Friday, July 28, 2017

En Plein Air: House on Stakes (Acrylic 12 x 16)

The house is 18989 Parkinson Road, Alva, Florida. This morning, I got an impulse to explore this country road when I was driving on N. River Road (Highway 78). It was near the end of the road.

Since childhood, I have always been amazed by the idea of living in a house on stakes. The first time I saw houses on stakes and became interested in them was when I was a little boy and went to my hometown Hangzhou, China. Geographically, it was to the south of the Yangtze River and the countryside was like a network of waterways with rivers, lakes, and creeks all running into each other. The main tool of transportation for the farmers was always the boat. There were many small towns in the country and they were the places where farmers bought commercial products and sold whatever they produced in the country to get some cash money. What fascinated me in those small towns was the houses which were mostly built with one side on the dry land facing the street and the other side on stakes over the river. 

I thought at that time I justified to myself about this kind of architectures with practical reasons. The streets in those ancient towns were very narrow, not made for motor vehicles. Space was precious on the street, so it made sense for the houses to be built on stakes, especially when every family had a boat for transportation and they could have their boats sheltered under the house like Americans having a garage built for their cars. 

However, when I saw houses built on stakes in Florida, I couldn't quite understand the rationale behind it. There is no shortage of land here. Most people don't seem to use the space under the house as a garage but just to keep their junks. Maybe it is a more economical way to get extra space. Or is it for the purpose of keeping away the heat from the ground? I don't know. I'll do some research to get the answer. 

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