Kent Residence Addition

Client Private Client
Location Kent, Connecticut
Status Completed in 2023

The addition to the Kent Residence created a new accessible space with views to the surrounding landscape.

The Kent Residence is an addition to Charles Gwathmey’s Garey Residence, a landmark of modern architecture situated on nine acres of land in Kent, Connecticut. Handel Architects was tapped to devise an addition that fit within Gwathmey’s minimalist style while altering the house’s footprint to create a wheelchair-accessible space for the aging homeowners.

The result is a floating volume that mediates between the rolling landscape and split-level nature of the existing house, with a floor-to-ceiling glazing system and white cedar siding to match Gwathmey’s design. The addition contains a bedroom, office space and bathroom that connects back into the house via a glass-covered corridor.

The addition’s placement and scale were dictated by the datums of the existing house, and its extent aligned with the house’s northernmost edge. The resulting location allows for dramatic views of an adjacent waterfall on one side and views of the pool and gardens on the other.

Nail Laminated Timber panels compose the structure and are left exposed on the ceiling and back wall. The panels are stained a dark walnut, elevating the addition's tectonics into an aesthetic interior finish that contrasts with a white oak wooden floor. Because it requires minimal additional support, the use of NLT allowed for the structure’s low profile and planted roof, preserving views from existing bedrooms half a level up. The foundation sets back from the structure’s edges, allowing the building to lift off the ground and float amidst the landscape.

The project began as an office addition, but initial designs for the structure were scrapped and reconceived when the owner became wheelchair-bound during the design phase and suddenly required a new fully-accessible working and sleeping space. With a new set of requirements, the team reworked the floorplan to create space for a bedroom and collaborated with landscape designer Deborah Nevins to devise a curved incline path leading from the driveway into the addition. Lined with fieldstone and integrated into the landscape, the path mirrors the shape of the existing house’s striking, circular glass living room, lending the entire site a new symmetry.

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Design Architect Architect of Record

Design Team

Michael Arad, David Margolis, Valeria Flores

Design Partner(s)

Interior Designer - Stephen Sills Associates Landscape Designer - Deborah Nevis & Associates