New Roof Kiss

New Roof Kiss occupies a peculiar place in the collective body of work completed by HHF, situated strategically between the bespoke infill renovations and interiors of such projects as Kirschgarten Mensa or Confiserie Bachmann and the abstract, serial compositions that characterize the pristine single family residences. While the project is clearly an 'addition' to a historic house, it has an alluring aura of a well-tailored suit, where seams and tucks elegantly conceal a pattern of additive and subtractive operations to integrate old and new volumes and materials. These precise alterations employed by HHF unpack the singularity of the shed roof type, refashioning the overall building as a nearly awkward stacking of two masses, with the traces of the historic house buried within the new pair.

'Kiss' is fundamentally a combinatory project of two discrete formal and material bodies; the heavy solid 'base' of the existing house and the new attenuated steel roof peak. On the one hand the new roof appears to approximate the contours of its own historic predecessor and some of its neighbors. Yet the slightly more demanding roof pitch and over-sized eaves coupled with the dull seductive luster of the new stainless steel cladding resonates in a chameleon-like manner as a mask whose profile and detail edit out traces of the specific in favor of an adaptive abstraction. The resulting figure has the attraction of something or someone we know, with hints of vernacular familiarity, but not sure we have ever seen or met before.

'Kiss' suggests a fresh and promising response to the pervasive problem in contemporary practice which demands an intelligent approach to the local in an increasingly global design environment. The familiar foreignness of New Roof Kiss offers a dynamic solution which assimilates a set of vernacular conditions into a suspended state between the specific attenuation and articulation of local materials including tile roofs, steel gutters and chimney stacks, and the more general, abstract typological conditions of the shed roof buildings found in residential and industrial structures throughout the region and beyond.

Text by Sharon Johnston