In his autobiography, Frank Lloyd Wright wrote, "I have been black and blue in some spot, somewhere, almost all my life from too intimate contacts with my own furniture." It's a telling glimpse into his — and really many other architects' — complex relationship with the concepts of comfort and 'home.' Homes are architecture at its most elemental — they're shelter and safe haven. In another sense, they're architecture at its most imperfect — a home is subject to the mess of day-to-day life in a way that even the messiest office isn't, and a home is more vulnerable than say, a museum, to the changing needs and desires of its inhabitants.
Whatever they might say in their press materials, very few architects rank comfort or homie-ness as their primary goal (as evidenced by the continually beautiful but stark portfolios we see on their websites). Yet many talented designers — even some who are past the point of having to take residential commissions for a paycheck — continue to explore the compelling and complex idea of home in their work.
Many of them make their most memorable buildings when they're designing for real-life people (sometimes themselves) who live day-to-day in their spaces. Here are 15 residential architects that Apartment Therapy writers have admired.
- Architect Portfolio: Richard Neutra Residences
- Architect Portfolio: Alvar Aalto Residences
- Designer Portfolio: Remment "Rem" Koolhaus
- Designer Portfolio: Peter Behrens
- Terunobu Fujimori: Architect of Small & Spiritual Spaces
- The Family Home of Architect Erno Goldfinger
- Chelsea Pied-a-Terre by Michael Rubin Architects
- Frank Lloyd Wright's Palmer House
- 2009 Pritzker Prize Laureate: Peter Zumthor!
- 2008 Pritzker Prize Winner: Jean Nouvel
- Jeanne Gang's Brick Weave House
- Olle Lundberg's Sonoma Escape
- Philip Johnson's Glass House
- Mies van der Rohe's Farnsworth House
- Private Residence by Maya Lin
Photos: (1) Triangle Modernist Houses, (2) Aaron Able, (3) Hans Werlemann, (4) Storfix licensed for use under Creative Commons, (5) Screenshot from Terunobu Fujimori, Tokyo, Japan - Beetle’s House from Victoria and Albert Museum on Vimeo, (6) NTPL/Dennis Gilbert, (7) World Architecture, (8) The Palmer House, (9) Marloes Faber, (10) 40 Mercer via New York Magazine, (11) Steve Hall, Hedrich Blessing, (12) Lundberg Design, (13) Alena, (14) Matthew Shallenberger, (15) Maya Lin