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I would really rather feel bad in Maine
than feel good anywhere else.
—E. B. White
Maine is a special place. It possesses unique topography and weather, and it commands its inhabitants to adapt to a certain way of living. Residents of this state must be strong, resilient, and have an appreciation for nature. Matthew and Elizabeth Elliott of Elliott + Elliott Architecture built their practice in the spectacularly beautiful, if temperamental, coastal town of Blue Hill, and continually produce high-caliber work that reflects the personality and history of their surroundings.
Elliott + Elliott are inspired by local culture. Sprinkled throughout the book are photographs of natural scenes outside their window: rock walls, tree bark, moss and grass—all to create a sense of “place.” The projects are all heavy with narrative: of place, materials, and Maine itself. How one might experience each residence is important to the designers; they call this “procession,” movement through the space.
Each project is a collection, or cluster, which is indigenous to Maine’s architectural history. The mass of buildings helps to minimize exposure to the elements during the winter months. Continuing with the Maine vernacular is the tendency of Elliott + Elliott to use local materials whenever possible and construct in ways that are quintessentially “Maine” in style, in particular, using methods of shipbuilding as a source of inspiration.
The work is all very traditional, borrowing from time-honored techniques and a “rich, cultural heritage,” yet looks completely modern. The book doesn’t show any photos of the houses during the unforgiving winter months, but the images inherently capture the preparedness of each structure during the milder summers. And each project is displayed so marvelously in the summer’s natural light. The architects designed the residences for maximum exposure, putting walls of windows facing south for communal spaces like the kitchen and living rooms, reserving the north face of the home for areas that require more privacy.
Megan Carey, Senior Editor/Gifts Editor here at PAP, has a particular affinity for Maine. She brought her background—growing up among the lasting winters, “mud season,” and the onslaught of blackflies in the summer—to the process of creating Houses of Maine. Megan very kindly spoke about her experience working with Elliott + Elliott to produce the book. “They were completely collaborative, great to work with,” she says. Both Megan and Benjamin English, the book’s designer, crafted a stunning volume of contemporary Maine residential architecture.
Houses of Maine: Elliott + Elliott Architecture is available now from PAPress
Casa Alta presents the breathtaking results of a nearly three-decade-long labor of love—an abandoned courtyard house in a small Andalusian village in Southern Spain, restored and renovated by Victor Carrasco and Elizabeth McMillan. Stunning photographs by acclaimed photographer Richard Barnes capture the lived-in details of the house, part sanctuary and part labyrinth, from vibrant tiles and textiles to calming plants and pools. Book design by 2013 AIGA medalist Lucille Tenazas.
Trees have long been one of mankind’s most utilized natural resources. In addition to their many practical uses, trees function as objects of beauty and provide the structure for designed landscapes. Gina Crandell’s Tree Gardens is the first book to examine what she calls the world’s “largest living architectural structures.” Case studies cover fifteen sites in eight countries, ranging from 16th-century plantings in Europe to the recently opened 9/11 Memorial forest in New York City.
The success of these gardens is due in part to their aesthetic design—their scale, context, selection and spacing of tree species—but also to their ongoing management. Crandell celebrates these dynamic architectural structures and the active management techniques that will help them flourish in the coming decades and centuries.
From Tree Gardens: Architecture and the Forest, available now.
Paula Scher MAPS
New York / Paris / London: Three Mini Journals
Developed in collaboration with legendary international design firm Pentagram (designed by Luke Hayman and his team), these three pocket-sized journals are decorated with partner Paula Scher’s obsessively detailed, highly personal city maps. Tuck these lightweight journals in your bag for your next journey, or simply use them to jot notes on the go. More info here.
Damon Styer, New Bohemia Signs, San Francisco
“I don’t know how a new generation of sign painters is supposed to make it. It’s not just about good design and nice hand lettering. It’s about being able to do it quickly and efficiently so that you can get paid enough to keep doing it. Practice is a part of it, but so is having good supplies, the right brushes, a smooth enough board, and paint that’s going to coat in one shot.”
From Sign Painters, available now!