窗户(在客厅里)更自由;他们向外眺望风景。尤其是你的房间，你可以把树从外面带到里面，你认为客厅的大部分空间不需要亲密和隐私。在卧室里，你倾向于减少开窗，但永远不要减少到墙壁无法接收一天中的心情和一年中的季节。当你起床的时候，你仍然想要感觉到你被房间拥抱着。这不是你在客厅里的感觉。Kahn as quoted in, “A House Within a House.”
What appears to be the first scheme for the Fisher house was a binuclear plan connected by a circulation hyphen similar to the Weiss house. The plan was rectilinear in form with a series of projections and alcoves that created the major aperture elements – as if to distinguish their purpose from the rest of the façade. Unlike the majority of Kahn’s residential work of the period, the hyphen did not contain the point of entry; the main entrance was located within a foyer that belonged to the sleeping volume.
Also integrated into the plan was a doctor’s office, located on the ground floor of the sleeping volume. A separate side entrance was created within one of the projections, which really became a multi-functioning volume belonging to both family and doctor. From an organizational standpoint, Kahn kept the office as far away as possible from the living portion of the house, separating daytime life within a home from the predominately daytime function of an office; thus, when evening arrived, the space is unoccupied by Dr. Fisher’s practice while the family sleeps within the volume. Kahn divided the circulation within the home in an interesting fashion; the living volume was kept to one level while the sleeping volume contained varying floor levels and minimal horizontal movement. This method individualizes each function on its own level, creating separate spaces for the doctor’s office, master bedroom, children’s bedrooms, and the proposed maid’s room.
An exterior sketch dated 3 Aug 1961 denotes a change in the form of the house, as the rooflines become much more regular and the elevation of the dining cube is tapered near the top. The sketch is shadowed to reveal Kahn’s thoughts regarding the varying depth of the façade and his measured drawings depict the analysis of specific window arrangements. A sort of rectilinear keyhole window typology is used on many of the facades, and it appears that the living and sleeping volumes are predominately glazed along the north while the south façade has much narrower vertical and horizontal openings. As the doctor’s office is still situated along the southeast side of the sleeping volume, the choice to minimize the openings along the façade was likely a response to the division of public and private spaces. A sketch of the west elevation, showing the roofline and openings of the dining cube along with the visible apertures of the living volume, highlights the form of the window design with a note in Kahn’s hand stating
“deep set shutters as Esherick.”
The ‘deep set shutters’ are a series of recessed window pockets, slight multifunctional intrusions into the space that give depth to the façade while creating an interior shelf. The most practical aspect of the window recessions is a sense of privacy and humanity they provide, creating variations along the facades that cast shadows and give a texture to the form. Not only do they break the planarity of the façade and bring the exterior inside, but they allow for an open window during a heavy rainstorm, as their form naturally protects against water infiltration.
The ‘deep set shutters’ are a series of recessed window pockets, slight
multifunctional intrusions into the space that give depth to the façade while creating an interior shelf. The most practical aspect of the window recessions is a sense of privacy and humanity they provide, creating variations along the facades that cast shadows and give a texture to the form. Not only do they break the planarity of the façade and bring
the exterior inside, but they allow for an open window during a heavy rainstorm, as their form naturally protects against water infiltration.
During this phase Kahn also began to think about the assembly of the wall sections, detailing materials, dimensions, composition, and connections. A note on the drawing states that all columns, beams and decking would be exposed, yet the degree to which their exposure was detailed varied depending on location. Kahn showed the user the structure to almost inform them of its presence and role within the creation of space and light, but he did not allow it to become a part of the space itself.
The plan was simplified from the previous iteration; the circulation hyphen was replaced by a pass-through entry corridor integrated into the main volume while maintaining the bi-nuclear organization of interior spaces. The main entry was set back from the plane of the south façade, creating a sort of entry alcove. Similar in approach to the first scheme of the Shapiro house, the entry alcove reduced the visual scale to act as sort of transitional space between inside and outside. The corridor created a broad formal entry that allowed for tripartite movement between both interior volumes and the exterior. Furthermore, the creation of two main axes with a centrally-located origin emphasized the harmony of both interior and exterior life.
The second scheme, beginning with drawings dated March 9, 1962, marked an abandonment of the bi-nuclear plan that Kahn had utilized in previous residential designs. The plan of the house became much more compact, pulled together into a rectilinear volume with an attached masonry cube.20 The layout remained somewhat consistent with Scheme One despite the transition away from two distinct volumes, as the living and sleeping units were still situated on opposite halves of the house. The entry hall that appeared in the second iteration of the first scheme was integrated into a center hall that connected each half of the house. Kahn differentiated between the main entrance and the office entrance – which was located along the south side of the building – by creating an entry alcove for the family while situating the office door flush with the exterior surface. The residential entry alcove created a moment of mystery along the façade, drawing the person into the building, whereas the office door reflects the austerity and sterility of a medical space through its unadorned planarity.
