Bethany Patch’s Architects’ Homes examines the homes architects build for themselves, arguing that “architects use the design of their own homes both as a design experiment and as a representation of their own beliefs and ideals” (pg. 7). The book contains what Patch believes to be “a small segment of the designs that result from a successful collaboration between the architect as the designer and the architect as the owner” (pg. 9).
Architects’ Homes contains photographs and descriptions of the homes, including the materials used and the architects’ wants and needs. The styles and locations of the home vary widely. Many of the homes have distinctive tastes and serve as family homes while also being pieces of art, in a sense. The architects have put themselves into these projects in a way they cannot in their work for clients. As both architect and client, the owners of these homes have taken great care in the materials, layouts, and elements they include in their plans. Most of the homes are also well-suited to their surroundings. For example, the McKinley Resident in Southern California, owned and designed by David Hertz, fits nicely into its context. It is at once modern and modular with elements of a traditional beach house. There is an outdoor shower to use after going to the beach, as well as countless windows “to take advantage of the abundant Californian light and cool ocean breeze” (pg. 108). In keeping with California priorities, the house includes recycled woods and runs on solar energy for electricity, hot water, and heating (there is no air conditioning because of the cross-ventilation created by all the windows). Many of the houses similarly fit into their environments and locations, while also being distinctive for the architect’s particular tastes.
Providing an in-depth look at the homes architects design for themselves, Architects’ Homes supplies insights into architects’ processes and personal tastes. While the job of the architect is to serve the client, how does that change when the architect is the client? Does it make the process more difficult or easier? How do their priorities and styles differ when it comes to their own homes? These are fascinating questions raised by Architects’ Homes which the book only begins to explore, but there can be little doubt as to the uniqueness of these buildings and the fact that, to the architects, they are much more than any other house they might design – they are home.