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Modern love

  • Article by: JIM BUCHTA , Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 17, 2007 - 11:31 AM

Minneapolis architect Mark Larson's clients were smitten with this unusual North Oaks house, rumored to be built for a bachelor doctor who was a fan of modern design.

Minneapolis architect Mark Larson's clients were smitten with this unusual North Oaks house, rumored to be built for a bachelor doctor who was a fan of modern design.

But the house was hardly kid-safe, and so its owners were forced to do what was necessary to eliminate hazards that might befall their child until they had the time and resources to modify the plan.

"It was like an object they lived in," Larson said. "They'd been camping in the house and waiting for the right time to make it the way they wanted to."

Still, the couple loved the house and its friendly interaction with its sloping, wooded lot. Built during a time when contemporary architecture was all the rage, the house is modern, but doesn't have the abstract attributes of "high modernism."

Simply put, the house is a series of "shadow boxes" with recessed windows at each end that overlap and intersect with one another. Architect Mark Larson of Rehkamp Larson Architects in Minneapolis fondly calls it a "big pile of boxes that were largely empty spaces," which he said is structurally like a post-and-beam building with floors supported by posts and beams.

The absence of load-bearing interior walls worked to Larson's advantage as he reconfigured the primary living spaces.

"The design lets the wooded site flow into the house," Larson said. "It's so modern, yet it's not nostalgic or cute; it's a neat combination that suits this client really well."

 

Jim Buchta • 612-673-7376 • jbuchta@startribune.com

  • about this series

  • The Home of the Month program is a partnership between the Star Tribune and the Minnesota chapter of the American Institute of Architects. It features architect-designed houses selected by a jury of experts. The houses represent a range of prices, styles and locations.
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  • The transformation

    Friday January 12, 2007

    The Transformation: How architect Mark Larson improved the function of this boxy, multi-level house without adding an inch of space to its layout.

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