House in Brookline

Project Description

The quintessential suburban house: a home for a family with three children.  Set into a gently sloping leftover suburban lot in a quiet upper income neighborhood, it is at once a repository of tradition and a vehicle for innovation.  Disciplined, subtle, restrained, it respects but holds its own amidst its Neo-Georgian, colonial and mock-Colonial neighbors.

It is a house of contrasting facades.  To the street, a formal, somewhat serious face is tempered with gently undulating curves that form an entry courtyard flanked by nearly symmetrical, slightly offset pavilions.  These house the formal entertaining and living spaces in clearly defined, generously proportioned rooms.  The impact of the three car garage is minimized by its divergent angle and serpentine approach.  In contrast, the open and idiosyncratic rear facade belies a shift from the formal spatial order of the front to a utilitarian, open-plan organization that accommodates the overlapping rituals of everyday family life, challenging ideas of closure and fixed space.

The plan is anchored and organized around a transverse, two-story wall that functions as the house’s central unifying element, both inviting and filtering communication between front and back, formal and informal, and public and private, thus creating an interplay of contrasting geometries and spaces.  The wall is reinforced on one side by a two-story entrance gallery accommodating a growing art collection and on the other by a horizontal, bi-level circulation spine along which the private family living spaces are arranged.

The house, like the family it houses, presents itself both as a homogeneous whole, and as an assemblage of distinct, unmistakably unique parts.