Pixel House

Gray sidewalks give way to a gray stone patio, which in turn seems to rise up and form this hill-shaped gray brick house emerging from the urban landscape. Look closely, though, and you can see that the constituent curves are still formed with rectangular bricks, hence the aptly-named Pixel House.

Pixel House back

Pixel House diagram

Pixel House diagram plans

Mass Studies and Slade Architecture worked to create this residence with an eye both to public-space interaction (wrapping around the exterior) and private comfort (within cozy curvilinear white walls and wood accents on the interior).

Viewed in context, the building shell seems almost camouflaged. However, while the outside shape reflects the form of inside rooms, the experience of the two could not be more different.

Pixel House shell

Inside, the rough convex and bunker-like brick mound becomes a dynamic series of concave corridors and winding transitions between the various floors and spaces.

Pixel House interior curved wall

Pixel House kitchen

Pixel House Living Area

The plans are deceptively simple compared to the constructed house – a pair of flat-slab floors build with conventional techniques, but wrapped in a form that took careful care to complete.

Conceptual praise aside, though, one does have to wonder if the sheer three-dimensional complexity of the design could possibly be worth the time and money spent to accomplish it – or whether it is appropriate to build something in a residential neighborhood so different from its neighbors that, overt camouflage or no, it will stand out (perhaps like a sore pixelated thumb) for years to come.

Pixel House detail view

“At a micro scale this tension between the contoured natural condition and the orthogonal master plan condition is further developed in the choice of materials. By using a simple orthogonal brick, in an orthogonal order and allowing the bricks to slide out of plane to create the curved wall, the tension between orthogonal and contoured form is revealed. This tectonic tension is parallel to the tension that exists between the building and the row of houses adjacent to it and between the master plan massing and the hilly landscape.”