Project DescriptionFROM THE ARCHITECTS:
The project is a new 7,000 square foot residence for a growing young family. The owners intend for it to be a long-term family residence and therefore wanted it designed a classic style that would transcend passing design fads and minimize long term maintenance costs. They were fortunate to secure an open lot in the historic Khakum Wood neighborhood of Greenwich, Connecticut which was originally designed by Frederick Law Olmsted. The Georgian style was selected for the project to imbue it with an air of strength, permanence and sophistication. The 18th century preference for simple elegance is ideally accomplished in brick, and it was the clear choice for this new Georgian Revival home. The house was designed to exude comfort and refinement, while still remaining consistent in scale and character to its neighbors.
The house is located in the aforementioned Khakum Wood neighborhood, a historic community of fine English and Georgian homes. The exterior of the house needed to fit seamlessly into this context and convey a feeling of timelessness through simple, well proportioned details. Red clay brick’s historical precedence, warm color and abundant available shapes and sizes made it a natural choice for this home’s classic facades which include a central pedimented entry, protruding one and two story bays and four soaring chimneys. The brick façade was clad a ‘Georgian’ Glen-Gery brick set with a Flemish bond pattern to add subtle visual complexity. The bricks were all handmade and oversized to accurately represent the brick of the Georgian period, while also scaling the house down visually. Grapevine joints add further complexity to the masonry surface and additional ties to Georgian tradition.
Ancient Rome changed the world of architecture forever with the invention of concrete, yet even then, the Romans preferred to finish their new technology with brick, in a construction technique called opus latericium. Though the dawn of concrete construction allowed greater freedom in and complexity of architectural form, innovation in brick construction still required the creative use and placement of available, pre-molded bricks to create decorative elements. It is that type of innovation that is found throughout this Georgian Revival home.
Although the majority of the house is made of the oversized, rectangular brick, other decorative units were used to articulate details throughout. A variety of shaped bricks articulate the homes exterior details from the watertable base, to decorative bay panels all around the house, to straight and round lintels, to accent panels on the chimneys. Other decorative and functional elements such as corbelling, was used at the chimney cap, and to hide the joints at each masonry opening, brick-red caulk was applied. Real masonry chimneys vent the indoor fireplaces while the fourth brick veneered chimney was designed to aesthetically conceal HVAC venting.