Architecture Grand Goave

The other day I stopped short at the site of this elegant little building, the only one I have seen in Grand Goave that approaches the designation architecture.  I say that because it does what so much good architecture does; it respects its locale and traditions yet interprets them in a way that is fresh and elegant.

Buildings in Grand Goave proper are concrete, but in the countryside many people live in houses that are simple wooden frames with gable tin roofs walled with a lattice of sticks or palms.  The roof extends on one end to create an entry porch.  When people get money they waddle the walls with plaster, which makes the house last longer, but if plaster is not available people leave the lattice exposed and when nature decays their walls they replace them with materials they can collect lying around their yard.  These are houses of the poor.  The only worse are shacks of cardboard.

So it is counterintuitive to see the same house reinterpreted to a city lot, and even more unexpected to see the new building have such graceful proportions.  The roof is steeper than its country cousin’s, more substantial.  The building has three equal bays, two enclosed and one open.  The columns are a pair of 2×4’s with an intermediate spacer, which provides stability without heavy and expensive framing, yet is also reminiscent of E. Fay Jones.  The lattice work is made of uniform slats, providing a taut crispness that palm fronds and sticks cannot achieve.

I have no idea whose house it is, or whether they intended to create something that would catch an architect’s eye.  The fact that it sits at the back of the lot and has a pile of concrete block in front of it implies that someone is intending it as an accessory building to use while they build the real thing.  As far as I am concerned, they have created the real thing.

 Vernacular Lattice House

Contemporary Lattice House

About paulefallon

Greetings reader. I am a writer, architect, cyclist and father from Cambridge, MA. My primary blog, is an archive of all my published writing. The title refers to a sequence of three yoga positions that increase focus and build strength by shifting the body’s center of gravity. The objective is balance without stability. My writing addresses opposing tension in our world, and my attempt to find balance through understanding that opposition. During 2015-2106 I am cycling through all 48 mainland United States and asking the question "How will we live tomorrow?" That journey is chronicled in a dedicated blog,, that includes personal writing related to my adventure as well as others' responses to my question. Thank you for visiting.
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