Gonzo Balcony

Our client, a friend and confidant of Hunter S. Thompson, hired us to design a small balcony that would project from his existing second-story bedroom. He wanted a space where he could comfortably sit and enjoy the aroma of the springtime blossoms of an adjacent crabapple tree. Prior to our involvement, a builder was charged with the same task and proposed a design of conventional means that yielded a small ‘Juliet balcony’ which offered little in terms of usable floor area. The unique geometry of our design takes its cues from the folded facade of the existing two-story residence. The novel structural system allows for an increase in the floor area and also extends the balcony into the canopy of the adjacent tree, creating the feel of an urban tree house. While the occupiable space of the balcony is quite generous, the perception of the addition from the street is significantly diminished given the integrated structural design, architectural detailing and ephemeral material qualities. The balcony seems to float, cantilevering off the façade, vibrating or vanishing depending on the quality of natural light and one’s vantage point.

Date: 2011

Scale: 39 SQ FT

Location: Chicago, IL

Type: Residential