Art House + Courtyard project involves the extension of an existing house built in the 1920s, onto the adjacent plot, with distinctive features including a private courtyard. The owners wanted to expand their home for their family of six, when the lot adjacent to their house came on the market.
One of the interesting and challenging aspects of the project was its trapezoidal site. Locating the art storage and studio structures against the rear setback, while keeping them low and discreet relative to the forward position of the taller new and original houses, creates a false perspective, increasing the perceived depth of the property.
This residential project involved the construction of three distinct structures, creating additional interior space and forming a private courtyard for an existing house that remains in place. The largest new structure, the Art House, is designed to house a burgeoning art collection, and accommodate occasional guests. 11′ tall glass doors disappear into pockets and are set flush in the living room of the Art House, blurring the distinction between inside and outside while adding a grand scale.
A small pool and lawn provides a space where the family gathers on weekends. The plan of the residence is inverted in the sense that bedrooms face the street, while living room and kitchen are in back, connecting entertaining spaces to the courtyard. The existing house has window shades in the living/dining room that are usually drawn for privacy from the street. True to its name, art is present in every room and on every wall. The new living/dining room has 10’ tall, unencumbered doors and windows, allowing you to experience the space of the courtyard all day long.
Perforated zinc wraps the second level, filtering the daylight and reducing heat gain. Another primary material used in the exterior are cementitious panels attached over metal ‘hat channels’, reducing direct thermal transfer. This ‘rain screen’ construction, provides both thermal and waterproofing benefits. Green grey limestone flooring throughout the main floor connects the interior spaces with the exterior patio, creating a feeling of continuity. The white ‘gallery’ quality of the interior spaces, selected as the background most versatile for art, is offset with a muted palette of soft green colored stone, stained white oak and warm neutral furnishings. Details throughout are restrained and minimal, receding in service of the art.
From the street, the volumetric arrangement of the new house builds on the blocky vocabulary of the existing residence –a generic assemblage of unadorned builder boxes, with a few random arches, now removed. In order for the two buildings to feel connected, though not physically touching, the new house begins with the same massing language, however the two bedrooms are now on the street side, split by the entry, forming separate volumes with differing floor levels. A third box at the second level, set back on the sides and front, completes the composition.