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The Frick Residence

Alvin Holm AIA Architects

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Alvin Holm

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Project Description

On a spacious wooded estate in Northern New Jersey I was asked to design a new home in the manner of Juigo Jones. Mrs. Frick had fondness for the 18th century classical, and she especially admired the Queen’s House by Jones in Greenwich, England. While any direct resemblance was clearly impossible because of the vastly different scale and function, we soon arrived at a schematic design for the principal body of the house which did indeed honor the form and spirit of the Jones prototype. As I am here indebted to Juigo Jones, Jones himself was clearly indebted to earlier masterpiece by Audreas Palladio, the Palazzo Chiercati in Vicenza. And so it goes, in contrast to those great and noble works of the past. Our achievement is a scaled-down comfortable house for an American family of four.

Another specific borrowing from the past is our use here of pale yellow stucco scored in an ashlar pattern to resemble masonry. In a visit to my office in Philadelphia I took Emily Frick to see Lemon Hill, a handsome mansion in Fairmount Park built in 1800. “That’s what I want our walls to look like,” she said, and by great effort that is what we achieved. After searching far and wide for the right sand to give us the exact color we desired in the stucco, we were amazed to find the perfect sand right on site when we began excavation. We were often lucky that way on this project, though we also must credit our highly skilled (and sensitive) contractors, Turner Construction SPD. The rusticated corners of our building are made of cast-in-place stucco, and are excellent examples of the wonderful craftsmanship employed throughout the project.

The acorn finials used along the balustrade are recognition of Dr. Frick’s passion for forestry and his enthusiasm for Jove’s symbols of eternity instead of the more usual urn finials which he associated with funerals and ashes.
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