General ContractorDewson Construction Company
Structural EngineerLong, Tang, & D’Onofrio Structural Engineers
Text description provided by the architects. The small city of Lewes, Delaware, extends northeast into the mouth of the Delaware Bay. Lewes is popularly known as an eighteenth-century coastal town commemorated for being the site of the earliest European settlement in Delaware. In addition to abundant waterfront property, Lewes is made up of prevalent farmland, woodlands, marshland, and estuaries. The site for this new house is a woodland area nestled between an open field and an expanse of marshland.
It was very important to the clients that the program contain an abundance of gallery space to display their expansive art collection. The house was designed to accommodate large gatherings focused around the gallery collections but also to provide a comfortable environment when only the couple occupied the house. The house is positioned to take advantage of the wooded environment, providing marshland views through the trees, and framing views of the adjacent open meadow. In addition to the 6000 square foot house and gallery, the project encompasses 3000 square feet of elevated deck and terrace space and 900 square feet of screened porch space. All the interior spaces have direct access to a deck or screened porch. Sited to minimally disrupt the landscape, the house is located where a minimum amount of trees were removed to construct the project. The house is conceived with the goal of pulling nature into the spaces. Circulation and movement through the project are designed as a vehicle to experience the changing scenery as you move through the spaces.
The art gallery is located on the lowest level, while the primary living spaces are located on the second level. This strategy affords enhanced views form the elevated living spaces. Secondary bedrooms and access to a 1500 square foot rooftop deck occupy a third floor. The composition is intended to provide a carefully conceived balance of expanses of glass toward the natural views and wall space to display art throughout all floors.
Ultimately this project is designed to provide spaces for a couple to enjoy and share an expansive art collection that was collected over decades. Equally important, the house is designed to enhance the occupant’s participation in an ever-changing landscape where birds fly, the mist rolls in, leaves change color and tides in the marshland ebb and flow.