The living room retained a high level of glazing, with a single pane that ran the width of the space and the full height of the second story. While the material of the exterior remained three-inch-thick cypress siding, the organization of elements and geometries lacked refinement. According to the elevation drawings, the shutters were rendered as unadorned wood elements. The traditional motifs found in similar pieces at the Esherick House are not represented, illustrating yet another departure that may have been an exploration of a new treatment of exterior ‘servant’ elements – specifically, doors and shutters, which serve the interior by permitting or obstructing light. Kahn accentuated the hidden structure by translating it onto the façade composition; lintels are represented by horizontal boards above openings, while columns separating windows are similarly expressed in a vertical fashion. The horizontal water tables that hide the joint between the vertical siding lack a consistent language. No longer directly representing floor heights – as they did in the first scheme – the elements are organized in an attempt to carry horizontal lines across the façade for visual cohesion, resulting in a varied composition along each façade. Furthermore, the aforementioned lintel contrivance is used above the water tables situated on the southwest façade, muddling the usage by employing it for unrelated reasons.
Upon returning from a site visit to Dacca, Kahn completely re-examined the scheme for the Fisher House. Based on his realization regarding the orientation of the mosque at the Capitol Complex, it is as though Kahn treated the Fisher House as a smallscale test subject to explore the implementation of a dynamic juxtaposition of cubic volumes.
Kahn returned to his bi-nuclear plan, separating the two main functions of ‘house’ into their own cubes, differing each in orientation and material. The two cubes were joined at a corner, with the entry hall acting as a transitional element between volumes; while housed within the sleeping cube, the axial quality of the hall – visually unobstructed on each end, creating a connection between interior and exterior – facilitated circulation in four directions. Though joined in a similar fashion to Erdman Hall, the juxtaposition of the two cubes at a 45-degree angle results in a unique delineation between ‘living’ and ‘sleeping’ volumes. Kahn noted, “It is always the hope on the part of the designer that the building in a way makes itself rather than be composed with devices that tend to please the eye. It is a happy moment when a geometry is found which tends to make spaces naturally, so that the composition of geometry in the plan serves to construct, to give light, and to make spaces.” The juxtaposition freed the individual volumes to receive light on four sides, prospectively altering the interior character. In addition, the change in form led Kahn to rethink the program once again; gone are the doctor’s office and the playroom.
The organization of spaces continued to evolve, primarily with the definition of the dining room’s role within the context of the house. Whereas the first two schemes focused on the dining room as the heart of the house, Kahn’s third iteration integrated the dining room and kitchen with the entirety of the ‘living’ functions, but it was the dynamic juxtaposition of the two squares that ultimately generated the scheme. The product was an open, full-height living area, based around the extruded fireplace and divided only by the lightly-partitioned kitchen. The kitchen was bounded by two eight-foot partitions, visually separating it from the rest of the space while connecting to both the dining and living areas. Although the kitchen became somewhat compartmentalized, its accessibility from all directions continued to signify it as the center of the modern home. Kahn believed, “you should never invade the space between columns with partition walls. It is like sleeping with your head in one room and feet in another…that will never do.” The partitioning of the kitchen marked a return to the earlier scheme that separated the kitchen and dining rooms, an aspect of the later design schemes that exhibited the most frustration, for Kahn became almost bound by the juxtaposition and the limitations it placed on the arrangement of spaces. But the kitchen’s placement within a relatively open plan – along with its axial relationship with the dining table – maintained its role within the house, supplemented by the later ‘breakfast table’ that the kitchen opens up to. Where earlier plans isolated the eating spaces from the living space, the juxtaposed plan consolidated the three main ‘living’ functions into one volume. Kahn’s decision not to create a floor-to-ceiling partition within the design of the entirely masonry ‘living’ volume could connote a rationalization on Kahn’s part that all three elements were interrelated as essential spaces within a house.
The windows are much freer [in the living room]; they look out onto the landscape. Especially yours, where you can bring the trees from outside inside and you consider that there is no need for intimacy and privacy in much of the space in the living room. And in the bedroom, you tend to reduce the fenestration but never reduce it to the point where walls cannot receive the mood of the time of the day and the seasons of the year. And still when you get up you want to feel that you are hugged by the room. And that’s not what you have to feel in the living room.
Beginning with a number of sketches in Kahn’s hand in December of 1963, the final form of the Fisher House began to reveal itself. The entirety of the house was proposed as wood, maintaining the previous layout for the sleeping cube while returning to an earlier design for a lightly-partitioned kitchen. Kahn described the design by saying the “house in theory is a wood house on a stone plinth.”