Burling Court Residence

Bethesda, MD -

In the suburbs of the Capitol, this project revels in the dialogue between old and new. Challenging traditional housing typology, the architect amended the façade and the existing rooms of his own typical 1940’s colonial brick house.

A new form explodes the front and rear façade in order to reveal the inner-workings of the colonial home. The floating roof and floor slab transcend the boundary imposed by the traditional load-bearing front façade. From within, the newly defined forms transport the gaze of the inhabitant to the distant neighborhood, expanding the limits of the house.

In the actual fabrication of both the entry and breakfast nook, the techniques of ship-building informed the process as much as did methods for residential construction.

The nautical world not only inspired the forms, but suggested a set of construction techniques. The bow of a ship encompasses the rear breakfast nook, and a similar form shapes the front entry. To develop these forms, the designers created a series of templates which could be altered, then reassembled.

Some of the new forms embody the delight of hobbies and interests. Others such as the solid stone wall allude to the traditional hearth around which the family gathers. The designer sought to create a fluid and flexible space that enriches daily family rituals and customs. While provoking dialogue between old and new, the architecture of this home is ultimately a tribute to daily life.

AIA | National / Small Projects 2006
Jury Commendation

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