The judges admired this Bauhaus-inflected building that beautifully displays the Americana and modern furniture collections of two former Knoll executives. Designed for the owners to age in place, it dispels any notion that a modernist house cannot be playful and warm. The crisply tailored, one-story pavilion is uniquely responsive to the rural site and the antique objects—some rustic, some refined. Locally quarried stone walls acknowledge the property’s 1750 house in which the owners lived for a long time. Here they define the home’s volumes and circulation, extending outside to frame the entry, pool, and terrace. “The roughness of the stone plays against the crispness of the glass,” which opens the house to views of a meadow and creek, says Stephen Cassell, FAIA.
Inside, the clerestory-lit central spine is a gallery displaying the owners’ weathervane collection, and graciously scaled living spaces silhouette the sculptural furniture. “The materiality and texture from the collection is juxtaposed against the lines of the house in a fun way,” says Kim Yao, FAIA. Dark limestone and European white oak flooring, white leather–wrapped structural columns, and walnut and stained ash cabinetry complement the collections’ saturated colors— an inspired pairing of richness and restraint.
“The challenge was designing a house that is almost an exhibition space for all their collections, and they met that challenge admirably,” a judge said.
Custom Rural or Vacation House
Architecture Research Office
Bucks County Residence
Bucks County, Pennsylvania
Architect: Stephen Cassell, FAIA, and Kim Yao, FAIA, co-principals in charge; Neil Patel, AIA, project director; Nora Yoo, Luke Winata, Benjamin Morris, Nathan Keibler, Xi-Wen Wei, project architects, Architectural Research Office, New York, New York
Builder: Lewis Brothers, Quakertown, Pennsylvania
Landscape architect: Michael Boucher Landscape Architecture, Freeport, Maine
Lighting: Rick Shaver Architectural Lighting, New York
Structural engineer: Silman, New York
Civil engineer: Cowan Associates, Quakertown
Envelope: SGH, Waltham, Massachusetts
Project size: 4,250 square feet
Site size: 28.3 acres
Construction cost: Withheld
Photography: Stephen Kent Johnson
Appliances: Ferguson supplied
Cabinetry/millwork: Oberholtzer Custom Cabinetry
Door hardware: Knobs ‘N Knockers
Exterior: Stonesource, Amendola Stone & Tile
Finish materials: Spinneybeck leather wrap
HVAC: Good, Inc.
Landscape masonry: Pequea Valley Stone Masonry
Structural steel: Roy J. Shelton, Inc.
Window shades: JET Upholstery