It’s apparent when admiring a project designed by David Jameson, AIA, principal of David Jameson Architect in Alexandria, Va., that modern architecture is his passion. This style of architecture can be found in the distilled lines that create each element of a house as well as the materials used. The tenets of modern architecture are explored in every aspect of projects that David Jameson designs.
Jameson says his modernist approach isn’t necessarily influenced by anything or anyone; it’s simply his passion. “I believe it’s the only real architecture. As life evolves and building technologies evolve, building synthetic reproductions of housing from a bygone era is not a responsible way of looking forward. Modern architecture is a creative way of looking forward to the evolutions of life,” Jameson says.
When starting a new project, Jameson views each house as a piece of art, acknowledging that every house needs places to cook, eat, sit and sleep. “However, architecture has the ability to move past the pragmatic realm and into the realm of the poetic,” he says. “How does a house respond to its site, light and program, and do all those responses’ complicity support a concept or idea that drives the project?”
To achieve his goal of transforming a house into a sculptural piece of architecture, he uses light and shadow to paint surfaces and space.
Jameson creates planes and surfaces that light can move across to tell a story of time, he adds. Jameson also focuses on what material he uses because of its ability to support the overall concept of a house.
“We employ authentic materials as opposed to products that try to be something they are not. In a lot of projects, we use natural materials, be it stone, wood or metals,” Jameson says. “We strive to make thoughtful decisions and design projects in a way that makes sense in the typology of either the neighborhood or the site they might engage.”
The textures and materials are used to support the planes and surfaces on each project. Depending on the house, Jameson will use the same material throughout the exterior, and other times a house can include two to three materials that respond to unique massing. “Each material has its own intrinsic quality and presence and is chosen to support the design ideology of each project,” Jameson adds.
Natural lighting is an important resource for Jameson’s designs so he uses it as much as possible. “We believe in using natural light and shadow to bathe spaces. Emotionally, people respond to the use of natural light,” he says. “Since there are no defined rules in modern architecture, it allows us to place window apertures to frame views and reach for light within the design idiom of the project.”
Style is consistent throughout houses designed by Jameson as he doesn’t view one room as more important than others. “We don’t think of our work being stylistic; it seems more important that the work be timeless and elegant. We approach a project both from the macro perspective — how it sits on the site, how it responds to topography, light and its environment — to the micro perspective of details,” Jameson says.
Passion for Architecture
Jameson is proud of how well sited each of his projects are because of the hard work that goes into taking advantage of natural light. “We work hard to use natural light in a creative way. The materiality and proportions of the project should work well with one another. Our interior spaces are experienced in a way that is hopefully supportive of the exterior massing,” he adds.
Jameson doesn’t struggle to get inspired for each project because he loves what he does for a living. “Being an architect is like being paid to play in a sandbox,” he says. “It doesn’t take much to get inspired about getting up and going to work.”