Architecture through the ages has been categorised into various styles, but good design stands the test of time. Surber, Barber, Choate and Hertlein Architects(SBCH) designs projects that form the perfect amalgamation of old-world charm and modern design. The firm is involved in preservation and restoration projects.  Local materials are dressed in contemporary ways to create a unifying harmony with the site.  Intersecting planes and wooden panels are common design elements in their projects. Emphasis on the building’s response to its place and time forms the underlying design philosophy of SBCH.

1. House in the Berkshires

The timber abode rests on a serene hillside overlooking fields. The interplay between the rubble stone masonry and the timber construction sets the earthy tone of the residence. The angled roof is an abstraction of mountain slopes. The solid stone walls open out to by double-height curtain walls and corner windows. The home has expressive structural members like the Y-shaped wooden columns and the exposed rafters. The planning incorporates the existing topography leading to varied levels and projecting balconies.

House in the Berkshires - Sheet1
House in the Berkshires ©Phillip Spears
House in the Berkshires - Sheet2
House in the Berkshires ©Phillip Spears
House in the Berkshires - Sheet3
House in the Berkshires ©Phillip Spears

2. House Near Monterrey

An array of concrete planes of varying sizes form an elegant composition of spatial design. Spaces seamlessly blend from interior to exterior through glass walls. The projecting post and lintel structures help define the bay windows and seating nooks situated throughout. The materials used are in their natural state showing the prioritisation of the spatial element over ornamental aesthetics. Exposed wooden beams and timber window frames add a touch of warmth to the neutral palette. The house with its open elevations acts as a vista to view the city below. There is an equal share of private courtyards and landscaping which create a more intimate environment within.

House Near Monterrey - Sheet1
House near Monterrey ©Phillip Spears
House Near Monterrey - Sheet2
House near Monterrey ©Phillip Spears
House Near Monterrey - Sheet3
House near Monterrey ©Phillip Spears

3. Cliff House

The house rises from the rocky outcrop of the site. The highly contoured site poses a design challenge, which has been overcome by the segmentation of the house into blocks. The highlights of the project are the floating walkways and chiselled rock stairs. These elements preserve the indigenous landscape and create the feeling of walking through a nature trail. The jagged rock bed is contrasted well by the plain white walls of the house, the walls seemingly creating a blank palette for the rocky display. The balconies project onto the steep vegetation clad slopes, giving a taste of how it is to be “living on the edge”.

Cliff House - Sheet1
Cliff House ©Phillip Spears
Cliff House - Sheet2
Cliff House ©Phillip Spears
Cliff House - Sheet3
Cliff House ©Phillip Spears

4. House in Naples

Spanish villa meets modern elegance in this Florida residence. On entering one is greeted by the barrel tile roofs and the line of windows. The interiors are cosy with low set ceilings, ivory walls, and wooden accents. Warmly lit domes and winding staircases add to the dramatic flair of the residence.   The spatial planning takes notes from traditional villas, incorporating compartmentalised rooms around a central courtyard. The central pool courtyard is modernistic, as it mirrors the surrounding colonnade and the sky. The elevated glass roof creates a sense of the pool being larger than life and breaks free from the close-knit interior spaces.

House in Naples - Sheet1
House in Naples ©choatehouses.com/project/house-in-naples/
House in Naples - Sheet2
House in Naples ©choatehouses.com/project/house-in-naples/
House in Naples - Sheet3
House in Naples ©choatehouses.com/project/house-in-naples/

5. House in Mountain Brook

The linear nature of the building volumes ensures that the spaces are always connected and open to their exteriors. Large windows open out and the interiors are lit naturally. The lower floor opens out onto the pool patio. The rectilinear pool can also be viewed from the skywalk hovering above it. The narrow spaces and open planning of the building reduce the need for ancillary spaces like corridors and walkways. As one walks across the ground floor, dining transforms into living which then becomes the patio. The volumes are defined by sleek black structural elements.

House in Mountain Brook - Sheet1

House in Mountain Brook - Sheet2
House in mountain Brook ©choatehouses.com
House in Mountain Brook - Sheet3
House in mountain Brook ©choatehouses.com

6. House near LA

The house is located along a  water body. What’s interesting to see is the contrasting treatment of the façade at opposite ends of the site. The frontage of the building facing the road has a single opening to provide privacy.  Whereas the side facing the water has movable glass walls. They enable the balconies to be inherent to the floor plate rather than projecting elements, removing the divide between the interior and exterior. The angled balcony wall increases seating space. It also works to create a bold statement along the water’s edge.

House near LA - Sheet1
House near LA ©choatehouses.com
House near LA - Sheet2
House near LA ©choatehouses.com
House near LA - Sheet3
House near LA ©choatehouses.com

7. House by the Marsh

The House by the Marsh has a  striking skin and bones structure. The long double-height space of the living room is set amidst the verdant landscape and provides views of the marsh on one side. It is impressive how despite its transparent nature, the glass curtain wall is the most eye-catching element of the house. The high ceiling is accented with SBCH’s characteristic square wooden panelling. The low rubble masonry walls run across the landscape. Warm grey timber planks on the exterior match the suburban aesthetic.

