Connecticut House, Architecture, Architects, Photo, Building, Residence, Greenwich Property
Connecticut Residence, USA : Greenwich Home
Playhouse, CO, United States of America – design by Austin Patterson Disston Architects
21 Dec 2007
Design: Austin Patterson Disston Architects
David E. Austin, AIA, partner-in-charge
Design Focus: An existing large (11,000 s.f.) house on an ample tract of rolling, wooded, rural land punctuated by numerous rocky outcroppings and surrounded by orchards and gardens set the tone of the project. The main house design is classic International Style with a white stucco exterior and flat roofs.
The clients, who have four young children and like to entertain, wanted a “playhouse” which would be separate and somewhat removed from the main house, yet easily accessible and feature an entertainment space with media facilities and an adjacent inglenook with fireplace and view of the adjacent rock outcropping for intimate conversations. The program also included an area for pool and ping-pong, etc., a crafts area, and a media workshop. The clients stipulated that the style of the “playhouse” be compatible with that of the main house and that the same exterior materials should be used. In addition there was a zoning requirement that the new footprint had to follow that of an existing guesthouse, which would be demolished. The interiors were to be informally laid out but simply and elegantly finished.
Design Precedents and Process: One precedent influencing the design was obviously the clients’ requirement that it reflect the style of the existing house. Another was the Italian Renaissance villa tradition with its origins in Roman times of the pleasure house, usually part of a garden, and having no practical purpose other than the giving of pleasure. Examples are pavilions in the gardens of the Villa Lante and Villa Caprarola, both by Vignola. Thus the project became associated in Mr. Austin’s mind with gardens and the processional experience of walking from house to playhouse became an important part of the design and is reflected in the elevated walkway, connecting the playhouse with the second floor of the main house, steps ramp and meandering paths.
The overhanging steel roof unites the party room with the terrace outside and its asymmetric form relates the skewed axis of the guesthouse footprint with that of the main house. In addition to the other recreational functions mentioned above there is a tower lookout from which the whole scene can be surveyed. The main floor interior spaces of the 2,793 s.f. playhouse have Canadian elm floors with walls of cherry paneling and painted skim-coated wallboard. All cabinetwork, window and door casings are in cherry.
Specific Materials: Exterior: exposed painted steel structure, glass walls steel frame, white stucco to match existing residence, fieldstone terrace and wall; roof of lead-coated copper; observatory: teak deck with glass block floor. Interior: party room: Canadian elm floors, cherry wall paneling, cabinets and silk fabric walls; games and crafts room: vinyl tile floor and corkboard paneling; bath: concrete sink; fireplace: concrete surround.
Photographs: Interiors – Durston Saylor ; Exteriors – David Sundberg/ESTO
Connecticut House photos / information from Austin Patterson Disston Architects 211207
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