I Got Rhythm

context viewA townhouse, from 1860, was torn down on this site, which then became a vacant lot. In 1957, Metal Masters Company Inc. erected a one-story building for the manufacture and storage of toys – Herman H. Kline was the architect of record for the steel, wood and corrugated structure. In 1972 the then-vacant warehouse was demolished and in its stead was built this three-story, single-family dwelling with garage, by Nick James Chimes & Associates.

Simple and yet not so simple, unique in form but, in its use of brick and dark green trim, referential to its 19th-century rowhouse contextual neighbors. There is an architectural rhythm to the facade and, compared to its neighbors, an unusual balance of space.

in situ


Each story of the house has its own ratio of positive to negative space: the long, narrow, vertical windows with openings the same width as the spaces between them create a second story as a colonnade; the first-floor openings line up with those above, but having only two spaces creates the illusion of piers at the ground level; and the third story is recessed almost into nonexistence for a set-back deck with a single-plank railing, resembling a cornice, giving a narrow building on a narrow lot a wider feeling.

The minimal decoration between floors is a brick banding that enhances the horizontality as well. There is a playing with space – the openings are not just functional openings, but design. The language spoken here is architecture, giving us not just a practical building but a building with design intelligence, structural and subtle, not trying to be more than what it is but doing it in a very appropriate and sensible way.

facade view


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