Launch Slideshow

Image

Monograph: David Jameson Architect

Monograph: David Jameson Architect

  • David Jameson, photographed at the Calem-Rubin Residence in Bethesda, Md.

    http://www.residentialarchitect.com/Images/tmp78E3%2Etmp_tcm48-1871930.jpg

    true

    David Jameson, photographed at the Calem-Rubin Residence in Bethesda, Md.

    600

    Stephen Voss

    David Jameson, photographed at the Calem-Rubin Residence in Bethesda, Md.

  • Thin, structural steel rods create a refined backbone for Barcode House, a glass addition to a Washington, D.C. rowhouse.

    http://www.residentialarchitect.com/Images/tmp4BEB%2Etmp_tcm48-1871896.jpg

    true

    Thin, structural steel rods create a refined backbone for Barcode House, a glass addition to a Washington, D.C. rowhouse.

    600

    Paul Warchol

    Thin, structural steel rods create a refined backbone for Barcode House, a glass addition to a Washington, D.C. rowhouse.

  • Contrasting tones and textures are a hallmark of Jameson's houses, such as the BlackWhite Residence in Bethesda.

    http://www.residentialarchitect.com/Images/tmp4FE3%2Etmp_tcm48-1871900.jpg

    true

    Contrasting tones and textures are a hallmark of Jameson's houses, such as the BlackWhite Residence in Bethesda.

    600

    Paul Warchol

    Contrasting tones and textures are a hallmark of Jameson's houses, such as the BlackWhite Residence in Bethesda.

  • The BlackWhite Residence's glass rear facade embraces its private, wooded setting.

    http://www.residentialarchitect.com/Images/tmp53EC%2Etmp_tcm48-1871903.jpg

    true

    The BlackWhite Residence's glass rear facade embraces its private, wooded setting.

    600

    Paul Warchol

    The BlackWhite Residence's glass rear facade embraces its private, wooded setting.

  • At the NaCl House in Bethesda, Md., Jameson experimented with scale and massing, using forms that resemble the molecular structure of rock salt.

    http://www.residentialarchitect.com/Images/tmp71DC%2Etmp_tcm48-1871924.jpg

    true

    At the NaCl House in Bethesda, Md., Jameson experimented with scale and massing, using forms that resemble the molecular structure of rock salt.

    600

    Paul Warchol

    At the NaCl House in Bethesda, Md., Jameson experimented with scale and massing, using forms that resemble the molecular structure of rock salt.

  • One of Jameson's smallest projects is the Tea House, a suspended, wood-and-glass meditation pavilion in the backyard of a Bethesda, Md., residence.

    http://www.residentialarchitect.com/Images/tmp7557%2Etmp_tcm48-1871927.jpg

    true

    One of Jameson's smallest projects is the Tea House, a suspended, wood-and-glass meditation pavilion in the backyard of a Bethesda, Md., residence.

    600

    Paul Warchol

    One of Jameson's smallest projects is the Tea House, a suspended, wood-and-glass meditation pavilion in the backyard of a Bethesda, Md., residence.

  • The front gate of the Jigsaw Residence in Bethesda hints at the layering of indoor and outdoor spaces that takes place throughout the house.

    http://www.residentialarchitect.com/Images/tmp666F%2Etmp_tcm48-1871917.jpg

    true

    The front gate of the Jigsaw Residence in Bethesda hints at the layering of indoor and outdoor spaces that takes place throughout the house.

    600

    Paul Warchol

    The front gate of the Jigsaw Residence in Bethesda hints at the layering of indoor and outdoor spaces that takes place throughout the house.

  • The suburban Jigsaw Residence's clerestory windows discreetly edit out views of close-by neighbors.

    http://www.residentialarchitect.com/Images/tmp62F3%2Etmp_tcm48-1871914.jpg

    true

    The suburban Jigsaw Residence's clerestory windows discreetly edit out views of close-by neighbors.

    600

    Paul Warchol

    The suburban Jigsaw Residence's clerestory windows discreetly edit out views of close-by neighbors.

  • A wood-and-glass volume contains the living areas of the serene Matryoshka Residence in Bethesda.

    http://www.residentialarchitect.com/Images/tmp6A0A%2Etmp_tcm48-1871919.jpg

    true

    A wood-and-glass volume contains the living areas of the serene Matryoshka Residence in Bethesda.

    600

    Paul Warchol

    A wood-and-glass volume contains the living areas of the serene Matryoshka Residence in Bethesda.

  • A floating meditation pavilion, supported from below by a shear wall, hangs from the ceiling of the Matryoshka Residence.

    http://www.residentialarchitect.com/Images/tmp6E02%2Etmp_tcm48-1871921.jpg

    true

    A floating meditation pavilion, supported from below by a shear wall, hangs from the ceiling of the Matryoshka Residence.

