Architects: Andrew Cohen Architects
Location: Lincoln, Massachusetts, USA
Landscape Architect: Scott Carman
General Contractor: Jonathan Merz
Structural Engineer: Richmond So Engineers, Inc.
Civil Engineer: Dave Crispin
Photographs: Greg Premru Photography
Andrew Cohen Architects conceived Page Road House’s iconic sculptural form in dialogue with the landscape and topography of a densely wooded 12-acre site in Lincoln, a close suburb of Boston that has carefully preserved its agrarian character. After commissioning ACA to design the Springstep Center for the Arts, the homeowner sought an equally ambitious and forward-looking design for her home to convey her passion for the performing and visual arts. As the founding director of Springstep, she entertains and hosts fundraising events frequently, so the house needed spaces commodious enough to contain a crowd, while still being an inviting and intimate retreat the rest of the time.
The architects’ strategy was to compose the plan first and then wrap it in a tight skin, so the building’s function is the source of its exuberant form. Spaces are arranged along the interior according to frequency of use and various levels of privacy to break down the 6995-sf space into discrete interlocking volumes. The kitchen and primary living spaces occupy the ground level, with direct access to the terraces and the adjacent landscape. In the living room, floor-to-ceiling windows are set at grade to create a seamless and porous relationship with the landscape. The master bedroom suite is accessed via two separate sets of stairs, neither of which is directly connected to the public spaces to preserve privacy during events. The rest of the house’s program areas are located across a wide landing at the main entry, which offers another layer of privacy from visitors. Placing all of the spaces the residents use most frequently—the kitchen and main living spaces, master bedroom and offices—in easy reach effectively reduces the house’s apparent scale. Strategic cuts in the building skin allow for diagonal views through the house and out to the landscape beyond, thereby drawing relationships between seemingly isolated spaces so multiple areas can be appreciated simultaneously.
Although the house is sizeable, the architects incorporated several sustainable strategies to reduce the its impact on the environment. A ground source geothermal system supports the house’s heating and cooling requirements. Double-wall assembly with 6” of Icynene insulation combined with a highly reflective CPO roof membrane creates an efficient building envelope. All of the rainwater that falls on the house is returned to the aquifer via a recharge system. Although photovoltaics and solar heat panels were explored, it was determined that the site was too shaded for the system to function optimally.