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Art Brings a New Experience to Modern Home Exteriors
Sculptures and paintings on a home's exterior can create impact and interest before anyone even steps inside
Houzz Contributor. I am an architect and writer living in New York City. I have Bachelor of Architecture and Master in Urban Planning degrees, and over ten years experience in architectural practice, split between Chicago and NYC. Currently I'm focused on writing and online pursuits. My daily blog can be found at http://archidose.blogspot.com
Houzz Contributor. I am an architect and writer living in New York City.... More »
Modern residential architecture is often described as museum-like. Minimalist white walls and spaces make them like galleries waiting for artwork to adorn their walls. But what about the exteriors of modern houses? How does art relate to the outside? What sort of art is appropriate? This ideabook will take a shot at answering these questions.
The most obvious answer is that modern residential architecture should be adorned with modern art, especially abstract or nonfigurative art. This trio of Constantin Brancusi–esque sculptures mingles with the trees and stands out against the plain walls of the residence.
Abstract art can also serve to influence one's perspective on a house, such as the rectangular wooden frame that fronts this house. It frames one's view of the house on approach, paralleling the frame of a car windshield.
A sculpture by the front door is a particularly effective way of celebrating entry to a house. This bird sculpture is a playful way of saying hello that is perfectly located in front of the black wall.
Kinetic sculptures are particularly nice, like contemporary weather vanes. Here it should be noted that the view of art from a house is just as important as the view of it with the house as a backdrop. This kinetic sculpture is carefully sited to take advantage of views through the full-height glazing.
This giraffe is a great example of something seen from the house. It must be wonderful to look outside and see the orange sculpture craning its neck above the surrounding plantings.
Some art may be, um, questionable in form, but even this sculpture highlights considerations of placement. Sited between the walkway and the water, the sculpture is meant to be seen from all sides.
Easily the single most popular form of modern sculpture on Houzz is the sphere, often in multiples. These rusty balls of various sizes (made by H. Keith Wagner) are a playful way of activating the space between the two buildings.
More spheres can be found outside this house in Portland, Oregon. Again, they seem to be appropriate in a space between buildings.
No place is off limits for art, as these abstract figures squeezed (appropriately) into a small light well illustrate.
Is outdoor art limited to sculpture? Of course not, as this painting shows. (The third photo, the one with the bird near the front door, also features an entryway painting.)
Last is this sliding door in Austin, Texas. Artist Susan Wallace crafted a piece that is integral to the architecture yet stands out from it, a great precedent for incorporating art into architecture from the outset.
Ideabook published on Jan. 15, 2013.
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