Architects have often designed homes for their mothers early in their careers: Robert Venturi’s Vanna Venturi House and Charles Moore’s Kathryn Moore House are just two of the most famous examples. A mother’s unwavering belief in her child can be the catalyst for a successful career. Independent Architecture principal Paul Andersen conceived Motherhouse as an homage to his own parent. The result combines Andersen’s scrutiny of European abstract modernism with an idiosyncratic American flair.
When designing Motherhouse, Andersen spent time studying suburban housing in Englewood, Colorado. (Some of this turned into an essay, “Play the Part,” published in the magazine Flat Out in 2016.) His research takes the quirkiness of Americana seriously. Andersen approaches vernacular styles as ruled constructions of parts that are often found in peculiar combinations or arrangements; in this way, the mundane, ordinary stuff of everyday residential design begins to confront historical architectural discussions.