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The Glass Awning

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Last month architect Jenda Michl of Vertu Studio in Los Angeles completed a lovely bit of work on his parents' house in Boulder, Colorado. A project that began as a sculptural glass awning turned into a custom screen door as well, and now a few years after getting underway the pair are finally finished and looking strong. Michl, who I've had the pleasure of getting to know at Dwell on Design over the last two years, shares the story of the spanking new entryway of his boyhood home. All photos by Daniel O'Connor.

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  This close-up view really gives you a sense of the awning's purpose: The four glass planes and metal hardware affixed to the facade divert rainwater away from the front door and out into a planter. What's more, the awning was engineered to handle Boulder's other serious form of precipitation: the snow and its heavy load.
    This close-up view really gives you a sense of the awning's purpose: The four glass planes and metal hardware affixed to the facade divert rainwater away from the front door and out into a planter. What's more, the awning was engineered to handle Boulder's other serious form of precipitation: the snow and its heavy load.
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  The awning itself, affixed to the facade of the mid-1960s house, is comprised of four pieces of fused, 3/8" thick, tempered glass. The zinc washers, stainless steel tubes, and other hardware were picked up at a local hardware store. The only elements Michl went higher end on were the metal bars and airline cable. Winds of up to 60 mph can hit the house so structural integrity was paramount.
    The awning itself, affixed to the facade of the mid-1960s house, is comprised of four pieces of fused, 3/8" thick, tempered glass. The zinc washers, stainless steel tubes, and other hardware were picked up at a local hardware store. The only elements Michl went higher end on were the metal bars and airline cable. Winds of up to 60 mph can hit the house so structural integrity was paramount.
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  Looking down from above you can see the hovering grace of the awning. It reminds me of some Calder mobile frozen as it spins. The budget for the project was $7,000.
    Looking down from above you can see the hovering grace of the awning. It reminds me of some Calder mobile frozen as it spins. The budget for the project was $7,000.
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  Michl's awning was devised to replace a previous wooden one that blocked views of the nearby mountains. See how the awning catches the light at night, yet another benefit of the crystalline design.
    Michl's awning was devised to replace a previous wooden one that blocked views of the nearby mountains. See how the awning catches the light at night, yet another benefit of the crystalline design.
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  Michl told me that after he'd completed the awning his mother, fed up with what was on the market, resigned herself to buying a white vinyl screen door to go beneath it. Michl hated the thing, calling it "a monstrosity," and feared that it would ruin some photos he was planning to take of his work. After a bit of cajoling, he got his parents to agree to let him make the custom screen door seen here.
    Michl told me that after he'd completed the awning his mother, fed up with what was on the market, resigned herself to buying a white vinyl screen door to go beneath it. Michl hated the thing, calling it "a monstrosity," and feared that it would ruin some photos he was planning to take of his work. After a bit of cajoling, he got his parents to agree to let him make the custom screen door seen here.
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  Here's the "monstrosity."
    Here's the "monstrosity."
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  The door itself is made of white oak and was fabricated by a friend. The slats on the lower half of the door put me in mind of a sunburst, but Michl says, "We went through 40 different designs, and lots and lots of sketches. We wanted something simple, but not too simple. I didn't want a literal translation of the odd angles above in the door. I wanted something that had its spirit without trying to be the awning."Don't miss a word of Dwell! Download our  FREE app from iTunes, friend us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter!
    The door itself is made of white oak and was fabricated by a friend. The slats on the lower half of the door put me in mind of a sunburst, but Michl says, "We went through 40 different designs, and lots and lots of sketches. We wanted something simple, but not too simple. I didn't want a literal translation of the odd angles above in the door. I wanted something that had its spirit without trying to be the awning."

    Don't miss a word of Dwell! Download our FREE app from iTunes, friend us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter!

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