Parti d’Aerie

A parti or parti pris comes from the French prendre parti meaning “to make a decision”. 

Often referred to as “the big idea, it is the chief organizing thought or decision behind an architect’s design presented in the form of a basic diagram and / or a simple statement.  A parti can describe experiential and aesthetic sensibilities and can depict massing, spatial hierarchy, site relationship, core location, interior circulation, public/private zoning, solidity/transparency, entrance,  or many other concerns.

The parti expressed by architect Frits deVries for the Aerie guesthouse was that of a basic box with two smaller boxes inserted into the larger shape.  My original brief

Frank Lloyd Wright's Seth Peterson cottage

Frank Lloyd Wright’s Seth Peterson cottage

included examples from iconic small houses like FLW’s Seth Peterson’s cottage in a Wisconsin wood as well as Phillip Johnson’s Conneticut glass house- a tall order. Simple, open to nature, modern and beautiful.

Perched on the edge of a moss and lichen covered bluff, the resulting glazed aerie is more than I had hoped for. A graceful butterfly roofline and sweeping expanses of glass blur the boundaries between interior and exterior spaces. Surrounded by the open arbutus and fir canopy, this modern treehouse deftly channels both Wright’s and Johnson’s ideas and reflects a contemporary twist on traditional West Coast typologies, especially corrugated metal boat sheds and cedar clad cottages ( the boxes of the parti).

The intimate views of surrounding forest as well as the rugged BC coast reinforce the connections with nature .