Jones, Partners : Architecture

Wes Jones (*1958)


At the end of the millennium, celebrated also as the end of modernism, form seems to be coming into fashion again-disguised, again, as expertise.(…) The undeniably technological expertise heralded by the "new" form is directed for the most part toward the indiscriminate production of difference, leaving its actual relevance to architecture unclear. That architecture would refer to technology is not itself new. The models may no longer be airplanes and steamships, but the same envy of an exotic expertise that previously tried to open the "eyes which do not see" brings MAYA to architecture today. In both cases technology is addressed as a theme, with the trappings of heightened expression, lofty sentiment and formal exhibitionism. The mediated apparatus of expectation turns technology into a symbol or metaphor. If the theme is critical the architecture gets sharp and pointy, wordy and "difficult", or if it is affirmational it becomes chrome-plated and party-colored, or more recently, virtual and amorphic. In either case, technology is excitingly "exposed" : revealed like a dirty secret, or liberated as if harboring a heretofore hidden voluptuousness. Yet, the response to this issue need not necessarily be only celebration or harsh critique ; when we understand that architecture is itself, at heart, technological, another possibility suggests itself : we can ask what sort of vernacular would/does it inspire ? The answer is not as obvious as celebration or critique, since it is not easy or expected for architecture to address a theme less than stridently. Matter-of-factness, or straightforwardness is not an attitude associated with the signature work that counts for architecture today. The difference between using technology as a symbol, and more visibly being technology itself, as an expression arising from within technology rather than one that merely borrows technological form to illustrate some other non-technological interest, is the distinction between the work of Jones, Partners : Architecture and others who might be considered technologically oriented. Since technology does not admit an author other than nature, the signature architect must make non - or anti - technological adjustments in order to assert authorship. By such adjustment, the author asserts control and makes the technology serve these interests rather than the program's (the idea of program is itself a "gift" of technology). These issues are explicitly addressed by Jones, Partners : Architecture in the four residential projects included here. The house is the architectural problem degree zero. All architectural programs are at root houses-for-something, in the same way they are machines-for-something. Corbu's term was not machine-for-living, but the more active machine-à-habiter, which we prefer in our ignorance to translate machine for dwelling. It is in the difference between these two words that architecture finds its reason to involve itself in the house program, and discovers its technological heritage.

Wes Jones





Brill.2 Residence
San Clemente, USA, 1998


The design negotiates a position between assimi-lation to the ethos of the flatpad gated community-requiring a thin, stucco veneer attitude, and allegiance to the underlying natural reality, which encourages elemental configurations of steel, glass and concrete. The irony of the gated community's predominate fake Mediterraneanism is echoed by the artificiality of its land-use and grading design ; the particular planning strategy practiced at this development is imported whole from flatland golf course developments in Florida, and adheres like a veneer to the non-flat landscape. Within this context, the ridgeline running diagonally through the site encapsulates the dichotomy and establishes a powerful datum, dividing the accessible veneered areas of the site from the non-accessible wild areas, the artificial flat pad from the "natural" slope. The clients want to enjoy full usage of their entire lot, consequently the building reaches out from the conventionally accessible portion of the lot through space all the way out to the rear yard setback, where it hovers over the "wildness.".


Arias Tsang Residence
Brisbane, USA, 2000


This project is situated in Brisbane, California, a small hillside community south of San Francisco. The lot is located up in the hills, at the uppermost edge of development, on a sloping site bordering a dense oak forest. The downhill view is into the backyards of the neighbors. The uphill view into the oak forest is more pleasant. This means that the house must be more closed in the front and more open to the rear. The client prefers the house to have a minimal impact on the site. The house borrows from the "loft" model, with openings at either end, focussed to views along the edge of the oaks. Into this loft "shell" a "hermit crab" of functional support elements has been introduced. Vertical windows on the downhill side avoid the view of the neighbors' yards for the most part, while horizontal windows in the rear "sample" the intricate patterns of the oak forest. The simple tube form has been flexed and twisted to conform more closely to the sloping contours of the site, and these contours work their way into the interior of the house in the living area, which is sloped. The client likes a spare space, so the sloped floor of fine hardwood takes the place of furniture here.



Brill.1 Residence
silverlake, USA, 1998-99


This extensive remodel of a former aikido studio in the increasingly fashionable Silverlake neighborhood of Los Angeles can be seen as addressing the possibility for a vernacular account of technology. The original structure was leveled down to the retaining walls and the floor separating the studio's workout area from the garage level was removed, creating a three-story living space in one half of the resulting volume, and a stacked tier of private spaces in the other half, above a new garage. A new steel structural system holds these smaller spaces up and the retai-ning walls apart. Display shelving for an extensive drum collection, accessed by a bicycle operated travelling bridge, fill the upper reaches of the three-story volume. The guardrails of this travelling bridge can be deployed horizontally, allowing it to double as a performance platform. Privacy in this loft-style residence is achieved by the manipulation of multiple opaque and translucent wall panels in a sliding rail system; this same system may be used to tune the space acoustically for percussion performances.

