The projects on this page are a selection of my residential design work since the 1990's. This work was influenced by my association with three well regarded design firms in Philadelphia, including Venturi, Rauch & Scott Brown, Tony Atkin & Associates and Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, Architects. Additionally my work as a Senior Associate at The Ballinger Company included successful collaborations with Pritzker Prize winner, Fumihiko Maki & Associates of Tokyo, Japan for the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania and Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects for the new Barnes Foundation on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia. Note: all photos by SJTA unless otherwise credited.
Recently Completed Work - The Inn at Swarthmore. SJTA was hired by Swarthmore College in 2012 as design consultant to assist Cope Linder, the architect of record, with the exterior appearance and massing of the Town Center West. SJTA modified the building to resemble an historic road house with a series of support functions added to the rear of the house over time. At the suggestion of the College, the style of the Inn was based on the work of the English architect C.F.A. Voysey. Voysey's country house designs often incorporated broad sweeping roof lines, taunt rendered skins and vertically proportioned openings. The construction of Voysey's houses also reflected the use of the modern materials of the day. This provided a strong guide in how to translate the design into the strict budget constraints of the moment. Located next to the Swarthmore train station, at the intersection of town and gown, the new Inn creates an iconographic meeting place for residents, students, faculty and visitors alike.
Approach from the train station to the bookstore entry and terrace. The College athletic fields are visible beyond either side of the Inn. The wonderful canopy of London Plain trees was carefully pruned, protected and nurtured by my old friend Hal Rosner, Arborist, LLC during the construction of the Inn by W.S. Cumby.
A view of the port-cochere entry to the Inn from the parking area to the west. The heavy timber construction and wood decking create a warm textured, porch-like entry to the Inn and its support facilities. An adjacent enclosed garden with cedar fencing and plantings tended by the arboretum staff, creates a space for outside receptions in the garden and frames the view to the campus and Scott Arboretum to the northwest from the main lobby of the Inn.
House in Horsham - Restoration and additions to a 100 year old farm house on a 40-acre property. The addition drew inspiration from the 'Wyck House' in Germantown, near the owner's childhood home. The scope of work included a new living room and porch, master bedroom suite and expanded and renewed the kitchen area with a mudroom entry from the barn. A caretakers residence and recording studio were added to the barn. The millwork finishes were based on interpretations of the original house. The Owner's design sensibilities, period furnishings and artwork complemented the expanded residence with grace and beauty. Completed 1990.
Photos by Tom Bernard
House in Whitemarsh - A new 4,500 SF residence and garage built adjacent to a golf course and an existing stone house and barn. The design reflected the influence of early 20th century residential design work in Chestnut Hill and Mt. Airy favored by the Owners. Subsequent additions were designed by SJTA to convert the garage to a family room and pool changing area, with a guest room suite above and a new carriage shed garage and stone entry court. Completed 1995.
Photos by Tom Bernard
House in West Mt. Airy - A 'Weavers Cottage' built in the mid 19th century, this house has undergone much transformation from its modest beginnings as a tenant house for a local Cresheim Creek mill company. A long, narrow house organized as a series of rooms 'enfilade', with bay windows to the southwest, has a generous deep yard with herb garden and pergola. The house has undergone a series of restoration projects since 1990 for a family that enjoys access to the Wissahickon Park, a nearby rail line into town and a vibrant, historical and inclusive city neighborhood.
Interior Millwork Alterations: The beauty of working with craftsmen like Ben Brown and Hank Conklin is that your sketches need only to convey the intent, without any extraneous information. This is especially true of renovation work in an old house with few, if any parallel planes.
Interiors: A long, light filled home with a mixture of period and modern furnishings and artwork that reflect the Owner's eclectic tastes and casual life style.
More to come? A modest, classical vestibule sketch of changes considered for the side entry, yet to happen. Note the classic plan/section/elevation organization of the sketch, with a human figure for scale, the fundamental drawing tools of the architect.
Development Sketch Design in Chestnut Hill: A preliminary sketch idea for a developer, not realized. An example of the kind of traditional handmade presentation drawings from my early days, that I still enjoy making today - An example of the Architect's craft.
Drawing is an intentional act. It takes time, patience and observational skill. It is a process of discovery that engages the senses and creates a memory of a time and space. The following are a selection of mixed media memories from my sketch books that recall personal musings and important time with family and friends.
Squam Lake - Ink exterior/interior of Fishing Camp in New Hampshire with Jack & Anne.
Family time - Life guard stand at 'Coney' beach on Little Wolf pond. A nice place for small kids to paddle in Tupper Lake, NY.
Rest and relaxation - Entry from the woods to a 100 year old rustic camp overlooking the lake. The lake side has a long generous screened in porch to accommodate puzzle assembly, solitary time with a good book, cocktails and ping pong table competition.
