SPLIT LEVEL HOUSE

 

This home was designed to streamline life for a single woman with varied personal interests as well as many, many grandchildren.  The programmatic requirements included separate studios for pottery and pastels, as well as gathering spaces suited for multiple generations, all overlooking the beautiful Otsego Lake.

The split level typology was originally conceived as an economical way of achieving multiple living zones within fewer stories with minimal excavation - often on smaller or sloped plots common in the early American suburbs of the '60s and '70s.

In this case, we interconnected 4 levels within the existing 2-story structure by creating an open-tread staircase that becomes an integral part of every room.  The design challenge was two-fold:

- How to unify all the levels to befit a single occupant
- How to enhance the benefits of the original typology to accommodate frequent family gatherings and periodic house-guests.

The original compact staircase is widened to become a full-width, central connector.  The 8-foot wide floating treads visually interconnect the multiple levels and pull natural light down to the lowest level.  The treads also serve as bleacher-style seating.

Varying ceiling heights modulate the main space into quadrants, while still allowing activities to flow and be overseen from one zone to another.

On the exterior, the multiple floor levels are exhibited on the fa├žade as shifting cubes.  Ample protection from the elements is provided by a large overhang on a raked roof that extends nearly down to grade.

 

 

Program:  Residence
Location:  Cooperstown, NY
Area:  2,700 SF
Project Team:  M. Kanda, I. Kanda, S. Hien
GC:  Cooperstown Construction
Millwork:  Geoffrey Foster & Burt Holmes
Structural:  McManus Engineering Group