An Award-Winning Paul Rudolph Midcentury Gets an Eco-Friendly Revamp
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An Award-Winning Paul Rudolph Midcentury Gets an Eco-Friendly Revamp

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By Kathryn M.
You'd never guess this eclectic 1950s home started out as a humdrum municipal garage.

In the late 1950s, acclaimed architect Paul Rudolph transformed an ordinary, oversized garage into a brilliant home, now known as the Rudolph House. While the beloved dwelling in Cambridge, Massachusetts, has remained virtually untouched since winning a Record Houses award in 1960, it was recently treated to thoughtful renovation by Ruhl Studio Architects

During the renovation, the team relocated the kitchen from an enclosed side room to one side of the central living area, freeing up more space to modernize the home's bedrooms, bathrooms, and study.

During the renovation, the team relocated the kitchen from an enclosed side room to one side of the central living area, freeing up more space to modernize the home's bedrooms, bathrooms, and study.

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"We were tasked with bringing the house up to current energy efficiency standards and with reorganizing the house to accommodate the new owners’ more contemporary needs, while also respecting the noteworthy original design," explains the award-winning firm.

Sleek black cabinetry contrasts beautifully with the home's richly textured wood accents.

Sleek black cabinetry contrasts beautifully with the home's richly textured wood accents.

The renovation greatly improved the home's access to natural light and cooling breezes.

The renovation greatly improved the home's access to natural light and cooling breezes.

To open the home to the courtyard and enhance natural ventilation, the team redesigned the exterior walls and glazing to include 10-foot-high, triple-paneled sliding doors and windows on the main facade.

A new wall of 10-foot-high triple-paneled sliding doors and windows allow ample natural light to brighten and warm the residence.

A new wall of 10-foot-high triple-paneled sliding doors and windows allow ample natural light to brighten and warm the residence.

A look into one of the home's serene bedrooms, featuring a soothing neutral color palette and direct access to the outdoors.

A look into one of the home's serene bedrooms, featuring a soothing neutral color palette and direct access to the outdoors.

Ruhl Studio installed new energy-efficient heating and cooling equipment, including heat recovery ventilation, to assist in bringing the residence up to modern standards. "The result was much greater energy efficiency and thermal comfort for the family," states the team.

A horizontal glass pane stretches the length of the bathroom, illuminating the redesigned space from above.

A horizontal glass pane stretches the length of the bathroom, illuminating the redesigned space from above.

To house the family's extensive book collection, the team replaced a leaky fiberglass roof above an existing "winter garden" with an insulated glazing system. "This allowed year-round library use and improved daylighting," adds the firm.

To house the family's extensive book collection, the team replaced a leaky fiberglass roof above an existing "winter garden" with an insulated glazing system. "This allowed year-round library use and improved daylighting," adds the firm.

The team also reconfigured the home's layout to suit the specific needs of the family. "The kitchen was relocated from an enclosed side room to one sidewall of the main central living area, freeing up space for modernized bathrooms, bedrooms, and studies."

Exposed metal bars are reminiscent of the structure's former garage bay.

Exposed metal bars are reminiscent of the structure's former garage bay.

A cozy, enclosed office is located right next to the library.

A cozy, enclosed office is located right next to the library.

Strategic structural improvements bring the house up to current building standards. "The renovation resulted in a comfortable, modern home that pays great homage to its midcentury past," says the team.

The floor-to-ceiling sliding doors open the home directly to the adjacent courtyard, while also providing excellent natural ventilation throughout.

The floor-to-ceiling sliding doors open the home directly to the adjacent courtyard, while also providing excellent natural ventilation throughout.

Ruhl Studio Architects uploaded Rudolph House through Add A Home. Add your own project for the chance to be featured in Editor's Picks.

Related Reading: 

Paul Rudolph-Designed Midcentury Is Rescued From Obscurity and Finally Completed

Project Credits: 

Architect of Record: Ruhl Studio Architects @ruhlstudio

Builder: S+H Construction

Structural Engineer: Roome + Guarracino

Cabinetry Design: Kitchen Style, Inc.

Energy Consultant: ZED Mechanical Consulting

Photography: Tony Luong / @_tonyluong