SALA Modern House Series
Merrick House is an exhaustive documentation of one of the Western Architectural period jewels, a home, Merrick, as a young architect built by hand on the steep wooded slopes of West Vancouver, BC in the early nineteen seventies.
Merrick House is an exhaustive documentation of one of the Western Architectural period jewels, a home, Merrick, as a young architect built by hand on the steep wooded slopes of West Vancouver, BC in the early nineteen seventies. The photographs by Michael Perlmutter bring out the wonders of architectural space and materiality, and Robins’ text explores in great detail the influences that Merrick drew from, the many spatial moves he employed, and the changes over time with successive renovations. The 17 level edifice is both contextual and truly eccentric. It’s Japanese wood detailing brings a period charm and the fully glazed walls of the cathedral-like living space set it amongst the huge cedars like an open pavilion in the forest. A remarkable thing about the visible structure of the house is that it is almost entirely composed of simple and inexpensive dimensional lumber. Merrick chose common 2x4s, 2x10s, and so on as his palette. Whilst at once showing he was comfortable with regular planks from the lumberyard, in many places Merrick meticulously carved the ends into fanciful shapes. It is a move that reveals again the shadow of his mentors, Ron Thom and, before him, Frank Lloyd Wright. Robins delves into the quirks and risks Merrick embarked upon, the madness of huge panes of glass, for instance, in delicate harmony with nature. Sometimes, such as in his retention of large rocks flowing into the interior space, he defied building codes and common sense, but it all works. It is a house full of wonder.