I blame the impending Dia de los Muertos or All Hallow's Eve, but I think it seems an appropriate time to focus on this stunning building and perhaps some old souls.... Seriously, though, what caught my eye initially about this contemporary Minneapolis mausoleum was the beautiful way the entries and the windows swoop inwardly thanks to intricately laid mosaic tile of Carrera marble and Mexican glass tile. Further research led me to understand that the installation of the tile took nearly two years to complete because of the freeze-thaw cycles of Minneapolis winters!

The curved and geometric patterns play on the interior as well, as finishes such as charcoal granite corridors, mahogany walls, Venetian plaster ceilings all glow under peaceful filtered sunlight. What I love about this project is how the building meshes into this landscape so seamlessly, and how the interior emulates the terrain with chamfered ceilings and meticulous details as precise as the gardens surrounding. The Lakewood Cemetery Board chose the firm of HGA by way of a design competition, instead of pursuing a cost-effective storage structure, they were seeking a timeless structure that epitomizes what this group of trustees sees as a beautiful building worthy of its serene program. 


lakewood garden mausoleum, courtesy of flickrlakewood garden mausoleum, courtesy of archiscenelakewood garden mausoleum, courtesy of morgan sheff photographylakewood garden mausoleum, courtesy of amizonaws

lakewood garden mausoleum, courtesy of architect magazine
lakewood garden mausoleum, courtesy of flickr

lakewood garden mausoleum, courtesy of architizer
lakewood garden mausoleum, courtesy of architecture art design 



Ipcock Residence - el dorado incThis segment is more a firm spotlight than one unique home or space. El dorado is a firm out of Kansas City that manages to blend architecture, fabrication, sculpture and design build projects all under one roof. I initially heard about them in 2004 when their Ipcock Residence received a lot of praise in the press. This residence, as well as many of their others, drew me in because of its elegant material palette and the way that the panes of glass were detailed to create the illusion of a floating ceiling plane.

Westside Residence - el dorado incThe precise way each of the varying interior and exterior finishes was articulated belied the firm's background in fabrication and I envied their knowledge of connections. Designer's are nothing if not for their detailing, how you take something simple and plain and make it inspiring and beautiful - I definitely aspire to this ideal and I think el dorado has moments of this in every project they undertake.

1737 Main - el dorado inc

Pizzabella South - el dorado inc

Through the years they've grown and their work has spread into all aspects of commercial and civic, but they bring that precision and tight material palette to those spaces as well. Creative firms housed in many of the Kansas City downtown buildings call on el dorado to update their space but trust that they will maintain the historic character and charm. Some examples show the firm successfully doing this by employing colorful wall planes, custom fabricating lighting fixtures and entry canopies and integrating branding and shade structures to add layers to the building.

Woodruff Sweitzer Office - el dorado inc

I know there are many more great spaces to show you from this firm, plus there's a whole story on regional design that I'm sure I haven't touched on but definitely adds to their appeal and unique approach. Long story short I like this firm and look forward to their stuff because their story resonates with me, their materials and details have evolved not changed and their initial work is still glimpsed in their current projects over 15 years later. What firms inspire you and make you seek out their latest projects for your own inspiration?

This is an ongoing showcase of spectacular homes, interior spaces and amazing buildings. There are elements in everyone of these that inspire and remind us of why we enjoy design so much, not because of trends or fads, but the way spaces resonate and change in the eye of the beholder.

Photo by Richard Foulser.

We start off with the Fisher Residence at their Amagansett Long Island Beach House. Blame my denial of summer coming to a close, but I'm still in love with all things beach house. I first read about this house in Dwell a couple of years ago and was instantly smitten with the casual vibe of this 1960's redo.

Photo by Richard Foulser.

Maybe it's the way that not much seemed to change from what you'd expect the original to look like, warm woods in the interiors and bleached cedar on the exterior. Glimpses of the renovation can be seen with the addition of clever built-ins inspired by those seen in boat building creating ample nooks for board games and books and comfy places to relax.

Photo by Richard Foulser.

I really like Architect Page Goolrick's work and she explains the technical moves she made to accommodate the family without losing the beach vibe at the core of this home, like keeping a visual datum line at 6'-8" throughout as much of the house as possible. This creates an illusion of a taller ceiling plane as the eye rests on this continual line. I liked how the article comments on the Fisher's appreciation of her many inquiries of how they lived their daily life in the house and how the house could work within that framework, making a huge effort to see life from their point of view; I ask a ton of questions, so I appreciate her methodology! I definitely believe that a designer is someone that takes a bunch of disparate wants/needs and creates a holistic solution; by listening, understanding the given limits but exploring all the possibilities, seen and unseen, until the answer appears.

“To solve design problems, you have to look at how a family really lives and works. I think an architect’s job is to celebrate what people really care about and simplify and streamline the rest.”


Page Goolrick