The Case For Modern Living
An expressive modern home design finds its place in downtown OKC.
Inspired by the famous post WWII Case Study home designs and the Harvard 5, owner Dr. William Lovallo teamed up with Fitzsimmons Architects to create his own unique residence in downtown OKC.
The Oklahoma Case Study House as it has been affectionately dubbed, is a two-level 1,730 square-foot home with an elevated position that, along with strategic expansive windows, allows for a spectacular panoramic view of the downtown skyline.
“It’s a Modern or expressive Modern design,” says architect Brian Fitzsimmons of the design. “It expresses its purpose and its client. Its elements are varied and responsive to that exact set of challenges for the project.”
The expressive design is also a hallmark of Fitzsimmons Architects.
The house itself sits perched on a hill 10 feet above street level with sloping stairs leading to the expressive, modern home. Part of being an “expressive” design means that the exterior reflects the interior and vice versa, in this case.
Concrete, glass and steel are the three components used to create the entire residence.
“The concrete was poured in place with special tie rods we had made so we could pour insulation and the structure all at the same time,” says Fitzsimmons associate Larry Pickering.
“And that is some of what the original case study homes were about – innovation.”
Alternative rain screens, shading and sun control where needed work together to create a blend of indoor and outdoor space.
The entryway/breezeway of the home leads to what Fitzsimmons calls the “anti-room” or “multi-purpose room,” which also features one of the main attractions of the home: the staircase.
“It’s art,” Pickering says when asked for a technical term for the custom-designed staircase and railing.
“The treads and risers are made of bent steel plates, and it has the effect of floating in space.”
Their blue hue comes from an industrial product from Designer Liners and is similar to that used in truck bed liners, which also gives the stairs grip.
Unlike the somewhat shaded downstairs, the second level opens up a world of light with the panoramic views in the living room and ample windows throughout the open space of the living, kitchen and dining space.
Like the ground floor, the walls are sealed concrete.
“Energy-wise, it’s very efficient. The client has exhibited great pleasure at the utility bills,” Pickering says.
The flooring throughout the space is maple wood salvaged from a 1940s basketball court that Fitzsimmons came upon through friends.
A deck system connects the living space and master bedroom to each other. Also adding to the open, connected feel is the fact that there are only three doors in the entire home.
The master bedroom features rubber tile with cork and, most interestingly of all, the lightbox; that’s what Fitzsimmons and Pickering call the large glass structure that is open to the sky on three separate sides.
“The light just spills in; it’s a very grand effect,” Fitzsimmons says.
With all the natural lighting, there is essentially no reason to turn a light on until the sun has set, according to Fitzsimmons.
“Most of the lighting in the home is used to highlight art. The client has quite an extensive art collection and basically that’s it – four or five light fixtures throughout,” he says.
Reflecting his own tastes and hobbies, Lovallo, who is an avid Japanese garden cultivator, teamed with the landscape experts at Applied Design to create a unique paradise in his backyard.
“We wanted the structural elements to be what they are; we wanted that truth,” Fitzsimmons says of the natural, expressive design.
In the end, Pickering points out that for any project to achieve success it takes a collaborative effort from everyone, and Fitzsimmons Architects certainly succeeded in this feat.