Yo Soy

A new home in Atlanta increases the possibilities for roof-oriented design

Yale’s new display Adjacencies showcases versions of Jennifer Bonner’s Haus Gables, an unusual domestic project under construction in Atlanta.
A new display at the Yale School of Architecture, Adjacencies utilizes a multi-media approach to tell the story of various strange and tactile projects from 14 emerging firms around the country, and the show highlights a one-of-a-kind, ground-up residential roofing project that’s arranged to open in Atlanta later this autumn. Haus Gables, designed by Jennifer Bonner of MALL, is a single-family home under construction alongside the Atlanta Beltline and a playful and surprising reinvestigation of the architectural zeitgeist using an exaggerated roof plan. The home is broken down in detail at Yale through a series of bright models, drawings, and ephemera that reveal her design philosophy for this inspired and irregular building.

According to the designer, the project had been inspired by Le Corbusier’s free plan and Adolf Loos’s raumplan — both domestic design techniques that called for non-traditional interior spacing. Bonner’s aim was to “rework the spatial paradigms of the past” by arranging her design entirely around the roof. She designed Haus Gables, a 2,100-square-foot structure, with 6 gable roofs that form 1 extended canopy. The distinctive shapes of the resulting ceilings produced an interior occupied with oddly-sized spaces, catwalks, and double-height areas that are restricted to the steep ridges of the pitched roofs.

The concept for Haus Gables formed out of a 2014 course she instructed at Georgia Tech School of Architecture, according to an interview with Curbed Atlanta. Bonner worked with students to envision designs focused around individual architecture components. This exercise led Bonner to create her large Domestic Hats exhibition for Atlanta’s Goat Farm Arts Center, for which she learned Atlanta’s various roof typologies and created sixteen models with alternative roof forms that pushed conventional residential design.

While Adjacencies offers a behind-the-scenes look at exactly how Bonner specifically developed the Haus Gables project, the real-life adaptation is almost complete on an eighteen foot-wide plot of property 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 remarkably, it highlights a cross-laminated timber (CLT) framework, the second of its kind in the United States, and prefabricated elements that were rapidly put together on site over the last year.