Architect Joseph N. Biondo designed a house with a high dedication to details, surfaces and playing between indoor and outdoor spaces.
Situated in a typical nondescript subdivision of Eastern Pennsylvania, the house is surrounded by other single-family houses of all shapes and sizes. The primary building materials, site poured concrete and various concrete products, pay respect to the history of Northampton.
This single-family, three bedroom home penetrates into the landscape and becomes one with it. The main living area, whose face is half buried into the landscape, offers no views to the east except that of its walled courtyard. It is to be a peaceful place, a knife of oasis sheltered from sound and views of the subdivision thus creating an outdoor room that opens to the sky. The interior space is open, intimate and neutral with domestic objects articulated as furnishings placed within.
The base of the house is constructed of concrete. This seemingly unnatural mixture of fluid stone and steel reinforcement offers the rough, tactile charm that often emanate from the irregularities of mature buildings. The concrete monolith is treated as an existing condition whose subsequent wood-framed, cementitious clad boxes are carefully inserted.
This home is an architecture that involves all the senses. The surfaces and details demand to be felt. The spaces and special sequences require to be grasped by the senses that apprehend gravity, driving forces, and temperature. Details involving human contact such as entrance areas, steps, handles and hand rails are treated with particular care. The restricted tolerances of construction elegantly contrasts with the random nature of the organic while the massing, textures, and unevenness of weathering surfaces transmit similar sensations to the landscape.
Photos by Steven Wolfe Photography