    600

    Paul Warchol

    A floating meditation pavilion, supported from below by a shear wall, hangs from the ceiling of the Matryoshka Residence.

  • The firm designed this residence of stone and glass, which is currently under construction in Alexandria, Va.

    http://www.residentialarchitect.com/Images/tmp3FB3%2Etmp_tcm48-1871888.jpg

    true

    The firm designed this residence of stone and glass, which is currently under construction in Alexandria, Va.

    600

    Steve Howard

    The firm designed this residence of stone and glass, which is currently under construction in Alexandria, Va.

  • A look at the under-construction Oscillating Villa, the Bethesda house Jameson is building for himself and his family.

    http://www.residentialarchitect.com/Images/tmp4457%2Etmp_tcm48-1871891.jpg

    true

    A look at the under-construction Oscillating Villa, the Bethesda house Jameson is building for himself and his family.

    600

    Courtesy David Jameson Architect

    A look at the under-construction Oscillating Villa, the Bethesda house Jameson is building for himself and his family.

  • The firm's most far-flung project to date is a concrete-and-teak residence underway in Hanoi, Vietnam. "The house explodes like a lotus flower," Jameson says.

    http://www.residentialarchitect.com/Images/tmp4802%2Etmp_tcm48-1871894.jpg

    true

    The firm's most far-flung project to date is a concrete-and-teak residence underway in Hanoi, Vietnam. "The house explodes like a lotus flower," Jameson says.

    600

    Courtesy David Jameson Architect

    The firm's most far-flung project to date is a concrete-and-teak residence underway in Hanoi, Vietnam. "The house explodes like a lotus flower," Jameson says.

  • Muscular stucco walls form a double-height outdoor room at the Calem-Rubin Residence.

    http://www.residentialarchitect.com/Images/tmp3AD0%2Etmp_tcm48-1871884.jpg

    true

    Muscular stucco walls form a double-height outdoor room at the Calem-Rubin Residence.

    600

    Paul Warchol

    Muscular stucco walls form a double-height outdoor room at the Calem-Rubin Residence.

  • Window frames made of bronze and mahogany grace the Glenbrook Residence in Bethesda, one of the firm's earliest large houses.

    http://www.residentialarchitect.com/Images/tmp8057%2Etmp_tcm48-1871935.jpg

    true

    Window frames made of bronze and mahogany grace the Glenbrook Residence in Bethesda, one of the firm's earliest large houses.

    600

    Paul Warchol

    Window frames made of bronze and mahogany grace the Glenbrook Residence in Bethesda, one of the firm's earliest large houses.

  • At the Graticule Residence in Great Falls, Va., Jameson again challenged conventional notions of indoor and outdoor space, providing an upper wall that shelters a terrace and lends privacy to the interiors.

    http://www.residentialarchitect.com/Images/tmp8421%2Etmp_tcm48-1871939.jpg

    true

    At the Graticule Residence in Great Falls, Va., Jameson again challenged conventional notions of indoor and outdoor space, providing an upper wall that shelters a terrace and lends privacy to the interiors.

    600

    Nic Lehoux

    At the Graticule Residence in Great Falls, Va., Jameson again challenged conventional notions of indoor and outdoor space, providing an upper wall that shelters a terrace and lends privacy to the interiors.

  • The Dahlonega Residence, completed in 2012, juxtaposes rough burned wood and Cor-Ten against smooth plaster and both translucent and transparent glass.

    http://www.residentialarchitect.com/Images/tmp5796%2Etmp_tcm48-1871906.jpg

    true

    The Dahlonega Residence, completed in 2012, juxtaposes rough burned wood and Cor-Ten against smooth plaster and both translucent and transparent glass.

    600

    Paul Warchol

    The Dahlonega Residence, completed in 2012, juxtaposes rough burned wood and Cor-Ten against smooth plaster and both translucent and transparent glass.

  • In Washington, D.C.'s Capitol Hill, Jameson designed a translucent glass-enclosed addition to a traditional brick rowhouse.

    http://www.residentialarchitect.com/Images/tmp5B60%2Etmp_tcm48-1871908.jpg

    true

    In Washington, D.C.'s Capitol Hill, Jameson designed a translucent glass-enclosed addition to a traditional brick rowhouse.

    600

    Hoachlander Davis Photography

    In Washington, D.C.'s Capitol Hill, Jameson designed a translucent glass-enclosed addition to a traditional brick rowhouse.

  • "Growing up on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, it was never about the buildings," Jameson says. "It was about the spaces in between the buildings." He kept that memory in mind when designing the 2,200-square-foot Hooper's Island House, which consists of several separate pavilions.

    http://www.residentialarchitect.com/Images/tmp5F4A%2Etmp_tcm48-1871911.jpg

    true

    "Growing up on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, it was never about the buildings," Jameson says. "It was about the spaces in between the buildings." He kept that memory in mind when designing the 2,200-square-foot Hooper's Island House, which consists of several separate pavilions.

