Cambridge House

Cambridge, Massachusetts
This project page was created by community member Ruhl Walker Architects

The initial challenge for this project was overcoming 12 years of ill-fated attempts by the owner and his 5 previous architects to design a house that would bridge the architectural gap between the widely varying scales and styles of the context, while also meeting the client’s ever-changing programmatic requirements. Ultimately, the owner requested a house that would be as maintenance free as possible, composed of a warm and comfortable palette of sustainable materials, maximum energy efficiency and an open and flexible floor plan. The project also had to be designed and meticulously detailed while meeting the hectic and unforgiving filming schedule of a well-known PBS television series that was to feature the house in an 18-episode series.

The new design staggers the building’s massing to mediate between the street level and align the main living spaces with the rear yard. A garage and mudroom are located at street level, with steps leading down to the bar/pantry and living level; the garage doors are finished to match the adjacent horizontal wood siding to minimize the impact of the garage on the street elevation. The master suite is located above the garage and mudroom area, and the master bath cantilevers above the formal entry to provide cover and to create a more generous exterior space that is in effect a full story above street level.

The exterior is conceived as a collage of sustainably reclaimed redwood exterior siding, integrally colored stucco, and glass volumes and planes that shift and rotate around the central stone chimney. Stone walls extend into the site to create a series of exterior spaces and visually anchor the house to its site.

Photo Courtesy of Ruhl Walker Architects
Photo Courtesy of Ruhl Walker Architects
Photo Courtesy of Ruhl Walker Architects
Photo Courtesy of Ruhl Walker Architects
Photo Courtesy of Ruhl Walker Architects
Photo Courtesy of Ruhl Walker Architects
Photo Courtesy of Ruhl Walker Architects
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Ruhl Walker Architects
@ruhl_walker_architects
Ruhl Walker Architects For over 20 years we have committed ourselves to creating architecture of all types and sizes for clients not only throughout New England but as far afield as Hawai’i and St. Croix in the USVI. Natural materials, expressive forms, and meticulous attention to light and views have been at the core of our practice and are manifest in our projects regardless of their context. Common to our design process is a commitment to clear and open communication, the careful management of resources, and a fundamental belief that innovative and coherent design is a joyous and essential component of the human experience. With each project we strive to demonstrate that inventive and elegant design is achievable, even within strict economic parameters, by respectfully listening and responding to the client’s needs and desires, thoroughly understanding the nature of materials and methods of construction, and carefully managing the design and construction processes. As part of our client-focused process we use a diverse set of design tools custom tailored to each client − from simple hand sketches to elaborate computer animations and rendered models − to ensure the spatial quality and experience of each project is thoroughly understood throughout the design process. Initiating a construction project can be a daunting prospect, but we pride ourselves on being there for our clients at every step of the way, from helping to identify goals at the beginning of the project, to turning over the keys at the end of construction. We look forward to bringing the joy and excitement of innovative and coherent modern design to your project.
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