Down Maine - A sketch in the manner of C.R. Mackintosh of tiger lilies outside our shingled cottage in South Montville, Maine in the weeks before September 11th.
Mystic Seaport - Pencil sketch from a trip to Connecticut, during the Wooden Boat Show with Jeffrey.
Hazy, Hot & Humid - Summer by the kitchen garden with a watchful Haley surveying her domain.
The Squash Lesson - Titus C. and Annie T. in a Sunday morning lesson discussing the term "flummoxed", as in Titus' comment, "You really flummoxed me on that last return Annie". Quantum Club, Germantown, PA
Dream House #1 - An Edwardian gardener's cottage/tower house, influenced by teenage memories of a Penllyn hunt tower house, as well as similar works by Wilson Eyre and Robert Venturi. A simple, cosy frame house for a family of four with kitchen table in bay window and a rear first floor bedroom, a colorful Carl Larsson inspired playroom with sleeping alcoves above for the kids and an airy gathering space on top for views, music, readings and reflection. Finally, a modest garden space that accommodates both croquet play and a kitchen garden.
Dream House #2 - An articulated plan that follows a sloping lake landscape edge and creates a forecourt entry focused on a significant tree. A garage is positioned to shield the courtyard from the approach drive, but remains convenient for groceries and wood for the stove.
Site section - Detail sketch illustrates sloping landscape in the woods next to a lake. Note the steps to a lower courtyard with south facing stone terrace, pergola and lap pool fed from the lake. Inspired both by the work of Gunnar Asplund's "Villa Snellman" in the suburbs of Stockholm and George Howe's "High Hollow" in Chestnut Hill, on a similar steep slope at the edge of the Wissahickon.
The convent at Cape May Point, NJ.. A favorite family summer destination, a short walk from our usual St. Peter's beach perch. Watercolor Sketch illustrates the extent of beach erosion in 2006 caused by storm damage. Since repaired, by the Army Corps of Engineers, this remains our favorite New Jersey beach destination.
WWII Beach Reminder - An observation post/gun position guarding the tip of New Jersey where the Delaware meets the Atlantic Ocean. Note the pier foundations exposed by beach erosion and the view to the Cape May Point convent beyond.
Pennsylvania Landscape - A century old Amish farmscape in Chester County off of Rt US1, southwest of Philadelphia in a classic, but endangered Pennsylvania landscape with encroaching McMansions just beyond the horizon. From a sketching trip with Jeffrey.
Summer time - An afternoon scene from the shade of an ancient viburnum by the kitchen door looking towards the cutting garden and the rose trellis beyond.
Teacher - An ink sketch of my mentor and interpreter of urban studies through the writings of Jane Jacobs and Sam Bass Warner, Professor David Amidon at Lehigh University during my undergraduate days in Bethlehem, PA.
Night Sketch - A night time pencil sketch of a corner by the fireplace inspired by Tanisaki's essay, "In Praise of Shadows". Note: Lizzie Ann Luong slipcover from Red Grooms PAFA show in the early 1980's.
Y2K - A hedge against calamity: a well used and trusty Vermont Castings, 'Intrepid II' stove which has kept our family warm and contented through damp, cold winters in Philadelphia since 2000.
These photos are simple records taken with my cellphone that capture a particular scene and moment of light. The following selection of images are from recent trips to Ireland and Italy as well as moments closer to home that describe everyday encounters with interesting objects and lighting.
Ballinglen Cottages, Ballycastle, N. Mayo
Portnahalla - Abandoned Farmstead
Farmstead at Rynn overlooking inlet.
East of Belderrig: A surprising view from the pasture lands overlooking the sea, with a harrowing drop to the stone shore below.
Late evening view from Ballinglen cottage after supper, before the walk to the village for a pint.
Mosaic Pint glass on O'Connor Grocery, Ballycastle, 2016, since demolished...
Late view across the Arno to the town center of Florence, a beautiful walking city filled with history, art and architecture.
Uffizi Gallery Museum courtyard in an early moment of calm, looking towards the Arno.
Santa Maria Novella - Florence, Alberti, 1470
Piazza del Campo in Siena. View of the Palazzo Publico and Torre del Mangia.
Santo Spirito, Filippo Brunelleschi, 1481. Near where we stayed with our students in the Oltrarno quarter.
SJT at Poggio a Caiano, a Medici villa west of Florence strategically situated on a rise from which Brunelleschi's dome was visible from the porch 14 miles away.
Oakes Ames Memorial Hall, H.H. Richardson, Easton, MA
American classical bliss - Saint-Gauden studio in Cornish, NH
Corn cob towers of Goldberg's Marina City in the Chicago loop.
