Charles Moore Moore House

Source: Charles Moore por Gerald Allen. Editoral Gustavo Gil Date of Construction: 1962Location: Orinda, California
Date: April 20, 2023 Category: Classic

Charles Moore’s house in Orinda, California, was designed and built in 1962. Light enters through the pavilions, the interior of which is painted white; through the upper part of the main roof, which is painted dark, and therefore has little light; and through the corners of the house, with sliding doors leading to the oak forest outside. Next to one of them is the piano, in what the architect describes as “a kind of exciting situation of danger”.

Its forms clearly derive from primitive huts and Mayan or Hindu temples – not to mention Louis I. Kahn’s famous Trenton Bath Houses – and Moore makes it clear that when he did the project he was thinking in broader terms and in the past. “A few years earlier, a bulldozer had prepared the ground for a flat, circular building, on which grass had since begun to grow, grass, which now seemed part of its natural environment, like those perfectly circular meadows that made the medieval Chinese poets meditate on perfection.” Free, since he was unmarried, from most practical constraints, Moore revelled in this freedom and in the search for a primitive, mythical idea of home of a primitive, mythical house.

The interior of the house is arranged around two separate pavilions, called “aediculae” by Moore and his colleagues: “a modern version of a canopy” lit by skylights and each supported by four round columns.

The exterior walls of the house are not at any of its corners, and the roof is built on a square of beams resting on them. The roof is also supported by the columns of the pavilions. On the ground are the eight columns, fixed parts of the outer walls, and some inner walls with shelves; and everything necessary for the kitchen; these walls also delimit the bathroom. The beds are placed on both sides of a large shelf between the two pavilions. The furniture can be arranged in different ways under and around the larger pavilion. In the smaller pavilion there is a floor-mounted bathtub with a shower, a reminder of the once public bathing ritual, here freed from the conventional, corseted bathroom


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