This project for a guest house was motivated by Robert Venturi’s examples of various types of relationships between inside and outside. He writes “The Renaissance church interior… has a continuity with its exterior…”. However, in the next sentence he elaborates further stating that “The result is subtle modification but little contrast and no surprise” (p. 70).
Reflecting on this passage provoked an interest in the idea of surprise as a concept. Formally, two volumes are stacked on top of each other, a vertical shaft of space is extracted to admit air and light, forming an inner courtyard that is completely hidden from the outside, creating an unforeseen and surprising moment within the dwelling. Spatially, the micro-dwelling has a small footprint but contains a good bit of volume as well unprogrammed space, so occupants can choose to live in a manner that suit their needs.