Designed over a course of five years with the cooperation of his students and local master builders, Oubrerie's 1988 Miller House is a testament to architectural discovery through variation and applied testing. Located on the outskirts of horse country in the suburban fringe of Lexington, Kentucky, this onetime residence is now a resource of public domain (at least for now). While clearly in the lineage of Le Corbusier, with whom Oubrerie was a student and protégé, the structure's current accessibility and context is threatened. Foundation for Advanced Architecture, a nonprofit trust founded and headed by local architect Scott Guyon, has pledged to save what author Kenneth Frampton has deemed a "master work" from ruin. Yet this neo-Cubist gem still faces an uncertain future.
While Dean of the college of Design and Architecture at University of Kentucky, Oubrerie was commissioned by attorney Robert Miller to design his dream home. It would be situated on a 30-acre lot, around which Miller and his partner planned to develop a neighborhood of suburban tract homes. Though Miller had the foresight to plant what serves now as a curtain of trees that blocks out two adjacent neighborhoods, there remains a striking dichotomy between the house's current field condition—literally a highly articulated object in a seemingly rural plane—to that of the Agrestic-like neighborhood one must pass through to reach it.
Proposals to save the house have come in several guises, from celebrity endorsement and a proposal to reprogram the building as a community center to outright sale. But why not benefit from the chance of an early zoning law—which until the late nineties deemed the lot outside the urban service boundary, protecting it from similar development? It wouldn’t take much to transform the land and house into a nature reserve and architectural retreat for the local and international design community to enjoy for years to come. It's easy to imagine this place as an oasis, invigorating creative minds of young and old alike, but like most things, ultimately it’s a matter of funding.
To help save the Miller House contact:
Scott Guyon, c/o Guyon Architects Inc.
401 West Main Street, Suite 321, Lexington, KY 40507
email at: email@example.com
Writer, designer, researcher, Jodie Bass holds a Master of Architecture degree from SCI‐Arc in Los Angeles, where she is currently based. Her work centers on the confluence of design and social engagement and is dedicated to the pursuit of conscientious construction through both critical and hands‐on methods. She has worked with prestigious firms, cultural institutions and creative folks on both coasts, including Ball+ Nogues, Ralph Appelbaum Associates, El Museo del Barrio, Jersey City Museum, Brooklyn Children’s Museum, and Lee Skolnick + Design Partnership. She is a contributing editor to Architizer, and led research for Ripped: Tshirts from the Underground, published in 2010 by Rizzoli. As a selected intern for the Foresight Initiative, she offered research and design solutions to the Department of the Environment for the City of Chicago, Smart Museum, and Enterprising Kitchen‐an organization offering training and development opportunities to unemployed and low‐income women. She holds a Master of Arts from NYU, in the departments of Museum Studies and Latin American and Caribbean Studies, and was awarded the Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowship. She learned a Bachelor of Arts in Religion and Art History from Vassar College and continues to enjoy learning through design and travel.