Town House / Robert Gurney Architect

© Paul Warchol Photography

Built like its neighbors, over a century ago and part of a continuous network of buildings in a historical district, this town house has been completely renovated. Regulations required that the traditional limestone facade remain intact. The bottom floor of the facade has been reworked within the existing limestone composition in an effort to provide a separate entrance and storefront for a commercial tenant in the lower level. The rear facade, located in an alley has been completely reworked to provide more light into the building.

Architects: Robert Gurney Architect
Location: , USA
Project Architect: John Riordan
Contractor: Prill Construction
Engineer: D. Anthony Beale LLC
Project Year: 2007
Photographs: Paul Warchol Photography

© Paul Warchol Photography

The building was previously used as commercial space on all three floors. The eighteen foot wide by one hundred foot long structure occupies the entire site. Interior spaces were typically dark with nine foot high ceilings, the result of a previous renovation.

© Paul Warchol Photography

In this new renovation the majority of existing floor joists are retained in an effort to reuse the existing structural system and not disturb the historical limestone facade. To change the redundancy of continuous nine feet high ceilings, a 12 foot wide section of the third floor, the width of the row house, is removed. Located directly above this opening, a similar sized skylight infuses the interior with light. Similarly, another section of the third floor is removed to accommodate a stair system. Above the new steel and aluminum stairs, a rooftop addition opens to adjacent terraces and provides outdoor living spaces with rooftop views.


Exposed brick walls, painted white are juxtaposed to blue epoxy floors. Floor openings with bridges, skylights, and a three story galvanized steel wall animate the spaces and integrate the floors vertically. Glass and steel elements compose the spaces and unify a diverse but consistent palette of materials, resulting in a modern spatial quality within a traditional town house typology.

© Paul Warchol Photography
© Paul Warchol Photography

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Cite: "Town House / Robert Gurney Architect" 21 Jan 2011. ArchDaily. Accessed 27 May 2015. <>
  • up_today_arch

    Interesting… but too much ideas in one house… It dosn’t has entire idea… it looks like collection of skills…

  • design.language

    I love the idea of creating a lightwell to get light deep into the spaces, but the colors seem a little childish. 55 Blair Road by Ong&Ong is a much more sophisticated design that is similar: