Designers: Jackilin Hah Bloom, Florencia Pita
Team: Leila Khododad, Esra Durukan
Structural Engineer: Sergio Barrios
On October 12, 1938, Frank Lloyd Wright submitted an application to the United States Patent Office for a “new, original, and ornamental Design for a Dwelling”. The application was accompanied by two drawings – a perspective view of the dwelling showing flat roofs and slatted facades (fig. 1), and a top, plan view drawing. The plan drawing shows a pinwheel arrangement of four rooftops separated by crossing walls, and at the bottom of the page, Frank Lloyd Wright is indicated as “inventor” (fig. 2). The patent was granted and issued in April of 1939. At some point that year, Otto Tod Mallery commissioned Wright to build a prototype house for his Suntop Homes development in Ardmore, Pennsylvania. It was better known as The Ardmore Experiment but was referred to as “quadruple house” or the “quadruple home” by Frank Lloyd Wright and it was part of Wright’s ongoing ideas about affordable group dwellings, assembled around a central point. Although Mallery built one dwelling out of the set of four, and the patent was only effective for seven years, Wright regarded the built unit as a model for his future housing projects.
In our project for a low-income dwelling in rural Mexico, the idea of the “quadruple house” is reintroduced not only as a notion to group together dwellings for extended family units, but also to formulate an idea about housing expansion in a rural territory through circular zoning. To respond to the way in which a family in rural Mexico would add-on to an existing small house, our project starts with crossing concrete block party walls and a single house in one quadrant. This is unlike Wright’s quadruple scheme, which was about the initial co-existence of four units. The open quadrants in our project are therefore defined as outdoor spaces to accommodate lifestyles of rural Mexican families – such as dining, clothes washing, gardening and playing, and the concrete block walls provide a backdrop for these activities through their figural outlines. Additional dwellings could replace up to two other outdoor quadrants for a total of three houses and a single shared outdoor quadrant. As the property is defined by its center where the adjoining corners of the cross-walls meet, the rest of the property extends radially into the agricultural plot. Multiple circular zones of homes are envisioned to allow for expansive massing surrounded by rural landscape. Frank Lloyd Wright’s “invention” of the quadruple house arrangement provides new ways to consider group housing and domestic living, which is taken as a precedent in our project for a house in rural Mexico.