2022 RDAA | Custom Rural or Vacation House | Bucks County Residence | Architecture Research Office

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

Project Credits

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

Key Products

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

Windows: Fleetwood