Like many sheltering at home waiting for the virus to run its course, I have been catching up on my reading. A recent pleasure read is Beauty, the Invisible Embrace by the late John O’Donohue, a treatise on the role that beauty plays in uplifting us, especially in troubled times.

He has opinions about the built environment, starting with “The blindness of property development creates rooms, buildings and suburbs which lack grace and mystery.” In a discussion about glamour he claims it has a first and only effect, and he says, “In contrast, the Beautiful offers us an invitation to order, coherence and unity. When these needs are met, the soul feels at home in the world.”

Michael Toms interviewed John O’Donohue and asked how one tells if architecture is good or beautiful, and his response was that it earns a second look. That statement intrigued me. Today I offer up some projects and ask you whether it earns a second look. This week’s projects are small, one-bedroom homes, and I will present a different combination in the future and ask the same question. 

Architect Dallas Davis (Elliott Work Group) designed the Avenues home shown in the opening shot, the one above, and the following two interiors.

The interiors demonstrate how the use of white with accents make smaller spaces more expansive and airier. 

Utah architect John Sugden built this steel-framed glass house on a private lot in Emigration Canyon in 1965, and architect Kathryn Anderson (Atelier 93) lovingly restored it. While in Chicago, Sugden studied and worked with Mies van der Rohe, the last director of the Bauhaus.

Despite the home’s small size, the dining room is set apart with views out the glass walls to the woodland setting. 

The living area takes up another corner of the home.

Del Sol, conceived and constructed by Design Build Bluff, sits off by itself on a remote parcel in the Navajo Nation. 

Careful selection of materials and solar orientation limit the home’s energy demand.

The built-in furniture offers additional storage. The home and especially the kitchen and bathroom were designed to be wheelchair accessible. The views out the kitchen window of the wide-open spaces are hard to match. 

So, look at these projects, and ask the question: do they merit a second look? If so, a vote for good architecture and beauty.

See more of Scot’s work here!