TRIPLE GRAND PRIZE | Waterfront Architecture: Alt Breeding Schwarz Architects,
Custom Building: Pyramid Builders, Large Kitchen: Alt Breeding Schwarz Architects
By Kymberly Taylor | Photography by David Burroughs
Mathematicians find beauty, even eloquence, in certain equations such as Albert Einstein’s E = mc2 that with poetic brevity equates energy with mass. Philosopher and theoretician Bertrand Russell goes as far as to say: “Mathematics, rightly viewed, possesses not only truth, but supreme beauty—”
To architect Scarlett Breeding, whose residential project on the Magothy River won three grand prizes, math is not just beautiful but a solid foundation for her soaring vision and a fundamental design principle.
For instance, for this project she began with the form of a simple Chesapeake Bay cottage and then proceeded to add and subtract. “Walls and even ceilings were ‘subtracted’ and replaced with pure, unobstructed glass,” she notes. She explains that traditional cottages were often expanded vertically with simple shed dormers and living spaces added on over time. With this “additive” principle in mind, her team expanded the cottage form and organized living, entertaining and sleeping spaces around the vista of the water.
Using an almost transparent geometry of steel, stone and glass, she broke down traditional barriers between indoor and outdoor spaces. “The interweaving of solid and transparent planes effortlessly create the visual connections and privacies the spaces require,” says Breeding.
Designed by Richard T. Anuszkiewicz, executive director of the firm’s Kitchen and Bath division, the kitchen earned its grand prize for its well-planned space, spare beauty and ability to function at a high mechanical and intuitive level. There is no visible hardware and appliances are placed to appear as a geometrical collage. The sculptural atmosphere continues with the kitchen island, a plinth of solid, polished quartzite.
A dining space has a moving wall of glass that opens to the waterfront. Inside and outside of this kitchen, as with the rest of the home, the river is always present. Glass walls conduct raw energy from sun, sky and water that charge the interior daily.
The fine line between the visible and invisible, between inside and out is manifest in the home’s construction by Pyramid Builders, which won a grand prize for its artful custom building elements. Glass walls in the dining room lift effortlessly and slide away; insect screens are integrated discretely into the structural beams; a stone plinth geothermal floor seamlessly connects inside and outside.
It is not every day a single project wins three prizes. What does this home possess that is truly special? It may be its invisible architecture born in the structure’s first drawings and calculations. At its center is a well-conceived plan, an equation that unfolds gracefully into a home. Balance becomes ornamentation. Here is a beautiful math restful to the body and soul.
Sarah Favaro, Project Architect, Alt Breeding Schwarz Architects, absarchitects.com
Pyramid Builders, pyramid-builders.com
Campion Hruby Landscape Architects, campionhruby.com
Evergro Landscaping, evergrolandscaping.com
Walnut Hill Landscape Company, walnuthilllandscape.com
Helen Sullivan Design
Annapolis Home Magazine
Vol. 8, No. 1 2017