Architects: Schwartz/Silver Architects
Location: West Stockbridge, MA, USA
Project Year: 2009
Photographs: Alan Karchmer/Sandra Benedum
From the architect. With a professional portfolio that consists of award-winning designs for libraries, museums, academic institutions and other public buildings, Schwartz/Silver Architects is also recognized for its exceptional work in the residential sector. The company was founded in 1980 by Warren R. Schwartz, FAIA and Robert H. Silver, FAIA, LEED AP and is the recipient of seven AIA National Honor Awards and twenty-eight AIA regional and chapter awards.
Though many Schwartz/Silver Architects projects combine new architecture and historically significant older buildings, the design of the Tanglewood 2 residence—a seasonal home of Schwartz’s spouse, a violinist with the Boston Symphony Orchestra—is the realization of a completely unique vision. Standing in contrast to the typical houses of the area, the home is a poetic composition of steel, glass and aluminum and has a commanding presence in the landscape.
The design concept was derived from the architect’s visit to the Grand Canyon, where he observed the sunrise from a precipice jutting out into the canyon. This inspiration later recurred to Schwartz in a dream, which he proceeded to translate into sketches, some drawn while attending a concert at Boston’s Symphony Hall. Completed in 2009, Tanglewood 2 replaced an existing home, also built by Schwartz. The steeply sloping contour of the land provides the footing for a rectangular volume, which contains three bedrooms and a living space beneath an open terrace.
The house rises dramatically out of the landscape with the great room that hovers 14 feet above the ground. The home is framed as a steel truss, with concrete and steel-deck roof and floor structure; its outer glass walls afford uninterrupted views of the Berkshire Hills. A concrete basement anchors the building and supports the daring 45 foot cantilever.
“I’ve never believed in dream houses, particularly as an architect,”says Schwartz. “But I believe this house came about as a result of a dream.”