Buzz Buzz Buzz Buzz.

I glanced at my caller ID, and then answered.

“Yo pops, what’s up?”

“Hey girl. I’ve got a potential client for you, she would like to see your portfolio.”

Two seconds of silence. Ugghhh. I still haven’t assembled my portfolio from grad school. I was never very good at documentation.

“Ok, I will send it over to her ASAP!”

Wait… what did I just say?

That night, while scrambling to assemble my portfolio, I repeatedly told myself, “Well, what’s the worst that could happen? She’ll just say ‘No’”. There was something calming in that thought, and I was very aware of possible rejection (probably the reason why I didn’t already have a portfolio).

Eight months later, the creation of Mollhaus; a testament to saying “YES”, and a desire to document the progress of my first project in Taos, New Mexico.

mollhaus combination

Mollhaus is an eponymous combination of the dollhouse, feminine architecture, and the Bauhaus canon. Let me explain.

Pollypocket, a micro dollhouse, small in form but weighty in imagination, was originally designed by a father, for his daughter, in an old powder compact case. He wanted his daughter to have both a portable doll and a whole world in which it could travel. It was mass marketed in the early 90’s; my girlfriends and I all had them. In retrospect, Pollypocket influenced my ability to understand and imagine space and it provided a transcendent experience of looking down and observing an entire world, manipulating it, and creating the story that took place inside.  I was hooked.

Cut to Architecture School.

Whilst in architecture school, of the many things I learned, two items in particular lodged themselves in my memory. First, in history class, we learned that ancient nomadic women were responsible for building shelter while men hunted. The role reversal was a novel concept (women + shelter – men + food), and the antithesis of modern history. But it led me to believe that the desire to create shelter is feminine at its very core. In essence, Mollhaus is drawing upon that primordial feminine innateness and manifesting it in the contemporary built environment.

Prior to architecture school, I applied to a few different colleges, and ended up accepting admission at the University of San Francisco. Before I moved there I had never been to San Francisco, and aside from family vacations, Taos was my world. I thought everywhere and everything was made of adobe (mud brick). So, when my 17 year-old self moved to San Francisco, Queen Anne’s and stick construction blew my mind. The variety of styles, and building typologies (row-houses), were so exciting. They were all “modern”, simply because they weren’t made out of earth – the oldest building material known to man.

The Bauhaus style quickly dated the Queen Anne’s, and taught me what modernism truly was. It was utility, not decoration; neatness, not clutter; simplicity, not complexity (although a modern detail can be much more complex than a traditional one), but most important is an idea with which to design from (function before form), instead of solely depending upon myself to make something beautiful.  What a relief!

Finally, Mollhaus is my modernist come contemporary architecture education returning to the land of dirt houses. I look forward to seeing what happens!

Regarding the blog, it serves a number of personal purposes. In the age of pinning, liking, and re-posting, I desire to push my own creativity and contribute with original content. In turn, I hope to get feedback, critiques, and suggestions from the world wide web. It is a resource for myself, my peers, and clients. And as I mentioned before, I have never been very good at documenting, so this will certainly exercise that flaw.

About the client: She is to remain anonymous, except for details vital to the project. For example, she is a screen printer, so we included a studio in the program, with a utility sink; an industrial fan to exhaust paint fumes, and built in paint stacks. I will disclose information as I see pertinent to the post.

2 thoughts on “ About Mollhaus ”

  1. Molly, I found your website today after re-reading an article I saved about the house you designed in Taos. I LOVE that house. This is the first year in 10 years we have not made our annual trip to Taos; I am one of those cliche thunder-struck visitors who can think of nothing but chucking it all to live out my days there. But here I sit in Chicago in these unsettling times with the picture of your house as my drishti in my office. Thank you for the visualization of that dream. Someday I will contact you again to help me build that house – maybe a bit smaller – in my happy place. If you care to share any stats beyond what was given in the article, I’d be interested to plug them into my escape plan needs. I hope you are well. Gratefully, Jackie

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