LEVENBETTS completed the design and development of The Princeton House, a modern residence located on a thin plot of land 10 minutes away from Princeton University, New Jersey, United States. According to the architects, “the site is punctuated by the 100 foot tall trees in a grid that is consistent running north-south across the site and shifting in the east-west direction. The house is organized around a central garden courtyard”. Clad in a vertically oriented corrugated metal siding, the exterior of the 232 square-meter residence appears white against its vivid surroundings and it changes color as the sun moves throughout the day.
Several stages prepared the present-day appearance and layout of The Princeton House: “The building was originally designed to lift and twist off the ground with a void in the middle. After a reduction in budget, the residence was re-planned using the exact same organizational diagram; now the house sits on the ground and the hovering void in the middle of the house is an interior courtyard garden.” All windows were placed in key positions to provide ample perspectives of the neighboring landscape. In addition, these windows, along with the open courtyard, allow for cross ventilation to occur throughout the house. [Photography by Naho Kubota]
What is new and exciting now can quickly begin to look tired and out of fashion, so the best buildings don’t just consider what will be interesting to look at now, but also how it might look to people in five, fifty or even a hundred years’ time. 2013’s hotly contested RIBA Stirling Prize went to Witherford Watson Mann Architects for their work on Astley Castle, Warwickshire. In what RIBA Past President Stephen Hodder has described as an extreme retrofit, the project essentially saw a new building inserted subtly into the heart of the old, with a new, two storey residence now hidden within the sandstone walls of the ruins of this medieval castle, to be used as a holiday home for up to eight guests
The best architects can create designs which will give clients and the public things they didn’t even realise they wanted, and this is especially important when architects are given the difficult brief of creating structures in much-loved, iconic areas.