Architecture and Design

Hayes McNeil's Modern Ideal

Just as our fashion choices, the books we read, or the films we watch speak volumes about who we are, our homes are an expression of our own unique personal style. So beginning this week, Jackalope Ranch is celebrating local Phoenicians who've created amazing dwellings -- clean and modern or eclectic and vintage -- with a series, Personal Space.

First up, Hayes McNeil, local architect, founder of plus minus studio and owner of Royal Coffee Bar.

See the slideshow and learn more after the jump.

Le Corbusier, one of the pioneers of modern architecture once declared "a home is a machine for living". Just like the parts of a well-crafted machine, everything that exists within a home should be essential. Anything more was frivolous and downright bourgeois.

For Phoenix architect Hayes McNeil, his home, a duplex in central Phoenix, represents some of the same modernist ideas advocated in the past, efficiency, form following function and the improvement of communities through architecture.

"This house was an experiment," says Hayes." We wanted to see how much we could squeeze in while still being as efficient with materials and energy as possible."

The McNeil home is also an experiment in fluid boundaries. With no doors and few walls, the division of space is more implicit rather than explicit.

"We wanted the house to have implied boundaries, without actually having walls or doors," says Hayes. "In the end, it's about the size. A smaller space will feel bigger and better without walls."

At exactly 1,000 square feet, their home might seem a bit snug by today's standards, but for the McNeils, smaller is better. Not only is it more energy efficient, but Hayes sees smaller homes and duplexes as ideal for creating denser urban spaces that cultivate a sense of brotherly love. By creating duplexes with overlapping spaces, shared courtyards for example, Hayes believes good neighbors are an inevitability.

"A duplex model works well and causes you to be mindful of the way you treat others," says Hayes. "It causes you to be conscious of being part of a community."

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