One glance in the Monopoly House, designed by Demerly Architects, and the reason for the name is obvious. The pared-down gable form recalls the playing bits that players stand up as they try to have hotels on Boardwalk and other Monopoly properties. However, the home is anything but cookie cutter. Since Mark Demerly explains this was very much a client-driven job, and also the form is closely derived from their position and the house’s circumstance.
House in a Glance
Who lives here: A couple of grown children
Location: Indianapolis, Indiana
Size: 4,500 square feet; 3 floors (including basement)
That’s interesting: The home is designed as two pieces, linked by a bridge.
The clients moved out of New Mexico, and “their central request was to bring as much all-natural light into the home as possible to re-create the light of the Southwest,” Demerly says. They eschewed an all-glass facade in favor of carefully placed windows. This choice appears partly because the property is situated in a historical area, which also drove Demerly to make a contemporary gable “pared down to its essence,” he says.
Demerly argues, rather convincingly, that “there is a certain symbiosis between the new and the old — neighborhoods thrive on variety, and this endeavor is stronger due to its historic context, and we believe that the historic context can also be enhanced by our contemporary insertion.”
The clients have two grown children who do not live at the home but need areas of their own when they see. Hence the splitting of the home into two volumes. The bridge links the master bedroom to the children’s bedrooms on the second floor. The link serves to open up the interior of the room and bring in more natural light. On the exterior these windows are evident, as is the fracture in the gable form. As Demerly puts it, “The interior and exterior of the home are inextricably linked.” The Monopoly moniker came after the layout, not the other way round.
The central part of the home displays the large quantities of light which input from the selectively placed windows. Another strategy is to bring in light from porches carved to the gable form.
Demerly chosen to “reverse the relationship between the home and its porches … producing negative spaces,” he says, instead of adding them to the built quantity.
This view shows the high windows within the kitchen which, like the dining room in the previous photograph, is located in the double-height central link zone.
And here are high windows in the central space which are set back in the windows visible in the second photo. These windows help loosen the spaces in more light.
When the children are not visiting, the home functions in all the regions minus the secondary bedrooms reached by the bridge. So, by way of instance, the stair contributes to the master bedroom, so the clients do not have to traverse the bridge to satisfy their daily functions. Yet the bridge is a constant indication of the children, whether they are here or away.
This vantage point looking from the master bedroom toward the children’s bedrooms exemplifies how the interior is much more complex than the exterior signifies. While inside and outside have a symbiotic relationship, the ease of the exterior balances involving the interior functions and also the requirement to fit to the historic context. Spatially the interior is quite wealthy, making the home a rewarding experience for the clients’ family.