The Arts & Crafts Movement, and subsequently modernism itself, is accused of having an anti-urban bias—of extracting objects from the texture of the city and developing them without regard for their context. Alan Colquhoun traces this tendency back to Viollet-le-Duc’s “rejection” of the Beaux-Arts with his plan for the Hôtel Particulier which began to develop housing as a mid-block, pavilion typology with a centrifugal, inside-out plan. This project aims to take some of the lessons or inventions of the autonomous plan—specifically that of Richard Morris Hunt’s Griswold House—and put them back into context. The critical contributions of Hunt’s plan include the synthesis of Beaux-Arts orthogonality with centrifugal circulation spaces which inflate or expand beyond the organisational parti.
Here, the circulation space does not simply hold together eight individual units, but is nearly an entire house in and of itself. A cross-axial circulation corridor expands beyond the envelope to create shared rooms (e.g. library, conservatory, sun room) amongst the individual units. As one moves up through the project, the circulatory cross also dissolves or opens up allowing select private spaces to look back into this internal villa, further blurring the line between one big house and eight discrete units.