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Monograph: David Jameson Architect

Monograph: David Jameson Architect

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

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

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    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.

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

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    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.

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

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    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.

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

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    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.

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

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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

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    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.

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

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    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.

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

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    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.

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

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    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.

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

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    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.

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

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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

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    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.

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

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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

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    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.

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

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    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.

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    "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.

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    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.

The firm’s buildings also share an emphasis on juxtaposition—of heavy and light, solid and void, textured and smooth. The recently completed Dahlonega Residence in Bethesda, for example, layers second-story volumes of glass and burned wood above a base of white stucco and glass. An open-air space on the upper level lets forest views pass directly through the structure. “We wanted to know, could we build a building where the backyard is embedded in the house?” Jameson says. A giant Cor-Ten bracket frames the entire composition, keeping the elements within orderly and contained. The rough Cor-Ten and burned wood play off the sleeker glass and stucco, while the opaque materials contrast with the transparent. The visual weight of the metal and wood balances the lightness of the other volumes.

A similar sense of contrast appears throughout Jameson’s projects, on both a macro and a micro level. And it can encompass complex tectonic relationships or simple oppositions of light and dark. One of the clients for the Barcode House, William Agosto, says his favorite detail is a reveal around the wall that separates the study from the kitchen. “If you’re sitting in the study in the dark, light from the kitchen will come in around the edges,” he says. “It’s like it’s floating.” These kinds of juxtapositions heighten the experience of being inside (or outside) the buildings.

Jameson is currently building a new house for himself and his family on a leafy corner lot in Bethesda. He calls it the Oscillating Villa. The design contains a controlled tension between solid and void, fluidly switching back and forth from indoor to outdoor spaces. Courtyards and roof terraces will appear throughout the 6,000-square-foot, steel-and-concrete residence, creating its namesake undulating form. The high-performance house will employ a deep-well geothermal system, graywater treatment, and a green roof, along with a digital dashboard to monitor energy use. A top-floor tower will hold a family work area, where Jameson, his wife Nancy, and their children McKenzie, 10, and Jake, 7, will be able to collaborate on art projects and other activities.

The Villa’s exterior skin will consist of a textured stainless steel that Jameson is developing with metal-engineering company Zahner. “I was inspired by my kids’ lunch,” he says. “It’s going to look like aluminum does when you wrinkle it up.” The metal’s mirrored finish will show a reflection of the wooded surroundings.

The Oscillating Villa is not only a personal labor of love for Jameson, but it also represents where he aspires to go as an architect. The home’s heavy-gauge studs and 100 tons of structural steel are more characteristic of the commercial and institutional project types he’s eager to bring into his portfolio. He hopes to continue designing houses, but to move freely between residential and larger commissions. “Many of these houses, at the end of the day, are built like museum-type projects,” he says. “We want to build super-compelling buildings for the ages.”

He’d like to transcend the limitations of location or project type, and already has made major strides toward this goal. In 2011, the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) awarded him a coveted role as a peer reviewer on its much-lauded Design Excellence program for federal buildings. An under-construction house in Hanoi, Vietnam, has extended his firm’s reach overseas. Jameson’s handful of Washington-area commercial interiors projects, including an art gallery and a furniture showroom, have received favorable attention. Perhaps most important, Washington real estate company Jair Lynch Development Partners has hired Jameson to design a 250-unit, mixed-use apartment building at the McMillan Sand Filtration Site, a high-profile, 25-acre redevelopment in the heart of the city. The firm is teaming with MV+A Architects on the project, which also includes 92,000 square feet of retail space.

It’s not easy to make the jump from smaller to larger project types, but the variety and sheer quality of Jameson’s portfolio could certainly work in his favor. Marlon Blackwell, for one, thinks Jameson’s concept-centered architecture will help him as he endeavors to scale up. “He’s operating more from principles than style,” Blackwell says. “That allows him to be much more adaptive to different scenarios or locations. It opens up possibilities.”

Most architects would consider Jameson to be at an enviable point in his career. His firm stays busy with interesting projects, even in this still-uncertain economy. Awards consistently come his way, and his staff remains motivated and engaged. He clearly relishes his work. But there’s a restless side to him that feeds the architecture, keeping it fresh and unexpected. “There’s a kind of creative search in how David thinks about materials and buildings and ways to make them unique in their own right,” Gregg Bleam says. “I think he’s never content with saying, ‘I’ve arrived.’ ”


Video of Barcode House by David Jameson Architect

David Jameson Past Coverage: 

Retrospective Profile: David Jameson Architect
http://www.residentialarchitect.com/architects/profile--david-jameson-architect.aspx

Record House Revisited
http://www.residentialarchitect.com/single-family/record-house-revisited.aspx

RA50: David Jameson Architect
http://www.residentialarchitect.com/architects/david-jameson-architect.aspx

2011 RADA: Tea House, Bethesda, Md.
http://www.residentialarchitect.com/award-winners/tea-house-bethesda-md.aspx

2011 RADA: Record House Revisited, Owings Mills, Md.
http://www.residentialarchitect.com/award-winners/record-house-revisited-owings-mills-md.aspx

2010 RADA: Black White Residence, Bethesda, Md.
http://www.residentialarchitect.com/award-winners/black-white-residence-bethesda-md.aspx