven WardSteven Ward
Aug 26, 08 9:12 pm

nice analysis.

the interior/central 'plaza' is still in evidence when you're there, though maybe not in the same location and form it started. between the two units behind the brise-soleil is the central platform that overlooks the fireplace and has a bench, a sink, a hotplate, and direct access to the large terrace, all making it very clearly a commons.

what do you know about the spirals? i'm obsessed with the spirals.

liberty bell
Aug 26, 08 9:31 pm

And the crazy sink with its plumbing hanging out in space, as Steven mentioned. What was that secondary kitchen space used for?

Two months of studying the drawings, concepts, and photographs...I wonder what your experience, Evan, would be like to now see the house in real life? I hope to hear that story whenever you get the chance to visit it.

Also, I'm intensely curious what the original site plan and approach to the house were intended to be. It's been radically altered now, as the surrounding land has been carved into salable suburban lots. I think there used to be a pond? I can't recall if the GA35 has the original site plan or not.


Steven WardSteven Ward
Aug 26, 08 9:40 pm

you can see a little bit more of the original configuration on google satellite images. the approach was from a completely different place than i had guessed when i was out there!

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