i never questioned why our bedroom hallway was L-shaped or why a wood rail allowed you to perch three-feet above the living room floor, but there is undoubtedly no other concrete box quite like it. a source of inspiration, i can't help but revisit my childhood with each detail of it's design.
my mom had only recently let me know that it was a korean architect, a friend of my uncle's, who designed our one-of-a-kind home. i find it very fitting and comforting that an actual architect had done their job in creating something unique, functional, and memorable. a custom-stained front door forced you to walk over the flesh-colored, marbled, vinyl flooring. beyond the dining entry, glossy white laminate millwork and crackled mirror shelving separated the open kitchen from the living room with a pass-through opening. custom wood furniture, chocolate and tomato-red corduroy couches splattered with orange, and polished chrome tables with beveled glass tabletops completed the groovy scene and it remained that way until the early 90's when my parents finally gave up their starter home to move outside of the northern "countryside" of yigo to the more centrally-located yet somewhat isolated outskirts of machanao, dededo.
by no means was our idyllic family compound, nestled in the streets of yigo, gilded with luxury, nor was I raised in an architectural gem. ;the fruits of my parents' labor indeed gifted me with a sense of space decades before understanding its implications on my architecture aspirations.
far from a privileged nor a struggling upbringing, our family of three girls thrived on the standard luxuries. each of my parents worked more than one job and made several attempts at entrepreneurial-ship to which we not only witnessed but participated in: balloons, jewelry, taxes, and magazine deliveries are among them.
the house also had an attached dirty kitchen", made of lumber and corrugated tin. it allowed for frequent casual outdoor gatherings while special meals or guests were attended to. this feature rusticated both the aesthetic and lifestyle of our home, while we stayed in rather than eat out at restaurants.
the house is situated off a beaten path with a partially and poorly-paved, pot-hole-ridden, long gravel driveway to announce your arrival. the yard was not neatly manicured but overgrown with fruit trees while barely able to grow a patch of healthy grass. soaring and leaning coconut trees were in place of a built fence and for many years, ours was the only concrete structure within the small cluster of homes that terminates the cul de sac at 115 salas court in the heart of yigo.
since having chosen this path, people often ask: "why architecture?". it is lofty of me wanting to change the "concrete boxes" that fill Guam's grids, knowing that i grew up in a concrete box that was anything but. it is truly a testament that after 3 decades, my childhood home has not undergone a major renovation or addition. this is now certainly on my bucket list.