Our idea was to make an artist’s house and studio complex that can be easily installed on a site in the West Texas high desert. The views are relatively un-obstructed, and the house is designed to bring as much of the view inside as possible. The structure is intended to support a life both active and contemplative: reading, writing, painting, outdoor activities, socializing all have designated area. In addition, we wanted to dedicate entire exterior walls to the “function” of pure image: images drawn from a palette of painting fragments can be digitally printed on the metal cladding of the two solid end walls, creating startling imagistic interventions in the otherwise predominantly horizontal landscape – a house merged with a billboard, something glimpsed from a passing car. The house becomes an image in the landscape; an image inside of an image, like a small painting inset into a larger one.
The design concept began by looking at a modular element that fits inside of shipping containers, that can also be combined to create pleasingly proportioned living spaces. The basic production module size is 4’ x 8’, which can be expanded into a structural framework of 12’ x 24’. This framework can in turn be combined and multiplied to create generous living spaces: one, two, or three bedrooms, living/dining room, kitchen, study, bathrooms, covered outdoor space, or a mixture of all programs.
Ultimately, we created two different modules that would house the various elements of the house’s program: the “wet” areas and the “dry” areas. The wet module contains the kitchen, which shares a structural wall with the bathrooms and laundry. The wet modules have a spine of plumbing and electrical services that support the adjacent dry modules.
The house is comprised of three modules – two dry and one wet, measuring 36’ x 24’, or 846 sf. The two dry modules consist of the living/dining room, and the bedroom/study area.
The roofline of the manufactured house is equally important as the modularity. Tilting the roof upwards toward north allows for a large area of solar panels, which will generate enough energy to power the house. In addition to the solar component, a rainwater collection system will receive any rainfall, and channel it to cisterns for storage. The angled roofline allows interior ceiling heights to reach a full 11’, and the up-tilted roof overhang enhances the feeling of modernity. Billboard House is a modest sized dwelling with an expansive, outward directed sense of place.
Designed in collaboration with David Salle.