San Jose, California presents an interesting case study of the ranch house type’s evolution over time from an alternative space of mid-century Modernism’s open plan and mass customization to a contemporary type best characterized by differences in compositional expressions rather than any uniform spatial or formal order. In other words, while many residential types reveal a consistent organizational and compositional ideal, the ranch house exhibits non-ideal, non-uniform, and informal spataial and formal compositions within a basic 1-story broad-faced massing. This makes the front facade of the ranch house type - framed between the low-lying roof and the ‘flatness’ of the ground - a primary medium of architectural expression and differentiation. In the ranch house type window sizes and locations are variables, roofs and walls seem to move indpendently of eachother, doors can be recessed or even ‘hidden’ from the frontal view, and elements such as chimney’s do not require a specific location to remain legible as a ranch house type.
For this front room addition a new entry is ‘carved’ into the massing with intersecting barrel vaults. This stereotomic carving of a mass transitions into the expression of a wall plane that detaches from the foundation and rests on a cut stone. The new roof is elongated to create additional surface area for solar panels and a faux chimney enhances the residential expression. In plan, the corners of the addition cascade, or step, as they recede to create frontal views for each room while disrupting the typical ‘rectangle’ plan of a ranch house.
_Front addition to a 1-story ranch house
_San Jose, CA.
_Expected Constrction: 2022/23 (currently in Design Development)
_As Built plan provided by client: Robot Vacuum plan!