Four Pavilions, Washington, D.C.
Richard Williams Architects
Washington, D.C.

The judges called this preservation of a 1975 Hugh Newell Jacobsen, FAIA, house “the restoration of an icon.” Architects have long revered the 1,990-square-foot residence in Washington, D.C., for its ingenious siting and the simple elegance of its four gabled forms. “Before I even knew I wanted to be an architect, I loved this house,” says Richard Williams, FAIA, whom the current owners hired to preserve the aging building.

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Four Pavilions, Washington, D.C.

Four Pavilions, Washington, D.C.

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    Courtesy Richard Williams Architects

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    2013 RADA / Restoration/Preservation / Grand Award: Four Pavilions, Washington, D.C. / Richard Williams Architects

The clients asked Williams and project architect Timothy Abrams, AIA, to honor the spirit of the original and to make improvements where needed. Building science has come a long way since the 1970s, so the project team redid the insulation and flashing, and added a rainscreen. The HVAC and electrical systems received a thorough makeover, and the home’s signature triangular windows were upgraded with new high-efficiency glass.

Jacobsen’s staggered floor plan saved the best of the landscape for views, and Williams wasn’t about to tamper with it. But he did want to create more of a relationship between house and site, in line with modern-day preferences. Working with landscape architect Gregg Bleam, Williams and Abrams raised the sloped grade at the master bedroom end of the house using a cast concrete retaining wall. They added a sliding shutter door and a small deck for access to this newly elevated lawn. And Bleam shortened and reconfigured the existing driveway to give more space to the garden.

During the design and construction process, Williams gained even more respect for the original building than before. “This house is the best of what modern architecture can be,” he says.

View all 2013 RADA winners.


Project Credits

Principal in charge: Richard Williams, FAIA
Project architect: Timothy Abrams, AIA
Interior designer: Jim Luigs, Jim Luigs Designs, New York
Landscape architect: Gregg Bleam, Gregg Bleam Landscape Architect, Charlottesville, Va.
General contractor: Richard Zantzinger, Mauck Zantzinger & Associates, Washington
Project size: 1,990 square feet
Site size: 0.3 acre
Construction cost: Withheld
Photographer: Nikolas Koenig


Product Details

Bathroom fittings: Hansgrohe hansgrohe.com
Bathroom fixtures: Duravit duravit.us; Toto totousa.com
Cooktop: Bosch bosch-home.com
Dishwasher: Bosch bosch-home.com
Doors: Western Window Systems westernwindowsystems.com
Hardware: Omnia omniaindustries.com
HVAC equipment: Carrier carrier.com
Kitchen fittings: Grohe grohe.com
Kitchen fixtures: Blanco blancoamerica.com
Lighting fixtures: Edison Price epl.com; Flos flosusa.com; Lightolier lightolier.com
Oven/range: Bosch bosch-home.com
Paints/stains/wall finishes: Benjamin Moore benjaminmoore.com
Refrigerator: Liebherr liebherr.us
Skylights/roof windows: Velux veluxusa.com
Windows Custom: Gaithersburg Glass Company gburgglass.com