2014 CTC&G Innovation in Design Winners: Architecture



2014 IDA Winner Architecture: Joeb Moore + Partners, LLC

Winner: Joeb More + Partners, LLC

“I’m interested in this expanded field between architecture, landscape and art,” architect Joeb Moore says about this newly created glowing jewel box of a waterfront house, which he and his collaborators re-thought, re-encased and—with a few seemingly simple moves—completely transformed. 

Central to the project is the fact and idea of landscape, and of the permeability of constructed boundaries between inside and outside: a topic that has engaged and infuriated homeowners, architects and landscape designers ever since the first bit of bearskin was hung over a prehistoric cave entrance. Here, Moore sees it most in the way the house moves from a front entrance framed with a wood fence and courtyard trees to a bright open glass-walled interior, and then to a series of steps down through artificial water (the swimming pool) to less artificial water (the overflow from the swimming pool) to natural water (the harbor). Buttressing that sectional and almost processional clarity are what Moore calls the liminal spaces. These include a series of covered outdoor spaces—such as the one just off the living room, separated from the landscape with a series of wood slat panes—or the way in which that slat pattern is repeated on the second-story art-covered hallway’s blinds. 

The footprint of this originally traditional house stayed exactly the same, which makes Moore’s—and landscape architect Edmund Hollander and interior designer Sally Markham’s—interventions (replacing swaths of wood with glass; staining the siding black; inserting a central resin-coated block that operates as the conceptual nerve center of the house) all the more striking and expansive. 

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2014 IDA Winner Architecture: Robert A. Cardello Architects

Innovator 2: Robert A. Cardello Architects

When Robert Cardello’s clients, a young couple who inherited this traditional Cape Cod-style house on Stamford’s Shippan peninsula, approached him for help with a renovation, the home was full of doilies, Victorian furniture, antiques and had a big fireplace that sat, he says, “right in the middle of the house.” What they wanted was the opposite: an open plan full of connectivity and flow, not to mention light, air and the constant sensation of space. 

“It became very transparent,” he says of what his firm did with the plan, once Cardello accepted that the couple wasn’t open to the easier (he thought) idea of starting from scratch. So, he opened up the house, creating a bridge-like connection between the master suite and the children’s bedrooms on the second floor. Then, he used that catwalk to horizontally delineate the dining room, which is located near the front entrance, all while forcing perspectives out toward framed views of the water. With transparency as the name of the game, Cardello opened up sightlines along the back of the house over the water on both stories. And he created a flatter, more modern look by chopping the top off of one of the existing gables and re-framing the windows that overlook a sunken fire pit area and lap pool to create a Mondrian-esque pattern of glass expanse and purposeful view. 

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2014 IDA Winner Architecture: Douglas VanderHorn Architects

Innovator 3: Douglas VanderHorn Architects

Douglas VanderHorn’s clients were interested in creating a house that could easily accommodate their large family while also fitting into their Olmsted-designed Greenwich neighborhood. “They were leaning away from English Tudor at first,” VanderHorn explains. “It’s much more challenging.”

The architect convinced the clients his firm could pull off making an English Tudor that wasn’t a copy, or a facsimile, or an homage-like pastiche of confusing aesthetic nods. “One of the best things is that most people see this house and think we have renovated an old house,” VanderHorn says. As a firm, he and his collaborators have spent a significant amount of time studying the intricacies of old-style houses—“it takes studying the older floor plans and volumetric language of the style,” he says of walking that fine line between uninspired copy and inspired original—and it shows. “We started it from scratch, but you educate yourself and then work in the vocabulary.” 

That vocabulary includes symmetry, a sense of formal entry and material touches like the traditional patterned plaster ceiling that brings eye-catching detail to the living room, a carved limestone fireplace, and quatrefoil patterns in the corners of the sleek-wood doors. The house is also, crucially, just one room deep, which allows for both clearer circulation and much greater access to light and the great outdoors.

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