reader & swartz architects, winchester, va.

The jury liked that this sensitive addition to a nearly 200-year-old cabin "grew organically around the original structure." And they felt a contemporary glass catwalk gave the design "that extra oomph." The judges' comments reflected faithfully the intentions of architects Charles Swartz and Beth Reader. "We wanted to make it about the cabin and not our architecture," says Swartz, "but we did allow ourselves the architectural wink of the glass floor since space and light were so restricted."

Existing walls were stripped and exposed with wiring, ductwork, and insulation added above round pole rafters and metal roofing. The kitchen and baths are relegated to the addition, leaving the 14-by-18-foot cabin intact as the living room. A perimeter of hidden overhead light fixtures helps mitigate the room's 7-foot-high ceiling. "Basically," Swartz says, "we wanted to turn the original building into an antique art piece and let it stand as a pure object."

principals in charge / project architects: Beth Reader and Charles Swartz, Reader & Swartz Architects
general contractor: Douglass C. Reed, Preservation Associates, Hagerstown, Md.
project size: 880 square feet
site size: 550 acres
construction cost: Withheld
photographer: Ron Blunt Photography