Scandinavian House | NC Modernist Houses | B+O Design
Written By: Scott Ogden
“Architects live and die by the images taken of their work; as these images alone are what people see. For every one person who visits a private house, there may be ten thousand who only view it as a photo.”
-Julius Shulman, father of modern architectural photography in LA throughout the 40’s to the 80’s.
This sentiment couldn’t be more true with Pinterest, Houzz, and design blogs and plan websites as the prime way many people ‘shop’ for home ideas, be they full residential designs, spatial ideas, new materials/colors, or objects such as furniture, appliances or lighting.
Many of Shulman’s images are the reason that architects like Charles & Ray Eames, Richard Neutra, Rudolf Schindler, Pierre Koenig and others became household names after WWII. There’s a great documentary about him; (Visual Acoustics; The Modernism of Julius Shulman– which is available on AmazonPrime and sometimes shows on PBS and Sundance Channel) http://www.juliusshulmanfilm.com/
In eleven or so years here in Wilmington, our office, B + O design studio, has developed a specialty of designing custom, contemporary, ‘green’ houses and buildings. As an architect and landscape architecture firm on the coast, we get to work on some wonderful, unique sites and neighborhoods in North Carolina. These are one-off, special residential buildings that need some planning and thoughtfulness in terms of capturing those photos that take it from the owner’s day-to-day, intimate use and understanding to sharing as spaces that communicate & encourage others to think ‘outside the box’- even if it is in actuality still a rectangular volume.
It’s also fun to document the process. Working with an architect is much different from that of a design/build/development or buying stock home plans; the process creates the product and each result is as different as the specific site and the arrangement of rooms & spaces of the program. This image is a GIF of an early rough perspective rendering of the house, bled into the house as finished.
Shulman had the luxury of LA’s mountains & Palm Springs deserts for the contrast of houses with clean lines to jagged mountains, exotic landscapes & sandy vistas. We’re in a flat relatively urbanized coastal plain with less distinctive natural topography, but when the subject, a simple grey & white box (that’s been nicknamed the ‘Scandinavian House’) is juxtaposed to the surroundings, the uniqueness of the architecture can stand out. Given that Wrightsville Beach is known for simple salt-box & mid-Atlantic vernacular forms, having the two adjacent houses in this shot shows contrast and difference at all levels. Windows (black vs. white), (big vs. single), trim (none vs picture framing), siding (lines/texture vs. flatness), accent color (grey vs white), Roof (flat vs. pitched), etcetera.