A new house in Atlanta raises the potential for roof-oriented design

Yale’s new exhibit Adjacencies showcases models of Jennifer Bonner’s Haus Gables, an unusual domestic project under construction in Atlanta.
A new exhibit at the Yale School of Architecture, Adjacencies utilizes a multi-media strategy to tell the story of assorted strange and tactile tasks from fourteen growing firms around the country, and the show highlights a one-of-a-kind, ground-up residential roofing project that’s set to open in Atlanta later this autumn. Haus Gables, fashioned by Jennifer Bonner of MALL, is a single-family home under construction along the Atlanta Beltline and a playful and astonishing reinvestigation of the architectural zeitgeist using an exaggerated roof plan. The house is broken down in detail at Yale through a series of bright models, drawings, and ephemera that unveil her design philosophy for this influenced and unusual building.

According to the builder, the project had been inspired by Le Corbusier’s complimentary plan and Adolf Loos’s raumplan — both domestic design techniques that called for unconventional interior spacing. Bonner’s objective was to “rework the spatial paradigms of the past” by arranging her design solely around the roof. She created Haus Gables, a 2,100-square-foot structure, with six gable roofs that form one elongated canopy. The distinctive shapes of the resulting ceilings developed an interior filled with oddly-sized spaces, catwalks, and double-height spaces that are restricted to the steep ridges of the inclined roofs.

The idea for Haus Gables created out of a 2014 program she instructed at Georgia Tech School of Architecture, corresponding to an interview with Curbed Atlanta. Bonner worked with students to picture designs focused around specific architecture components. This particular exercise led Bonner to create her large Domestic Hats exhibition for Atlanta’s Goat Farm Arts Center, for that she learned Atlanta’s various roof typologies and developed 16 models with alternative roof types that challenged conventional domestic design.

While Adjacencies provides a behind-the-scenes look at exactly how Bonner specifically conceptualized the Haus Gables project, the real-life version is almost complete on an eighteen foot-wide plot of land in Atlanta’s Old Fourth Ward. Not only is the artwork itself unusual, but so tend to be the components specified for the project. Most notably, it highlights a cross laminated timber (CLT) framework, the 2nd of its kind in the United States, and prefabricated elements that were quickly put together on site over the past year.