Cleveland-based architecture firm Architecture Office has completed construction on Monmouth Residence — a two-story, two bedroom home nestled in an undeveloped thicket in Akron, Ohio. With the eastern boundary of the site sharply plunging into a stormwater collection ravine, the design intent was to respond to this topography and minimize the building’s impact on its environment.
Four massings were designed to allow rainwater to flow down the roof into a gravel-lined runoff area that drains into the ravine. Oriented west to east, the chosen design appears as a monolithic object emerging from the terrain. Set on a concrete plinth and homogeneously clad in black corrugated metal, Monmouth Residence resists a typological reading. The building completely foregoes downspouts and gutters — its mass changing in concert with the slope of the land.
Monmouth Residence’s front entrance is subtracted from its mass and clad in Brazilian hardwood, leading to an entry foyer that opens to a living room and kitchen. This subtraction disrupts the orthogonal ground plan to enclose the north end of the living space, generating a gentle tension with the covered patio extruded from the southern face of the living area.
West of the kitchen, private spaces are oriented around a central stacked staircase descending into the basement and ascending to a second floor primary bedroom suite overlooking the living space below. The living room opens to a two car garage to the east. Windows placement was largely restrained to the southern and western faces of the building to enhance privacy and intensify outdoor views and natural light.
Designed in harmony with its site, Monmouth Residence achieves a formal purity without easy reduction to a play on type or agglomeration of Platonic masses.
Architecture Office is a Cleveland, Ohio-based design studio that consults form, material, light, context, and human experience to create spaces to enjoy and contemplate.