“Old Meets New” Design in a Vestibule

This project started with a design problem:  Our clients would enjoy the sun from their open South-facing entry which was located three steps down from their interior.  The steps had became a concern for the future, as they were planning to “age-in-place”. Also, they wanted the porch to be enclosed permanently, so they could sit on the porch no matter the weather.  They hoped the new enclosure would also have lots of light and operable windows so they could still enjoy the breeze.

Ultimately, this project became one of our “Old Meets New” efforts: We didn’t try to match the architecture of the existing home. Rather, we designed a contemporary addition that served the clients’ needs and then related it to the existing home with materials and massing.

In addition to meeting our immediate clients’ needs, we always strive to be contextual. The new enclosed vestibule banks on the available space, negotiating the various levels with a ramp, while respecting the existing residential look. The new structure system is partially revealed in the outdoor  trellis. This trellis is already providing some shade. In the future, it could accommodate growing vines or hanging pots. The posts are hidden in the new walls which provide a comfortable, well-insulated space.

After the first sketches for this project, we worked closely with our structural engineers at Providence Engineering to design the new foundations, a proper concrete ramp connection, and all of the wood structure. The contractor Willis Washington at SL Contracting did a great job with the actual construction details.

The existing home is in a beautiful traditional residential neighborhood.  We created an harmonious balance between the new and the old construction also by matching the colors of the trellis and trim with the trim and facade of the home. The roof line of the new entry creates an attractive break in the continuity of the structure, just as envisioned in the very first schematic design sketches.

Bea and I have thought a lot about our “Old Meets New” strategy.  Here is a link to our lecture on the topic at the AIA National Convention

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