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Stieglitz Residence
Hollywood, USA, 1998




The project began simply enough as a straightforward roof replacement, and grew from there to become a whole lifestyle. The roof pretty much took over, becoming a ROOF. Under its "protection" stuff began to happen. The house enjoys a magnificent view to the west. Unfortunately, this is also the worst sun exposure. The site is planted in an eclectic mix of native and exotic species, which mitigates the otherwise close presence of the neighbors to the north and south and gives the site a sense of privacy and solitude. Setting out to make a Hollywood kind of house raises the question : what does Hollywood look like, anyway ? What is the spatial equivalent of the Hollywood thing ? And that famous light ? What's the blanc page that whispers noir ? The buildings of Southern California, the magnet of exuberant possibility, are worn to a shine by a harsher than obvious desert reality. The "facade", if it could be called that, is a blank page, like anything else on the street, continuing the hollywoodian paradox.


Wes Jones (1958)

1983 – Master of Architecture, Graduate School of Design, Harvard University
1980 – University of California, Berkeley
1978 – United States Military Academy, West Point
1993 – Création de Jones, Partners : Architecture à San Francisco
1991 – Holt Hinshaw Jones, San Francisco ; 1987 – Holt Hinshaw Pfau Jones
1983 – Eisenman / Robertson, New York
1980 – ELS Design Group, Berkeley



Professeur invité à Harvard, Princeton, IIT, Columbia, UCLA et Ohio State University


Principaux projets et réalisations

2000 – "Arias Tsang Residence" Brisbane, Californie (projet) ; "House of the future" (Time Magazine)
1999 – "Brill .1 Residence" Silverlake (réalisé) ; "Redondo Duplex" Redondo Beach
1998 – "Stieglitz Residence" Hollywood (projet) ; "Brill .2 Residence" San Clemente (projet) ; "Urban Epicuria" West Hollywood ; "San Jose Repertory Theater" Californie
1997 – "Andersen Consulting" Kuala Lumpur ; "I8*Noodles Restaurant Prototype" ; "Instrumental Form" (boss architecture)
1996 – "General Instruments Corporate Campus" Philadelphie ; "Zimmer Stair" University of Cincinnati ; "Confluent Point Bridge and Ranger Station, San José, Californie
1995 – "American Medicals Informatics Center" Roumanie
1994 – "Edenscape Area lmprovements" Campus Services Building, University of Cincinnati ; "Hesselink Houses" Hope Valley, Californie
1993 – "Edenscape Masterplan" University of Cincinnati/UCLA Chiller Plant
1989 – "Astronauts Memorial" Kennedy Space Center, Floride

Principales publications de Wes Jones

1999 – "Mies-Takes" Any n°24
1997 – "Instrumental Form" Princeton Architectural Press
1995 – "The Mech in Tecture" Any n°10


Bibliographie sélective

2000 – "How will you live" Time Magazine (28 fév.)
1999 – "The Times Capsule" The New York Times Magazine (5 déc.) ; "Single Family Housing : The Private Domain" Jaime Salazar, éditions Birkhaüser/ACTAR ; "The Culture of Technology" Elizabeth Smith, éditions Thames and Hudson ; "Jones, Partners : Architecture" GA Houses 59, Japon
1998 – "Jones, Partners : Architecture" GA Houses 55, Japon ; "Confluence Point Ranger Station" Architecture ; "Boss Architecture" Nicolai Ourrossof, Los Angeles Times (Fév.)
1997 – "New Forms" Philip Jodidio, Benedikt Taschen verlag ; "Architectural Drawing : A Visual Compendium of Types and Methods" Rendow Yee, éditions John Wiley & Sons ; "Jones, Partners : Architecture" GA Houses 52, Japon ; "The Whitney Guide to 20th Century American Architecture" Sydney LeBlanc, éditions The Whitney Design Library
1996 – "Contemporary California Architects" Philip Jodidio, éditions Benedikt Taschen verlag ; "581 Architects in the World" Gallery MA ; "Central Cogeneration Plant" A+U (Fév.) ; Architecture (mars) ; "Sierra Cabins Meadow House" Architettura Intersezioni n° 3 ; "Notes, InRe:mediation" Aris n° 2
1995 – Progressive Architecture (janv.) ; "Jones, Partners : Architecture" GA Houses 45, Japon ;"Wohncontainer on the Rocks" Hauser (mars) ; "Verpackungskünstler" DBZ (juil.) ; "Conventional Bondage" GSD Studio Works 95-96