the julie snow architects designed ‘b & w house’ in minneapolis for walker art center design curator andrew blauvelt and scott winter is, in our minds, an instant classic.  i’m sure you’ll be reading about it everywhere soon.
we’re lucky to be involved in a small way and we’re so excited about the house that we decided to write about it even though our work isn’t done yet.
when we were first made aware of the ‘b & w house’, one of the homeowners described it as a “little concrete box”, and on some humble and severely literal level, that’s true. 

what we saw though when we arrived on the scene was an elegant, minimal structure that already looked great, even surround by dirt and construction debris…

 rolu partner mike brady wandered around while i took pics.

the back of the house is top to bottom glass, and while we always ponder the implications of how our work reads from the inside looking out, it is rare that it’s as literally connected as it is here in the courtyard which is really, except for the glass, part of the living room.  we eventually proposed something along these lines…

but there’ll be a few revisions over the winter.

when you look up, you see the beautiful rich tones of the ipe wood siding…

and, though you can’t see it great in the above photo, the aluminum piping in the seam where the ipe meets in the corner is one of my favorite details.  so precise, exacting and yet somehow, gentle.

the first phase of work we did this fall was in the front of the house. 

we needed to create some privacy for some of the glass (otherwise, you might have weirdos taking self portrait pics of their reflection),  and we wanted to create an aesthetic middle ground between the site and the structure, the music for a pas de deux, if you will?  ah, no…maybe that’s a bit much.  more like a joining…

we used rusted steel to reference the ipe siding and bring some of the upper half of the house lower.  the steel is about a foot high at most points and remains level with the step at the front door creating a third, subtle, quiet plane.

even the smallest gesture when you’re dealing with such simple, flat surroundings is a lot, so we had to act in our favorite way… very carefully.

we think the work turned out great and even though winter is our time to regain some sanity in our lives, it’s projects like this one that make us hope it goes by fast.

for another view of this project, ‘building minnesota’ an architecture blog & podcast, put together this youtube piece that tracked the project from the start.  it has interviews with one of the homeowners and the architect. 


julie snow architects aren’t really known for their residential work but they sure hit all the marks here.  i’m pretty sure their only other residential project is the equally stunning koehlerhouse.  hopefully there’s more in store.


we’ll keep you posted on our progress.

posted by matt