There is something about walking across a footbridge to the front door of an architect designed home that provokes excitement, glamour and mystery. Even my favorite architectural exhibition that I saw at the Royal Academy in London was models and drawings of several centuries of houses incorporated into bridges – houses actually on and part of the bridges.
While in Dallas, we do not have houses on top of bridges. Nevertheless, we do have extraordinary homes in Dallas where the approach is a walking bridge.
Walking Across a Bridge to a Home is Both Primitive and Sublime.
This pedestrian passage subliminally evokes traversing a medieval moat for ultimate protection, or sashaying down a red carpet, or gliding along a fashion catwalk to thunderous applause. One’s environment changes by this transition in a way that is subtle and savory. A footbridge slows down the transition from the outside environment to the inside environment. For a few moments one is suspended between these two realities.
Robert Johnson Perry Architect Designed Bridge House in Preston Hollow
Architect Robert Johnson Perry designed a home accessed by a footbridge in Mayflower Estates, part of the Preston Hollow estate neighborhood.
Here Mr. and Mrs. Phillip Schepps took the corner ledge of a several acre lot and retained Robert Johnson Perry to design a home for just the two of them. Robert Johnson Perry was an accomplished modernist who designed many modern homes that have since been renovated by important architects and designers, including designer Emily Summer’s own home.
Just as modernist architect Howard Meyer could take his classical modern proportions to the Colonial home he designed on Cochran Chapel, Robert Johnson Perry was able to bring his modern sensibility to this house with a French influence. You can visit our Architecturally Significant section and see more photographs and information on this Mayflower Estates home.
George Woo Built Bridge House on Highest Point in Dallas
Another architecturally significant home that has received international attention, articles in Architectural Digest and Luxe – Interiors and Design is a home designed by architect George Woo at the highest point in Dallas County.
Here the footbridge extends the axis that runs through the symmetrically perfect preliminary structures and provides the elevated passage to the front door of the primary house. This bridge begins to give you views of the valley and endless forest and also gives you a visual momentum to anticipate the views in the house and the elevated terrace at the end of the axis where the distant lake and one hundred mile views fill the horizon. Crossing the footbridge, one is transported from a city just 17 miles away to a frame of mind that takes you totally out of a dense metropolitan area.
Antoine Predock Creates Bridge and Similar Effect in Highland Park Home
Architect Antoine Predock, in the park setting of Exall Lake and Highland Park, conveys this same sensation by extending the elevated footbridge from the rear of the house into treetops overlooking several acres of private and public park land. This footbridge creates a great counterpoint to the front door, which is just a few feet from a mundane suburban street and is encased in a well-planted bunker. Here the mystery starts at the front door, the interior of the house excites and the footbridge calms and provokes the imagination.
Jim Wiley and Bud Oglesby Design Bridge Home in Highland Park
Jim Wiley and Bud Oglesby chose a location along the Turtle Creek to build a small glass cube with bedrooms that could also serve as balconies for musical performances. Here the Highland Park environment is so gorgeous, you want to traverse the bridge to get closer to the home nestled behind the curving creek and go inside to intensify the feeling. You can also more photographs of this home at Kelley Residence.
James Pratt Designed Bridge to Top of Home
Architect James Pratt designed this architecturally significant home in Bluffview in the 1950s. Steeply descending topography provided a perfect site, set back and lower than the hidden street. Here James Pratt designed a footbridge that leads to the middle of the upper level of the home where you enter. The bridge connects to a covered balcony creating an outdoor living space that wraps around the home, immersing one into the lush environment.
Footbridges Provide Solution to Some Impossible Sites and Accentuate Drama of Site in Others
Often the most difficult topographically complicated residential sites beget the most interesting and successful homes. The houses mentioned in this blog article are the result of dramatic but difficult sites. Some of these houses were designed on sites where most people assumed a home could never be built. A footbridge often becomes the link from the impossible to the successful.
Incorporated as an integral part of the architectural design, footbridges are romantic and practical, used for centuries and are still very modern.