Heavy Metal House: Channeling Richard Neutra & Cliff May

Architect: Hufft Projects
Location: Joplin, MO, USA
Principals in Charge: Matthew Hufft, Kimball Hales
Design Team: Dan Brown, Adam Crowley, Jonathan Tramba
Area: 6,800 sqm
Completion: July 2010

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This steel and concrete home relates so well to the low-slung, horizontal idiom of Richard Neutra coupled with the rough-hewn, natural texture of Cliff May…

Heavy Metal draws its name, and it’s straight forward industrial aesthetic, from the custom perforated steel panels which form the envelope of the residence. More than 200 in total, each panel has a unique set of perforations based on a simple set of programmatic responses to interior and exterior conditions, which are scrutinized to determine where privacy (opacity) is most critical and where openness (transparency) is desired… generating the residence’s signature façades.

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Heavy Metal’s plan is a variation on a traditional courtyard, with a large outdoor space bound on two sides by the steel and glass façade, via Neutra. The central living/dining area acts as the heart of the residence, with its increased ceiling height and warm walnut ceilings.

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This central space is flanked by two wings containing guest bedrooms and the master suite, respectively, which act to define the edges of the private courtyard retreat, while a large photo studio anchors the transition between the three main spaces, completing the L-shaped plan. The lightness of Heavy Metal’s perforated exterior steel skin in conjunction with the monolithic concrete walls, exposed structural steel, warm rich walnut, and large expanses of glass give the home a distinctively classic modernist character.

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