Rudolph Schindler's King's Road House, North Hollywood, with JBT for scale.
Hipster hangout - Early summer pop up beer garden on Hamilton Street with Jen and Hal.
Barnes - Wall fabric sample with the hands of Billie and Tod.
Mother's House Interior - Venturi
Mother's House entry detail
Early morning classical light show
Late Winter light on pantry doors
Foul pole as light sabre - Stella!
Teaching is a collaboration between student and mentor that grows from realizations that emerge from the intersection of experience, the written word and the well formed question. It is a two way street. At its best it is a moment of enlightenment, both for the student and the teacher.
Old Home - Drexel's old Main at 33rd and Chestnut Street, (Wilson Brothers, 1891), is where the Architecture program originated at the beginning of the Drexel Institute of Technology. During my adjunct years, the program was housed in the original gymnasium space on the 4th floor above the main entry.
New Home - Today the program is housed on the third and fourth floors of the URBN building, in flexible loft space that accommodates a workshop oriented, evening teaching format. From early on we require our students to stand up and make presentations of their research and work in narrative form to their classmates, instructors and visiting professionals.
URBN Center: A building made for the study of architecture. The spec office core and shell, with the lively Market Street elevation, was designed by Venturi, Rauch & Scott Brown in 1980 as the Institute for Scientific Information, ISI. In 2011 the interiors of the building were radically transformed by Meyer, Scherer & Rockcastle with the surgical insertion of a central atrium, the exposure of the steel skeleton, the use of transparent interior partitioning and the addition of energy saving heating and cooling systems to create flexible and transparent, loft-like studio space.
Work Plan Sample I - This sketch illustrates the kind of post class reflection employed when considering next steps in a design exercise. The sketch test fits a precedent study of a Frank Lloyd Wright, pin-wheel plan, in horizontal and vertical configurations, to see how the precedent could be applied to a dense, vertical Center City site, versus a broader horizontal, semi-suburban site in the city highlands.
Work Plan Sample II - These are mid-review instructions to my students working on a National student competition entry for an alternative Senior Housing Community on the coast of Oregon. Because these kinds of competitions are forums for new ideas that require a graphically compelling format, this sketch is a shorthand to the student for how to organize their efforts into a manageable, concise, but graphically alluring format. The lesson is how to control the narrative through well considered images that graphically distill the essence of an idea for architecture. Not a simple task and something that needs to be tested throughout the process of design.
Study Abroad - An essential part of an architectural education is to travel and experience other cultures through their landscapes, cities, art and architecture. This we strive to do in our evening format by offering Intensive two-week study trips abroad for our students. Pictured is the Florence 2014 trip at the gates of the Boboli Garden. Photo by JBT.
Study Home - The Architectural Detail Class visit to the Henry Mercer Residence, "Fonthill", outside of Doylestown, to study handcrafted concrete and tile construction, Summer 2016.
The best method for learning about construction? - Experience it first hand. Our students are benefiting from an unprecedented period of growth in the area around University City. This includes on-going building and streetscape improvements at Drexel University and the University of Pennsylvania campuses, Science Center expansion and the Schuylkill Yards development to come at 30th Street Station. This work will continue well into the next decade and our students will have a front row seat to see the process of construction and to gain deeper insight into their studies in the classroom.
Intersections between new and old. How does one influence the other? What are the similarities and the differences? A Kieran Timberlake example at Levine Hall on the UPenn engineering portion of campus.
Professional Connections - Philadelphia is an international center for architectural design professionals. We are very fortunate to know many of these firms through our own experiences and benefit from their support of our students through their employment. One of the best known Philadelphia firms in practice today is KieranTimberlake. KT has been very supportive of our program. In a recent visit with one of my classes, we toured their new offices and viewed an installation of mockups, part of a larger city wide exhibition, and the shop where they produce these important studies that are so unique to their practice.
Maker Space - Tour of the KT fabrication shop where they produce their building mockups.
Student Competitions - Winners from the 2015 Steven Izenour Memorial Prize. The practice of Architecture is a hopeful and competitive enterprise that requires practitioners to showcase their skills from time to time in competitions for important commissions. At Drexel we offer the annually endowed "Ize Prize" to help prepare students for the statewide Stewardson Competition, a prestigious architectural prize that provides a stipend for student travel.
Construction Site Visits - A guided tour of the recently completed New College Dormitory at the University of Pennsylvania by Bohlin Cywinski Jackson Architects.
Adjunct Practitioner/Professors - Our program is unique in the number of working professionals who form the core of our evening faculty. These are dedicated, responsible and compassionate professionals who are leaders in their respective firms. They dedicate one evening a week, plus the occasional weekend, to teach in the evening program.