The internet is getting weird again and I, for one, am here for it.
Navigating the manifolds and hyper-surfaces of Large Language Models has brought with it a joyous, pub-table-thumping pleasure in declaring the likelihood that intelligence is purely pattern recognition, language is everything and all you need is text.
It’s a mood – a vibe, even – that reminds you how much can be done, how much *was* done with a few words, html code and somewhere to put it that belonged to you.
In this spirit, I’ve dusted off the blog to do nothing more than that which was a joy when self-hosted weirdness was all we had: sharing something nice I’ve found and not caring about the likes.
Coming at me via a charity shop purchase, The Big Book of Small House Designs looked OK at first, and I confess to some arrogance in my expectations. Beyond the photos, few architecture coffee table books carry the true test: floor plans. Happily, the Big Book is replete with them. As a US publication, its examples tend to revel in the low density, super plot size detached home that would be a rare luxury elsewhere, but as studies in residential room relationships there remains much value regardless.
From these pages, it’s genuinely my great pleasure to share the perfection that is Classical Florida House by Gordon Ashworth. Its compact, 3×3 grid layout and reassuringly centred (yet asymmetrically balanced) form packed full of references has pushed all my buttons.
Part aedicular-ed Orinda House by Moore, part Put Away house by the Smithsons, part Vanna Venturi by her son; the plan is an absolute delight. Poche planning deployed for the hell of it to deftly inflect spaces, services stacked pragmatically yet playfully tweaked, entrance and exit on an axis that could ground it in any site it chose to grace, double height high-jinks TWICE and a porch you could retire to for the rest of your life and be content.
Bravo Gordon, bravo.
Sadly, it appears Gordon – if this be him – passed away not long after the book was published, but this obituary looks like the pedigree of experience I’d expect. Best wishes to all his family.
Gordon Ashworth June 26, 1940 – January 31, 2007
Born in Rochdale, England Gordon bicycled avidly all his life. He studied architecture at the College of Art, Manchester. He was certified from the Architectural Assoc., London. He taught at Manchester and Brighton Polytechnics, Kansas State, UOF, Cogswell College and CCAC (receiving NAAB accreditation). His work was published and shown at R.I.B.A.