Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Family Houses, I to XII – Hugo Haring


Haring-Family-IV To an architect, a floor plan is like a musical score—all the information is there if you know what to look for, and how to read it [and here’s a site offering some assistance].  It both records and generates the whole work.

The plan, as one architect used it say, is the generator.

Back in 1950, German architect Hugo Haring began investigating options for a simple, compact, three-to-five bed family house, a European urban house, mind, with a cellar; entrance court; bicycle store; kitchen; dining; one, two, and sometimes three bathrooms; and both with and without an artist’s studio.  These twelve floor plans were the fruits of his study.
Haring-Family-V Each house had essentially the same elements, sometimes with one or two removed, but each time with the raw ingredients rearranged and placed in a new relationship to the other—each house growing out of the last.

They are all arranged with north at the top, and south at the bottom (the direction, in the northern hemisphere, of the sun.)  Haring draws his door openings as simple lines, whether swinging doors or sliding) and he draws his storage units, with which he gives his houses ample supply, as a rectangle with a cross.

Haring-Family-VI As a set, they are very much of their time and place, but they are a wonderful demonstration of the variety available even in relative simplicity.

The first three (at the top) are completely orthogonal.  Then they begin breaking out, with the first sign being an angled bay in the south-west bedroom of House III, offering different views in a larger space, and helping to define and protect a small outside sitting space.

Since the representations of all twelve are very similar, it might help if I quote Peter Blundell-Jones’s description of House I, from page 154 of his excellent  book on Haring, from whence these plans derive.


Haring-Family-VII The first plan, completely orthogonal, has is entry in the middle of the north side with a large store adjacent for bicycles.  South of this is a block of service rooms comprising kitchen, bathroom and WC, which opens into a long eastern terrace and the living room onto a contained garden area to the south.  Bedrooms with north-headed beds are placed at the south-east corner, and the north-lit studio to the north-west.  A retaining wall running south off the bedroom wall contains a level drop of about half a storey at the south-east corner. Lines suggesting low walls complete a couple of larger rectangles at both ends, defining outdoor living areas.”

Haring-Family-VIII The other eleven, presented here in order, flow more or less from that first arrangement, all of them representing a beautifully humane way of living.





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