“At its most basic level, a building should function properly – the entry should be evident, the programmatic requirements should be met and the roof shouldn’t leak. To become a work of architecture, however, a building must transcend the ordinary by giving form to the extraordinary – the intangible qualities that every building deserves. My aim, since establishing my practice in 1982, has been to work in a collaborative effort with clients toward the successful creation of Architecture.”
This new home, in an established neighborhood, is comprised of a three story block of pre-cast concrete panels (typically used for basement walls) and a steel structure which houses the living space at mid-level while providing shelter to a carport at ground level. The ground level of the concrete structure houses a studio, the main (street) level contains the foyer, kitchen and dining areas and the bedroom suite comprises the upper level. A three story steel stair, detailed with steel grating and bar stock, provides a dramatic connection of the three floors. The home is sited to the north side of the lot allowing the south side to remain open to the sun and to provide space for outdoor living on the circular terrace.
This home was designed from the inside out with particular attention paid to the development of a dynamic, interior space which is both spacious and warm and that gives form to a twenty-first century house while respecting its mid-twentieth century neighborhood. The house was conceived as a one and one-half story, brick structure which presents an appropriately low scale that is at home in a neighborhood characterized by rolling, wooded topography with winding streets and brick ranch houses. Garden terraces were incorporated on the street side to act as the “front porch” while enhancing the strong indoor / outdoor relationship of the home. The side walls of the house are splayed ten degrees to follow the property lines and create a wider rear wall facing the southern exposure of the private back yard.
A detached garage-studio-workshop building was sited to provide a defined outdoor space at the home’s rear which could eventually be developed as a pool terrace, an elegant garden space, a play yard or a combination of all of these.
Natural materials – brick, wood and granite – were extensively utilized to provide a visual and tactile warmth and to present a strong, visual connection to nature. The subtlety of the design, along with the many custom details, provide a layering of experiences that unfold over time. The extensive use of glass, along with wide and properly positioned roof overhangs create spaces that are animated by the sun and that continually change during the day and throughout the seasons.
The aim was to provide a warm, inviting atmosphere that is comfortably elegant and provides a welcoming retreat in today’s hectic, urban environment.
Lake Wylie Addition
A second floor addition to a small, one-story lake cottage. A steel structure was employed to facilitate building over the existing structure, thereby protecting the integrity of the existing structure; maintaining the HVAC system in the existing attic space; minimizing new loads on the old structure; and elevating the new addition for a superior view. A cedar-clad barrel vault extends through the structure from the entry side to the lake side where it shelters a large screened porch. The upper level contains an open, one bedroom residence for the owners while the two bedroom existing residence provides space for the owners’ children and grandchildren when they visit.
The Levinson residence is a new home in an established in-town neighborhood that replaces a mid-century modern which proved uneconomical to remodel.
The design pays homage to its predecessor through its zoning, the extensive use of brick and its simple roofline with wide overhangs. Brick walls and piers, with colored mortar and raked bed joints (to accentuate the horizontal nature of the des
ign), connect the interior with the exterior and are capped with custom pre-cast concrete bands. The exterior walls, above the brick, as well as the soffits of the wide overhangs are clad in a warm, off-white stucco to provide a floating effect over the mass of the brick. The plan forms an “H” with one wing housing the foyer, study, kitchen and family room; the other wing houses the bedrooms; and the vaulted living room, with glass walls on the north and south sides, connects the wings. A terraced porch and deck, constructed of ipe, opens off of the south side of the living room and is also accessible from the kitchen. A horizontal, maple trim band aligned with the door and window heads throughout the interior, provides both scale and design continuity. Carefully detailed walnut cabinets – with horizontal grain – and a clean island with a quartzite counter top highlight the kitchen while quarter and rift sawn white oak flooring extends throughout the house.
More aboout the architect……..
“My approach to architecture is defined by commitment, responsibility and creativity. Each project is characterized by a commitment to work with the client and users to achieve their goals and the responsibility to create meaningful buildings that are responsive to the unique aspects of the project and to the ultimate needs, both physical and emotional, of the users. Such a commitment recognizes the need to search within each project for the individual design solution which transforms the characteristics of the project into a strong, coherent idea. Such a solution can occur only after a rigorous examination of a project’s inherent issues: the site, function, budget, intangible needs of the project and its users and the materials and methods of construction. The manifestations of my architectural solutions are series of significant spaces and forms, appropriate to each project’s use, which are clearly defined and articulated through the sensitive use of materials, structure, details, lighting and other relevant architectural elements.”
“My practice is, by design, both small and general in nature. The size allows me to give full, individual attention to each project I undertake while giving the client one source of accountability. The general nature of my practice h
as allowed me to address a variety of architectural and planning projects. Such diversity makes me a better architect by allowing me to approach each problem with an open mind, rather than with the preconceptions that specialization often brings.”
“Toward the goal of creating meaningful architecture, I offer my clients a willingness to listen to their needs; a commitment to a collaborative search for appropriate and creative solutions; and a guarantee of my enthusiasm for the creative process of design and the constructive process of building.”
W. Stanley Russell, architect
1506-A Central Ave.
Charlotte, NC 28205