Willem Bogardus

MArch I

Big Roof, Little Roof 

Advised by Sean Canty

Toward the end of the 19th century, American architects figured out how to have fun. The houses of the briefly ascendent Shingle Style took full and unapologetic advantage of the Gilded Age’s gaudy romanticism. The cedar shingle, a humble outgrowth of vernacular necessity, could wrap uninterrupted around the most anomalous architectural features: conic rooflets, spiraling towers, and walls that bend out of sheer. However, the Shingle Style’s joyful hubris occasionally propelled it too close to the sun. As Gable wings grew in number, span, and geometric sophistication, it proved difficult to replicate the kineticism of their massing in plan. Plans became simply too deep. 

A look inside of Shingle Style houses reveals a brazen attempt at resolving their unsustainable depth. Here we find the inglenook, a semi-enclosed and ornately paneled seating area around a central hearth, often at the back end of the massive entry hall around which houses of the period revolved. The inglenook’s stolid desire for intimacy contrasts pleasingly with the grandeur of the Shingle Style exterior. By placing the house’s programmatic lynchpin at its most vulnerable point, Shingle Style architects seem to be staring us down across the intervening century and a half, inviting us to pick up where they left off.  

My thesis seeks to bring the geometric implications of the Shingle Style to a sustainable resolution, thereby helping American housing rediscover its sense of fun. 

Blue background and white drawing