A few years ago my wife Claudia Rosa-López and I led a group of students from Polytechnic University in documenting this house. With their set of drawings they earned a Third Place award at Peterson Prize, sponsored by the Historic American Building Survey of National Park Service. Today, the students’ drawings can be accessed at the Library of Congress site through this link: https://www.loc.gov/item/pr1528/
Built about 1860 and designed by French immigrant architect Juan Bertoli Calderoni, Casa Vives in Ponce, Puerto Rico is an outstanding example of a 19th-century Puerto Rican urban residence with commercial spaces on the ground floor and residential spaces above.
This is a set of drawings I often made when I taught a course on History of Modern Architecture at Polytechnic University in Puerto Rico.
Designed by David Adjaye (in collaboration with Philip Freelon and Smithgroup) and completed in 2016.
The museum exhibits are divided into two general areas, contemporary culture and the history and vicissitudes of African Americans. The contemporary are displayed at the main volume — a glazed cube protected by the bronze architectural scrim that forms the ’corona’; the main volume visible from the National Mall. In contrast, the historical exhibits are gracefully displayed deep underground — not as if hiding them — but as a powerful remembrance of what — still to this day — lies buried deeply in American History.
The surrounding landscape was designed by Gustafson, Guthrie & Nichol of GGN. The grounds not only becomes a plinth where the museum rests but also creates a solemn space to reflect on what was viewed inside.
Designed in 1967 by architect Louis I. Kahn and finished in 1972 in collaboration with landscape architects Harriet Pattison and George Patton; and structural engineer August Komendant.
The museum can be accessed through either the lawn and the beautiful mass of yaupon hollies trees out in the entrance courtyard or the rear parking lot (to the East) one story below the main floor.
Either way you enter, the spatial sequence of the building is magnificently clearly laid out.
The museum is comprised of 16 parallel halls covered by 20 feet wide by 100 feet long post-tensioned reinforced concrete shells (or vaults). Each thin vault is supported by four reinforced concrete columns which can be visible throughout the building.
Entrance courtyard with yaupon hollies and opened porches that overlook the water pools.
Main vestibule looking towards the northern courtyard and main stairs connecting to the Eastern vestibule.
The interior curving shells have light slots that allows for natural light to enter the galleries. Stainless steel reflectors bounce the natural light difuminating it throughout the curving vaults illuminating the gallery interiors with a soft well-distributed natural light.
I was recently selected to present a paper on Field Notes during the Vernacular Architectural Forum, which took place the first week of June in Durham, North Carolina. As part of the event – as it is customarily – there are two intense days of touring around preselected areas to experience first hand vernacular examples and communities.
Here are a few sketches I made during those days.
West Grove Friends Meeting House (1915) Snow Camp, Alamance County
Old Brick Church [Clapp Church] (1813 original, reconstruction ca. 1840-1946)
Spatial axonometric, floor plan and section of Old Brick Church [Clapp Church] (1813 original, reconstruction ca. 1840-1946)
Mendenhall Store; Jamestown, Guilford County
Mendenhall Barn; Jamestown, Guilford County
O’Briant Grocery Store, 613 Holloway St.
Lloyd House (1956); 126 Nelson St.