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Home office addition is a 19-foot book tower.

FUNCTION AND FANTASY form an attention-getting combination in this library addition to the front of a small craftsman bungalow in San Diego. The jurors liked its fresh, colorful, and inventive spirit.

For the architect-owners, the functional requirement was to design a home office with more than 200 feet of shelving for books. Setback requirements limited the area that could be covered by new building, so they decided to go up with a compact two-story tower lined with bookshelves. A built-in desk occupies the large window bay at the top.

The result is an 11-by 13-foot-wide, 19-foot-tall book tower. At the center, an alternating-tread steel stair runs from the ground floor to a catwalk and cantilevered "reading room." Like a ladder--but easier to climb--the stair requires less space than a conventional flight of stairs. Heavy loads of books are carried up on a dumbwaiter. The tower and a new privacy wall across the house facade frame a new entry.

The element of fantasy appears in the way the tower and the wall have been composed as an abstract sculpture of interpenetrating lines and planes. The design, as juror Ehrlich observed, is "rooted in the early Southern California modernism of architects like Richard Neutra and Rudolph Schindler."

Hood saw even earlier influences: "It's like the tower on a Queen Anne Victorian. When you get up there, you are in your own world, a world of reading--the retreat into fantasy or intellectual life."
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Title Annotation:1991-1992 Western Home Awards
Date:Oct 1, 1991
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