Pack and Post-It - Design Bureau

Folded Post-it notes and empty cigarette packs served as the brick and mortar in the Millerton Home’s architectural model.

Pack and Post-It

Wednesday, July 6th, 2011

Architectural models don’t have to exist solely in the realm of 3-D software, high-end materials and painstaking construction. Sometimes, a few strategically placed spare materials are all it takes to communicate a bold idea. Using empty packs of Merit cigarettes and bright-orange Post-it notes, the plan for a modern redesign of an upstate New York residence was transformed.

The Millerton Home was created for its art-enthusiast owners as a “museum for living” according to John Lee, founding principal at Manhattan-based Workshop for Architecture and its sister company Workshop for Construction. After several meetings and discussions with the German homeowners, it was decided that a contemporary structure would best suit their significant art collection. “We had initially settled on a design that was radically modern,” says Lee. “The whole idea of the project was this big roof that would encompass everything, and the material of the roof would be the same as the material of the walls. It was a very architecturally driven design and they graciously entertained the whole development of it.”

Then, during one of Lee’s meetings with the couple, they presented him with an image of a model home they had constructed out of decidedly peculiar materials. The new design featured tented Post-it notes as a pair of “broken wings,” or individual roofs, in lieu of the expansive roof that had been chosen in the initial design. The wings sat atop segmented sections of the home, represented in the model by empty cigarette packs. This miniature oddity became the inspiration for the home’s new direction—a design the homeowners felt would be more appropriate for its farmland setting.

Despite the drastic exterior changes, the plan for the interior of the home largely stayed the same in order to maintain the fundamental “museum for living” theme. “What is surprising for everyone when they come into the house is that from the outside, you’d think there are these distinct wings and volumes, but once you go inside, [you see] everything is still connected. There are distinct bedrooms, but it’s really a gallery-like setting. The internal guts of it are very deceptive from what you might expect from the outside.”

“It’s actually been a very interesting exchange,” Lee says, “because they have been some of the most opinionated clients we’ve had in terms of what they like and what they think works and doesn’t work. It’s made me see residential design a little differently.”

Text by Kaitlin Madden



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