Designed in 1958 by Edward Durell Stone, Oak Court represented a significant residential achievement in the architect’s worldwide body of work. Stone’s original design alludes to the climate similarities between Dallas and his concurrently designed U.S. Embassy in New Delhi – which both feature courtyards and integrated water features.
This restoration project, begun in 2003, required an approach that balanced these aspects:
Respecting a rigorous nine-foot grid throughout the home and its surrounds.
Rectifying numerous insensitive modifications to the home over the years. The iconic dining room lagoon was fully restored to its original state of importance, and the courtyards were artfully integrated with living spaces.
Renovating the home for modern living through respectful modifications that remained faithful to the original design intent.
Oak Court was originally built using only the finest materials and construction methods available. The exterior is notable for its white terrazzo brick bris soliel that surrounds the entire second floor of the structure. The interior at Level One features an iconic Dining Room that floats on a body of water. The floors are polished white marble. The walls and ceiling are white gypsum plaster. Wood accents are in Italian Walnut. The structural columns are minimal in size and wrapped in gold anodized aluminum. The furnishings were designed specifically for the original owners by T.H.Robsjohn-Gibbings and have remained with the residence from owner to owner.
The entire site and building are laid out on a nine foot grid. This grid is used as a design tool to create a sense of order and logic to the building. Interestingly, the discipline and rigor which was adhered to throughout every detail of the project all reflects back to this nine foot grid. Many of the subtle details quietly refer to this grid and reinforce its presence.
By far the most impressive aspect of the project is the craftsmanship of both the original construction and the renovation. In many ways, much of the craftsmanship is in the complex integration of systems which are hidden within the walls and ceiling plane. However, there are also many examples of finish craftsmanship to enjoy. For example, the traditional three-step gypsum plaster with a hard trowel smooth finish at the walls and ceilings, the polished white marble from a Vermont quarry used in both the original and the renovation work, the wood restoration work at all existing wood details, the detailing and construction of all new cabinetry, the complete renovation of the Kitchen area with German-engineered integral cabinetry, and the complete renovation of the landscaped areas surrounding the entire compound, to name but a few. All of these areas of craftsmanship were completely controlled by alignment to the nine foot grid.