Architect Inspiration

My Friday studio ended early as we were invited to join another studio's lecture by local architect Mark McInturff. While I have never really considered myself to be interested in residential design, within minutes I was captivated by Mark's presentation and his thoughts on approaching architecture. He also has done several projects in Georgetown, so of course I was sitting there trying to locate the homes from my memory of the outlying residences.

Firstly, I was reminded of my summer 504 studio, in which we each had to design a form with one of four concepts: rotation, shift, extension and intersection. Similarly, Mark has his own set of conceptual words such as separating, sizing, stacking and sleaving - but what he does is use these words to integrate the old (house) with the new (additions). It was pretty incredible to see his process as often times he's taking a historic row house that's almost 100 years old, and fusing it with something extremely contemporary. His design approach definitely underlines the importance of reuse, and I think my heart fluttered when he said his favorite thing to do was design something tiny (now if only he could impart some of that wisdom on the residents of Orange County - a few of my parents' neighbors come to mind...).

I came home completely inspired and had to peruse his website so I could take another look at some of his projects - which I have now "borrowed" to show one of my favorites...

The house is literally steps from Georgetown's campus, above the Exxon station on M St. and the "Exorcist Stairs."

The remodel led to an amazing view of the Key Bridge stretching over the Potomac.

You would never know this house looked like this from the front - it's a row house that blends in with all the others on the block (okay, I also think it has a more contemporary paint palette, but still...).

Mark McInturff is a visiting professor at Catholic, and apparently he, in conjunction with another professor at school, teaches an advanced studio in the fall that has a week-long "field trip" to another country to study historical architecture and how it has been incorporated into the modernized city. Definitely a course I'll be hoping to take while here.

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