    600

    Paul Warchol

    "Growing up on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, it was never about the buildings," Jameson says. "It was about the spaces in between the buildings." He kept that memory in mind when designing the 2,200-square-foot Hooper's Island House, which consists of several separate pavilions.

People describe David Jameson, FAIA, in strikingly varied terms. According to general contractor and frequent Jameson collaborator Steve Howard, he’s “not your typical architect.” Jameson’s fellow Washington, D.C., modernist Mark Mc­Inturff, FAIA, calls him “an architect through and through.” British magazine The Architectural Review refers to the “sophistication and subtlety” of a Jameson project, while his friend Marlon Blackwell, FAIA, says he’s “a guy you want to have a plate of ribs and a beer with.”

All of these seemingly conflicting descriptions ring true, and that’s what makes David Jameson intriguing. He successfully combines worldly skills and knowledge with a down-to-earth personality in a way that few architects can pull off. Jameson grew up on Maryland’s rural Eastern Shore, in a community where, he says, “not a lot of people went to college.” Now he lectures at top architecture schools and is designing homes in Vietnam, California, and Massachusetts, as well as closer to his D.C. home base. He wears tennis shoes to work and enjoys hole-in-the-wall restaurants, but he also drives a Mercedes G-Class and favors Danish modern furniture. Jameson loves confounding people’s expectations of the stereotypical black-turtleneck-wearing, square-bespectacled architect. “I think the casual quality we have in the office is good for the work,” he says. He aims to be accessible and approachable, citing Peter Bohlin, FAIA, as a model.

Don’t confuse Jameson’s relaxed attitude with a lack of intensity, though. He’s one of the most serious architects around, having carefully studied the career paths and firm structures of historical greats like Louis Kahn, not to mention contemporary practitioners such as Peter Zumthor and Tadao Ando. A year ago, he gathered his eight-person firm and moved it from a charming but cramped Alexandria, Va., space to an open, white-walled office in Northwest D.C.’s Tenleytown neighborhood. The group sits around a Corian-topped communal table, atelier-style. Some employees, such as project architects Ron Southwick and Matt Jarvis, AIA, LEED AP, have worked with Jameson since the early 2000s, while others are more recent hires. Project architect Frank Curtis, AIA, joined the firm from a commercial builder. “So we have an in-house contractor, in a sense, with an architect’s eye,” Jameson explains. Many staff members hail from prestigious international firms such as OMA, Zumthor, and Herzog & de Meuron. Jameson, who as a teenager spent summers working on construction sites, often invites engineers and contractors into the office to help him analyze material performance and detail fabrication. Consultants like landscape architect Gregg Bleam and lighting designer David Tozer regularly stop by to brainstorm and critique.

It takes a certain confidence to establish a strong architectural voice, and Jameson, now 45, found that self-assurance early in his career. After architecture school at Virginia Tech, he worked for Washington’s best-known modernist, Hugh Newell Jacobsen, FAIA. At age 30, Jameson completed his first independent project, the multiple-award-winning Meeker Garage. The little Capitol Hill renovation, done in 1998, made a big impression on the local architecture scene. “It was this tiny thing, but had a wonderful sense of light and space and materials,” recalls Mary Fitch, Hon. AIA, the director of the AIA’s Washington, D.C. chapter. Robert M. Gurney, FAIA, another top Washington modernist and a longtime friend of Jameson’s, noticed the project’s originality, which was rare for a young architect coming out of a firm with such a well-defined aesthetic. “David came out of Jacobsen’s office and wasn’t doing Jacobsen’s buildings,” he says.

Not only was Jameson not imitating anyone else, he wasn’t even repeating himself. And he still doesn’t. “There’s not a lot of repetition,” Fitch says. “He’s always trying something new.” Jigsaw Residence, a Bethesda, Md., house that won a national AIA Honor Award in 2009, uses interlocking, white-stucco-coated geometric forms to create privacy on a tight suburban lot. On the Eastern Shore, the House on Hooper’s Island is divided into several small, shed-roofed buildings, clad in horizontal standing-seam metal and resting atop concrete plinths. And Barcode House, an urban addition in Washington, features glass walls held in place with exposed, horizontal steel rods that match up with the datum lines of the surrounding row houses.

These three projects look so different that you wouldn’t necessarily assume they’re by the same architect. Yet they all show a bold inventiveness driven by a persuasive architectural logic. They respond creatively to the site and programmatic conditions, always with a pragmatism accompanying the artistry. “A lot of architects are only into the beauty and not how people actually live,” says client Chad Sweet, who lives in the Jigsaw Residence and has commissioned Jameson to design a new house for himself and his family. “David isn’t like that.”