Custom Home More Than 5,000 Square Feet / Merit Award
Geometry is destiny for this house on a wooded site outside Washington, D.C. Architect Bob Gurney designed it as two interlocking volumes, one clad in mahogany and the other in glass. The rectangular, wood-skinned portion contains private spaces like bedrooms and bathrooms, while the transparent one holds the home's living and dining areas. A corner of the latter comes to a sharp point that juts out into the site, letting outdoor views permeate the interior. “It's like being outside,” said a judge, and from what Gurney says, his clients and their guests must concur. “Everyone heads to that mitered glass corner,” he observes.
A third, elliptical volume housing the entry and main stairs connects the public and private sections. Gurney covered its exterior in panels of lead-coated copper. “Because of that shape we wanted to use materials that were a little fluid,” he says. The copper further emphasizes the ellipse's distinctive form, like glass and mahogany do for the other two pieces. The home's materials palette feels just as rich inside, with woods like Brazilian cherry, maple, and ash playing off Venetian plaster, acid-etched and oxidized steel, and board-formed concrete. The entire house is a delicate balance of colors, shapes, and textures drawn together by a rigorous minimalist architecture. “Something about the pavilion nature of the living room is really graceful,” said a judge. “Then the other rooms enclose you to counterbalance that nicely.”