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Upperville, Va., Residence

Cunningham + Quill Architects, Robert M. Gurney, FAIA

Project Name

Upperville, Va., Residence

Project Status



12,500 sq. feet

Construction Cost



  • Cunningham + Quill Architects
  • Potomac Valley Builders
  • Structural Engineer: Ehlert/Bryan
  • Landscape Architect: Lila Fendrick Associates
  • Maxwell MacKenzie



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Project Description

2005 CHDA
Custom Home More Than 5,000 Square Feet / Merit Award

The rolling countryside of northern Virginia's Hunt Country practically breathes Civil War history. And this new home, built for an avid Civil War buff, does nothing to break the mood. Inspired by the architecture of local Georgian estates and seasoned with Irish manor-house influences, the compound occupies an elaborately landscaped knoll surrounded by 100 acres of fields and woods. A formal green stretches 500 feet from the main house to the guest house, which echoes its forms and materials at smaller scale. At the foot of the knoll, a summer house (see Merit Award, page 116) sits on the shore of a small pond. A visitor from the 19th century might quibble with a point or two in this scene, but to contemporary eyes the effect is both pleasing and persuasive. One judge ventured that, “Fifty years from now, you might ask, ‘What decade was that built in?'”

This is a residence, however, not a stage set, and architects Ralph Cunningham and Chris Morrison were equally effective in adapting period architecture for contemporary living. In classical fashion, the main building unfolds symmetrically along a series of formal axes, with living spaces to the front and service areas in a wing that extends toward the rear. But the updated functional layout makes for a house that fits less like a hoop skirt and more like a pair of jeans. As one judge noted, “A pretty neat piece of work.”
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