Kennett Square Residence
- 5,190 sf
- AIA 2021 Architectural Excellence Design Award, Finalist, Single Family Residence, Detached, Unbuilt
A couple in their early fifties, with an extensive international work travel schedule, wanted a respite when back between assignments. They sought a home that accommodated their art collection with access to garden and outdoor areas as seamless extensions of the interior spaces. The two-acre site is located less than a mile from Longwood Gardens, one of the premier botanical gardens in the United States and the design drew inspiration in the stone walls and corten steel site elements found throughout the gardens. The house is a hybrid, part courtyard house and part promontory pavilion. The design imagines an old fieldstone wall cutting east to west across the site, as a remnant from an old barn when the site was formally farmland. A second steel wall runs parallel to it as a machined counterpoint to the hand-made stone construction, creating an opaque rusting face to the adjacent roadway and an intimately scaled courtyard. A rectangular steel clad volume is positioned above the two walls with a front facing window wall of glass in contrast to the steel wall that the volume rests on, while an intimate balcony is folded into its steel surface allowing for a perch to experience unobstructed views across the site. The primary living spaces are set in a glass and wood clad pavilion nested against the stone wall facing the rear yard. The boundaries between the interior and the gardens disappear as glass walls slide into wall pockets. A continuous limestone-clad terrace runs the length of the volume and is covered by an extension of the roof plane supported by Meisian-inspired steel columns. At night the interior will read as a glowing box of wood screens set between a steel edged roof canopy and stone plinth framed dramatically against a rustic stone wall. The positioning of the house on the site and the framing of views will allow the owners to experience the changing seasons throughout the house and preserve their privacy from neighboring houses.