My house is a parallelogram...on purpose!

shnnnMarch 18, 2013

I have just starting rehabbing a shotgun single in the Holy Cross neighborhood in the Lower Ninth Ward, New Orleans. Like many houses in this area, mine was heavily damaged by the levee failure and years of subsequent neglect, so it is tilted and leaning. However, it is clear that the house as designed was a paralleogram instead of a rectangle: the corners are not and never were 90 degree angles. My protractor is a little rusty, but it seems that the opposite angles add up to 90, so it seems certain that this was done on purpose. My neighbor's house is the same way.
Has anyone ever heard of this house form? What would be the benefit that would cause a builder to add this complexity to their job?

P.S. Also like other houses here, the walls are not stud-framed but consist of exterior horizontal weatherboard and interior horizontal T&G panels that encase vertical barge boards about 2" x 12", which rest on 6x6 cypress sills. It is a testament to the power of the old wood that the house still stands even though in several places the sill is completely eaten away by rot and termites.

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Noted St. Louis architect William Bernoudy designed a parallelogram house, as have other architects from time to time. Practicality has nothing to do with it; just fascination with turning abstract geometrical shapes into reality. Near where I live there's a set of homes with some walls angled maybe 10 degrees off vertical and the rest composed of what architects like to call "playful" shapes.

This post was edited by worthy on Mon, Mar 18, 13 at 11:15

    Bookmark   March 18, 2013 at 11:06AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I have seen quite a few houses like that in NY where I live. All of the ones I've seen are on tiny lots of land that are directly adjacent to a diagonally situated railroad track or road. Say you have a tiny plot of land that is landlocked on some or all sides by diagonally running property lines, roads or railroad tracks. If you wanted to build the largest sized house possible, then you'd have to build a parallelogram that fits into the space created by those diagonal borders.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2013 at 11:31AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

" My protractor is a little rusty, but it seems that the opposite angles add up to 90, so it seems certain that this was done on purpose."

Nope ... the total of the angles of a 4-sided figure ALWAYS add up to 360 degrees. That holds true if you build a rectangle and something forces it to skew, or if you build a trapezoidal one by accident.

It's quite possible that the guise lines for the foundation were a couple of degrees off and if they were doing "cut to fit" building, they just compensated.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2013 at 4:39PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Need color help with exterior paint on 1902 Victorian with bad siding
We have a 1902 victorian in a small town in Iowa. Unfortunately,...
Jennifer Weinman
Old-Growth Heart pine paneling -- reused as flooring?
Hi, My new 1939 colonial has a family room and foyer...
1940 house (colonial) need period lighting advice
Hi! I'm really trying to stick with lighting that would...
Extruded Mortar
I have an older home built in the 1950`s which has...
Hi. I have never posted in this particular forum before,...
Sponsored Products
Stack Wood Dining Chair in Red
$69.00 | LexMod
Progress Lighting Wall Mounted Mansard Collection 1-Light Outdoor Black Wall
$60.03 | Home Depot
HQ Heriz Free Pad Mix Of Red-Ivory Blue 4x6 Hand Knotted Serapi Floral Rug H5838
BH Sun Inc
Curvy Dining Side Chair in White
$99.00 | LexMod
Kim Seybert Pitcher
$41.00 | FRONTGATE
Design House 522680 Kitchen Faucet Extension Kit - 522680
$28.99 | Hayneedle
Design House 4 in. Recessed Lighting White Pinhole Trim with Aluminum Reflector
$7.77 | Home Depot
Outdoor Heated Kitty House
$119.50 | FRONTGATE
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™