In Asheville we have several homes that are known originally as Deck Houses. I often walk by them on my hikes through Lakeview Park and the Grove Park neighborhoods. NC Modernist Homes provides a quick overview of this style of home with examples here. Deck House, Inc. was founded by William J. Berkes in 1960 to provide a quality house of excellent design for a reasonable investment. Berkes states that, “without sacrifice to twentieth century living standards, the Deck House meets every measure of architectural integrity — purity of line, aesthetic satisfaction, the use of fine materials in their natural state.”
To go a little deeper into their original creation and philosophy the original Deck House book uses the following language – “the Deck Home is an excellent example of organic architecture, achieving its objective of fusing form and function. It is designed primarily for livability, and combines the strengths of the past with the best advances of the present. An early contention of ours which continues into our present thinking is that no designer-builder can quite accurately claim to build homes. Houses are created by architects and builders. Homes are made by families. The primary interest of Deck House is to design and build the kind of house that will offer maximum potential in home-making possibilities.”
“There are also the more subtle psychological urgings often contradictory, as in the wish to be free, uncaged, and yet to be enveloped and protected — to be an intimate witness to a winter storm, and yet be sheltered and warm — to live as a nonconformist, and yet to be accepted as a respected citizen of the community. Taking such human needs to be the legitimate concern of architects, we made the satisfaction of these needs the underlying premise of the Deck House concept.”
“Posts and beams were utilized in colonial days and withstood the test of rigorous New England winters. Used today, this same construction permits window walls and open spaces. When properly planned, this liberal use of glass helps warm the house as well as admitting light and offering views at every turn of stair and corner. Mahogany millwork, cedar decking, and beams of Douglas Fir are both rich and practical, requiring a minimum of upkeep. Massive brick chimneys offer texture to balance the smooth gleam of glass.”
“The floor plan of the Deck House is designed t respect the individual as well as the family — the child’s need for privacy as well as the adult’s. There are spacious, light-washed areas for family and friends to gather, and smaller, more intimate places away from the mainstream for solitude.”
I’ll be doing a case study here in Asheville soon and exploring all the quality construction details, engineering, natural materials and even green features of this cool mid-century home type. Stay tuned!