Anne and Eric V. Brown Residence (1949, 1950)

Kalamazoo, Michigan
HW #58

The black pitched roof overhangs past the supporting concrete masonry, overpowering the concrete blocks underneath. In contrast to the previous houses, where the concrete formed the primary mass, with wood roof being the secondary form interacting with the concrete, the front façade discreetly hides the entrance with the overhang and reveals the concrete sparingly, much like the stepped back, “hidden” pillars that Wright uses in his Prairies style houses to give the impression of a floating roof. Concrete block of chimney peeks up from the roof.

The pitch of the roof is expressed on the interior, opening up the living room and heightening the room where the ceiling meets the chimney. (b) The wood batten running the length of the ceiling meet on a diagonal angle with the batten running the width of the ceiling, reinforcing the eye to the pitch of the room. The pattern in the concrete blocks stay pretty much regular but the rhythm is thrown off with half a square at certain instances. The composition of cypress, concrete and light create a beautifully lit, warm space. Most of the original furniture was kept. The open living room connects to a kitchen, which leads to a narrow hallway leading to the private rooms, the house forming a L plan.

On the back façade facing the lake, the concrete exposes itself as the ground lowers itself, sloping downwards towards the water below. (c) The concrete tiles on balcony are continued onto the living room floor, connecting the interior with the exterior, separated by large windows. The overhang cantilevers out slightly over the balcony and casts a shadow over the recessed windows, with the roof appearing to hover over the concrete blocks.