Wallace Cunningham, once a student in Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin Fellowship, is one of the most effective contemporary architects to integrate built and natural environment. With Harmony House, Cunningham elevated that perspective to encompass the sky and its component, shadow.
As offered by Architectural Digest:
As a structure, the 10,000-square-foot house is not made of walls and ceilings but of piers and beams, staggered in plan and stacked atop each other in the roof. Glass fills the gaps between the segments, defining the membrane between inside and out. “My clients wanted to feel as though they were living outside, so I devised a simple three-dimensional construction system, like the tower of cards children build, to play with the idea of what’s enclosed and what’s not,” says Cunningham. As in Japanese houses, he brings overhangs well beyond the perimeter of the interior spaces, to form sheltered outdoor areas. “The architectural projections that frame the landscape also shape outdoor rooms,” he says. “They actually define as much exterior as interior space.”
After all was said, built and remembered, the clients did not name the house after a distant place. They call it Harmony. “They say that it’s harmonious with the view and the environment, that the house is at rest,” says Cunningham. “But it also goes back to my portrait of them. They’re ordered, and they have a sureness about them. I built the house to reflect their calm.”