robert m. gurney, aia, architect, alexandria, va.

Architect Bob Gurney's clients may have a penchant for Modern architecture, but a series of angular, all-white spaces were not what they had in mind for this row-house renovation. "The husband works in a rectangular government office building and said he didn't want to come home to these rooms stacked on top of one another," Gurney recalls. Fortunately, the clients were also an architecturally adventurous couple who granted him all the artistic freedom he needed to create something "out of the box."

Gurney offset the narrow, in-line footprint with sweeping curves and dramatic diagonals that overlap and rotate around a central point. An urbane mix of materials--including concrete, steel, block aluminum, copper, limestone, Kalwall, and clear and sandblasted glass--plays off the strong shapes to create an environment that's rich in color, pattern, and texture. "They wanted a Modern house but didn't want it to be a temple to Sheetrock," Gurney explains. "We wanted to show that you can do a Modern house that's warm and inviting." The judges agreed that he succeeded, calling the project "amazing."

project architect: Robert M. Gurney, AIA, Robert M. Gurney, AIA, Architect
general contractor: Withheld
interior designer: Therese Baron Gurney, Therese Baron Gurney, ASID, Washington, D.C.
project size: 4,000 square feet
site size: .09 acre
construction cost: $140 per square foot
photographer: Paul Warchol Photography