'Bridge House' makes waves in architectural world

The design for the Bridge House in Kent has proven to be an award-winner. May 2015
The design for the Bridge House in Kent has proven to be an award-winner. May 2015Contributed Photo

Beautiful countryside and the rolling hills of Kent were incorporated into the design of an award-winning home recently completed on property overlooking Kent Falls.

Joeb Moore, a Greenwich architect who designed the home, is being honored for the work with a 2015 award by the American Institute of Architects.

"This connection between the architecture and the surrounding landscape is really the core idea and was an essential part of the project," said Moore, founder of Greenwich-based Joeb Moore & Partners Architects.

"The idea was to build a living and dining space that also has a symmetrical outdoor space directly related to the meadow and sloping hillside," he added. "That is something the owner and client were very interested in."

The initial concept for the home, Moore said, involved taking two L-shaped forms and locking them together to form the eventual structure.

By doing so, a large outdoor living space was created underneath the home that appears to "roll" under the structure, much like the adjoining hillside.

The outdoor living space, he said, includes a large, outdoor fireplace and a movie screen, as well as a separate barbecue and cooking area. The entire space can be closed off, Moore said, with 27-foot automated roll-down screens to keep out flies and mosquitoes.

"It's the largest use to date for that kind of screening," Moore said.

Stephen Schreiber, one of the five jurors who worked on the AIA's 2015 award selections, said it was the central idea, followed by its execution with a high level of detail, that impressed him the most.

"Often we see homes that have both a strong concept and a strong plan, but that's poorly detailed," he said. "The Bridge House was one that rose to the top pretty quickly. It has a strong concept that was followed through by very rigorous planning and detailing of the site."

Moore said some of his inspiration for the home came from the local work of the Harvard Five, including Phillip Johnson's Glass House and the work of Eliot Noyes, particularly his concept of an open courtyard.

Unlike the Glass House, however, which seems to stick out from the rest of the landscaped property in New Canaan, Moore said the Bridge House is designed to blend with the surrounding landscape.

"The Glass House is really about social and visual transparency, while the amount of exposure from the bridge house depends on where you are looking," Moore said. "Looking out to the falls, the home is very open, but if you are driving up to the house, it looks very private."

Although the homeowners declined to be named for the story, Moore said they are a couple in their mid-70s from New York City who will be using the house as their vacation home.

They are very fond of the outdoors, he said, and it was important to them that it was made part of the design.

"They are a lovely couple who are both inspiring and progressive clients," Moore said. "This was truly a collaborative experience, but once we had the core idea in place, they really let us run with the project. It was a great experience."

dperrefort@newstimes.com; 203-731-3358; www.twitter.com/DirkPerrefort