The Smith House is part of a series of houses that marks the first rationalistic stage in the work of Meier, when he was part of the group, The Five Architects.
The house is in Darien, Connecticut. It is located on a wooded hillside sloping toward the water. The house is inserted into the natural landscape but is designed as an artificial object.
Located on a hillside, the structure is a white prism that emerges between the trees and creating a strong visual contrast.
Based on an operation-style rationalism made popular by Le Corbusier, in which category some critics have characterized the mannerist-principal of the cubic house, Meier worked at carving the house out of the basic cubic base with operations of addition and subtraction.
The reverse side is treated as a closed facade, with small openings, while the front is an open facade with large glass panels offering extensive views over the horizon.
The architect organizes the floorplan by zoning, a characteristic of his first houses. The bedrooms and private areas are located in the closed rectangular prism, while the service, social, and entrance areas are located on the open ground floor.
The rear facade facing uphill is wrapped in opaque walls with only small, geometrically arranged openings for windows to protect the occupants' privacy. The social areas are all located toward the front of the house, where the large glass panes open laterally, facing down the hillside. In some spaces, the height of the rooms in the front area can reach two or three stories, and the extreme height contributes to the dramatization of the interior space.
The curved staircase that descends from the first floor to the ground, the small reservoir cubic annex and the access ramp to the house, being additions to the central cubic volume, serve as anchor points for the house.
wood and glass.
It is often thought, mistakenly, that this house was built in concrete, when in fact it was made of wood. The chimney is brick pillars and metallic interiors.