Case Study House Program, Problems and solutions – Partition, composition and hierarchy


From public to private …

  • Systematically the Case Study Houses adopt vis-à-vis protection attitude of the street or public domain.
  • Each time, they refuse any guidance on the street and turns her back systematically.
  • The side of the house facing the street is generally completely blind. The villas refuse any effect of openness and appear on the street in that they have no façade.
  • The villas are often separated from the public domain by a rear garden.
  • The dividing line between public space and the interior of the house is always clearly drawn.
  • This dividing line marking the boundary between the interior and exterior of the house never matches from end to end with the physical limit defining interior and exterior spaces of the house. Thus, some outdoor spaces can be found back towards the inside of the house (thus forming yards, patios etc …), others can be discharged to the outside though covered (such as porches for example). This issue will be thorough about the “spatial diversity”.

The individual and shared…

  • This partition is also systematically established in HSCs.
  • Usual, this partition is not in the case of the Case Study Houses, treated as a true separation day – night; but rather as a boundary between usability spaces, social, individual spaces and personal life.
  • This score is expressed in different ways. Distribution and typology of the project are used to establish a clear distinction between these spaces. The boundary between these two types of space is usually treated radically different from that between the public and privately. This limit is not usually treated as a line of thin and opaque but sharing via internal or external buffer spaces.

Examples: CSH # 3 Wurster & Bernardi, # 4 Rapson # 20 of Neutra

Equipment and functional living spaces…

  • This partition is similar but different from a partition type used – served.
  • This organization between amenities and living areas are generally treated by the Case Study Houses differently from usual spatial partition. Because it does not refer to a line between two types of space but rather between what is about space and what the order of the function. So this is finally a partition distinguishing what is around the area of what is not.
  • And services are covered here often completely minimum and condensed manner. They are either dense, opaque cores, or they take into space a completely floating status and furniture.

Examples: CSH # 22 of Koenig # 16 of Ellwood…

Protected ou exposed…

  • This differenciation means the spaces according to their relations with the outside.
  • It distinguishes the open spaces to the outside of protected areas and declined.
  • This is a radically different designation of the physical boundary between interior and exterior spaces.
  • This partition is not systematically addressed in all the Case Study Houses. Protected areas are available along the limit private – public.
  • It thereby provides a typical organization in the Case Study Houses based on the sequence of spaces: Street / outdoor areas / Protected areas / spaces exposed / Environment.

Examples: CSH # 22 of Koenig, # 20 Buff Straub and Hensman, # 16 of Ellwood


Grid :

  • The Case Study Houses are mostly from a composition screened.
  • The frame is not used as a systematic and binding tool. It refers to a process. Instead of using a form that is creating broken symmetry, axes, inversions, work is more in an additive logic around elements structuring the project.
  • The frame is resilient, it spreads endlessly. It is egalitarian, does not favor any a priori point, no convergence.
  • The frame is ad hoc and repetitive. System applied to the structure gives the frame. All Case Study Houses use a structural frame system.

Examples: All CSH / Counter-example: Eames & Saarine

  • The frame supports the modules use.

Axes :

  • In most cases, the composition of the villas are structured around one or two axes.
  • All spaces are articulated on these axes by hanging onto it.
  • These axes composition then generally carry the traffic. But this is completely implicitly because most often in the Case Studies, circulations are not characterized, the space being completely worked smoothly and continuity.
  • It should be noted that in most cases the villas are on one floor. Thus all of these partitions are marked only in one plane and the houses of the composition is completely horiz

Example: CSH # 16 Ellwood Ellwood # 18, # 24 Jones & Emmons / Counter-example: Koenig

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