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Mathewson Residence

Articulated elegance

Shinberg.Levinas Architects

Mathewson Residence
By Francesco Pagliari -

Handsome and functional, this single family home stands among houses of more traditional shape and materials. As well as lending the building a fluid elegance, the articulated orientation was devised to capture the available unencumbered views and create physical and visual links between the interior spaces and surrounding landscapes. The house itself is carved into the hillside of its steeply sloping plot. The landscaped grounds in front of the house cascade down the slope, tall trees standing in counterpoint to low flowerbeds bordering stone pathways and dry stonewalls that wend their way down the hill. Together, house and garden form a restful yet dynamic entity. The different components of the building’s articulated composition and the contrasting materials used clearly signpost the various spaces and their function. Clad in light colored local stone, the base forms a solid, grounded volume supporting the upper levels. Cantilevering over the base, the upper volumes seem to hover over the ground. The plain-white first-floor block enclosing a long glazed window strip extends longitudinally, the seamless combination of orthogonal and curved segments contrasting effectively with the mottled stone cladding of the base. The hillside site was the baseline consideration for the whole program of this three-story house. The entrance on the ground floor leads into a large atrium, a key feature of the whole composition, and the starting point of a staircase leading to the floors above. This grade-level area contains plant and equipment, a garage, and guest room with an independent entrance protected by the cantilevered middle floor. The main living areas on the first, intermediary floor are arranged around the staircase landing, which, as on the floor below, is the pivotal distribution area. An open atrium, it is inundated with light from the glazed stretch on the façade and roof oculus. The various environments on this intermediary floor - double-height...

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