Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Stacked House

Like a wise old concrete beast for whom the passage of decades is as inconsequential as the sea breeze it faces, the Stacked House sits at the end of Del Playa Drive. Other than that it is the most fabulous example of concrete midcentury architecture in Goleta or Santa Barbara — let alone Isla Vista proper — I know nothing about it. Rumor has it that an architect lives there, sleeping on the upper tier and breakfasting on the lower. That would make a certain amount of sense.

Perhaps such a strikingly unconventional home echoes Le Corbusier's Villa Savoye, which looks and sounds like the world's greatest machine for living but is actually a pain in the ass and an inadvertent toxic mold grow-op to boot. But having passed by the Stacked House and stared at it a creepy number of times, I can tell you that nothing seems amiss. It may really be the next step in residential evolution, albeit one the world seems to have ignored. You park below it, you climb one tier up and you kick back in your Eames chair, then you climb another tier up and enter the magical mysteries of the (perpetually curtain-enclosed) bedroom. Perfection.

But like any embodiment of perfection, the Stacked House has imperfections. The most basic objection: where do the bookshelves go? When all your walls are made of glass, you can't very well build them in. The owner seems to have solved this problem with free-standing shelves, though that puts a lowish cap on one's library size. Maybe that's healthy; I only really want to own the best 100 or 200 books in my collection, anyway. Another issue, this one dealbreaking for a type like me: the damned place is a half-hour walk even from UCSB, which is itself way out in the boonies. Location, location, location, I guess.

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