Liminal House Game board Models and Concept Images. The game board models allow a client to choose the number of inhabitants, and then may arrange the pieces to suit his preference. The house can suit 1 to 6 people. It is simply a matter of how many room / courtyard modules the homeowner needs. The pieces are precomposed with an indoor room and an attached outdoor space. These modules are arranged on a grid in a contained, yet flexible, manner that allows the homeowner to create the spaces they desire.
Bedroom perspective showing sleeping nook with cherry tree courtyard.
Section of living room, courtyard, and bath. Exterior wall around property is partitioned so that it can be either open, closed or in-between, depending on the homeowner's need for privacy or breeze. (enlarge for better details)
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Section through bedroom and courtyard. Liminal House as a Prototype: Traditionally architects published house designs which were intended to be copied and used as models to propose architectural ideas. They could be visionary, prescriptive and pure. These prototypical houses contained ideas basic enough to repeat; they had consistent spatial, aesthetic and construction vocabulary, but with possible variations. Their order was tied to a larger consistent idea. (enlarge for better details.)
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Various plan permutations : House for 1-2 people Using a tartan grid and the same 3 room / courtyard modules, the diagrams show the various arrangements possible in a flexible yet contained site. The modules are bedroom / trees, living room with kitchen / fire, bathroom / water. The orange line represents possible circulation routes. (enlarge for better details)
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Plan Options: Courtyards drive placement on the tartan grid. The "L" shaped walls (thick stacked stone) define the spaces and contain program elements such as closets/appliances. Each room has an attached courtyard.
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Plan of Liminal House and Diagrams of options for more occupants. In the plan above, the liminal spaces are found at the point where the building and courtyard meet. The kitchen table is contained in a niche next to the pool. The bed has a pop-out that pushes it into the small grouping of cherry trees. From the bed one can view the stars and change of seasons as the trees bloom and leaves fall. A shower is held in the thick wall and has a full view of a private garden, evoking the sense of an outdoor shower. (enlarge for better details)
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The construction uses steel angles (Corbusier's Le Brevet system was a precedent), evoking the ephemeral quality of a tent. The enclosure (steel, glass, wood) is anchored to the stone wall, as if the wall was present long before the habitation of the site. In its most basic version, the Liminal House accommodates a single person with permutations that are capable of housing a family of 6.
Exterior view from street of the Limial House with all wooden shutters up/closed.
Liminal House: Model Images Clear in its diagrammatic intention, structural order, materials and relationship with the land, this house can have many specific arrangements while remaining pure. This is neither an affordable housing problem, or a house to please everyone, but my personal essay on dwelling and construction.

PROGRAM: There are many publications dedicated to house design, usually related to one-of-a-kind houses for specific conditions and owners. This suggests that architecture is a luxury that does not contribute significantly to our broader culture. Most Americans who want to build a house do not hire an architect, but refer to house plan books that offer numerous designs lacking order and distinction and no rational system of arrangement or expansion.
CONCEPT: A house is a place to reconnect with our place in the world. As humans, our connection to nature - from watching the stars at night to listening to a passing storm - helps to relax our minds & restore our spirits. My most powerful memories of dwelling are of liminal spaces - areas not quite inside, nor completely outside. Each of the primary living spaces has an activity that occurs in a liminal space (eating, sleeping, bathing...)

Kristin Hawk
Architectural Designer Wilmington, NC