Paul Rudolph is known for his intensity and his consistent use of complex floor plans which is evident in this residence as much as in his other buildings. The planning of this house beckoned a new design methodology for Rudolph, one about a rigid modular organizational system. The spatial variety and satiation of vertical and horizontal spaces are differentiated by frames, walls and floors which are extended to create varying volumes according to program. In this example, spatial organization has overpowered structural organization, and the design is thoughtfully considered first by the uses of space.
The following is from "Four Current Projects by Paul Rudolph." Architectural Record 129 (March 1961): 140.
Massive brises -soleils frame a glass and concrete block ocean-facing façade in a sculptural arrangement. The house is organized around levels that flow from one to another. Unlike many oceanfront residences, Milam House is practically sealed off from the ocean, which is amply visible through multi-story windows. The building includes only an incidental ocean-facing porch, which is accessible from the master bedroom by way of an exterior staircase.
"In the Milam beach house, essentially a series of platforms, the floor plane drops to form an extended conversation pit in the living area, rises to create a platform for dining, and four risers higher becomes and inglenook defined by a low parapet. The second floor plane is continuous as a floor but is interrupted to permit more than half of the living space below to extend to the roof. A mezzanine overlooking the living-dining area adds a pleasant spatial complication as does the dropped roof deck which creates a lowered ceiling over the inglenook to make a cozy group around the fire even cozier."
According to Rudolph, in this house one locates oneself according to mood. 'The inglenook offers a nest, the two story portion of the living-dining space provides a goldfish bowl, and the far end of the living area is a cave.'
Rudolph states that 'modules are not necessarily applicable to houses...the modular building concept is applied many times where it doesn’t have much meaning.'"
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