House by the Marsh - Sheet1
House by the Marsh ©Phillip Spears
House by the Marsh - Sheet2
House by the Marsh ©Phillip Spears
House by the Marsh - Sheet3
House by the Marsh ©Phillip Spears

8. Hotel indigo

The Hotel Indigo building appears to be a large-scale version of a conventional gable house. The twin roofs are distinct and can be spotted from a distance. Bright red projections vertically line the windows and add a pop of colour to the dark walls. The pitched roofs and the board siding on the walls are reminiscent of the local architecture. The hotel’s interior, however, speaks a different story. Curved walls and circular drop ceilings help in creating a fluid and dynamic space inside.

Hotel indigo - Sheet1
Hotel Indigo © Phillip Spears
Hotel indigo - Sheet2
Hotel Indigo ©Phillip Spears
Hotel indigo - Sheet3
Hotel Indigo ©Phillip Spears

9. Tribute Lofts

The Tribute Lofts is a mixed-use project. The building volumes have been designed to suit their respective programmes. The tall block is for residences, enabling more residences under a limited floor area and providing the residents with unparalleled views of the city’s skyline. The retail and office units have been spread across a lower but wider building footprint. This enables more visibility to pedestrians and creates a human scale to the building. The offices also have small balconies facing the street. The colour palette is industrial with shades of grey and curtain walls.

Tribute Lofts - Sheet1
Tribute Lofts ©sbcharch.com
Tribute Lofts - Sheet2
Tribute Lofts ©sbcharch.com
Tribute Lofts - Sheet3
Tribute Lofts ©sbcharch.com

10. Winshape Center

The Winshape Center is an adaptive reuse project for a corporate retreat. The site originally had a functioning dairy farm. The reuse involved refurbishing the interiors to host dining halls and rooms. The original buildings were in the form of farmland structures with pitched roofs which have been retained. The interiors have utilised the existing double height barns to create dens and community rooms. The crisscrossed wooden trusses and the rafters add to the rustic feel and have been complemented by the addition of ringed chandeliers.

Winshape Center - Sheet1
Winshape Center ©Gabriel Benzur
Winshape Center - Sheet2
Winshape Center ©Gabriel Benzur
Winshape Center - Sheet3
Winshape Center ©Gabriel Benzur

11. Ponce City Center

The Ponce City Centre was a refurbishment project. An old brick-walled distribution centre has been converted into a lively public space. The existing industrial interiors with the metal staircases and the exposed metal beams have been retained and add to the grunge look. The large space has been designed to work as an interior high street with ornamental shopfronts. Interstitial spaces such as back alleys have been converted into restaurant nooks. The surroundings have been designed with landscape and walkways to create a public plaza.

Ponce City Center - Sheet1
Ponce City Center ©Phillip Spears
Ponce City Center - Sheet2
Ponce City Center ©Phillip Spears
Ponce City Center - Sheet3
Ponce City Center ©Phillip Spears

12. Cherokee Town Club

SBCH has been involved in the master planning and expansion of the renowned club. Designing in line with its long heritage, the dining halls extensively use wooden panelling and the coffered wooden domes. Metal chandeliers and lamps are added as accents. The lavish wooden panelling is broken by the arched windows with intricate mullions. A central island forms the focus of the room. Exposed wooden trusses and beams fill up the high ceilings. The design ensures that the club does not lose its old-world charm in the modern-day.

Cherokee Town Club - Sheet1
Cherokee Town Club ©Phillip Spears
Cherokee Town Club - Sheet2
Piedmont Golf Clubhouse ©sbcharch.com
Cherokee Town Club - Sheet3
Piedmont Golf Clubhouse ©sbcharch.com

13. Piedmont Golf Clubhouse

The Golf Clubhouse seems to be straight out of a painting of the countryside. It is located amidst the undulating golf greens and has been designed with large pitched roofs and stone walls. The clubhouse was built as a subsidiary of the existing Piedmont Driving Club. Its design is quite traditional to showcase the heritage of the club, but to an experienced eye, it yields features of different European styles – Tudor and Gothic. Segmented stone arches, bay windows and the rubble masonry walls are characteristic elements of these styles. Large floor height windows provide daylighting as well as views of the golf greens.

Piedmont Golf Clubhouse - Sheet1
Piedmont Golf Clubhouse ©sbcharch.com
Piedmont Golf Clubhouse - Sheet2
Piedmont Golf Clubhouse ©sbcharch.com
Piedmont Golf Clubhouse - Sheet3
Piedmont Golf Clubhouse ©sbcharch.com

14. Baby Brathwaite Store

SBC+H was involved in the adaptive reuse of a brick building being converted into a children’s retail store. The entire store has been converted into a white wonderland including the brick front of the existing building. The interiors are also completely made white from floor to ceiling, thereby hiding the industrial remnants of the building. The white colour creates a feeling of spaciousness and acts as a neutral background for the displayed items, which seem to be highlighted in the white setting. Two topiary figures greet visitors at the entry adding to the whimsical vibe of the store.

Baby Brathwaite Store - Sheet1
Baby Brathwaite Store ©sbcharch.com
Baby Brathwaite Store - Sheet2
Baby Brathwaite Store ©sbcharch.com
Baby Brathwaite Store - Sheet3
Baby Brathwaite Store ©sbcharch.com

15. Robinson Pavilion

The Robinson Pavilion was designed to enhance the footfall of the botanical garden. The Pavilion manages to hold its ground amidst the towering glass buildings around it. The minimalist design complements the surrounding landscape. A flight of stairs ascends into the open structure. The design is simple with the white block walls being contrasted with the black metal framing. It overlooks the garden and provides a venue for small gatherings. This project goes to show how a small architectural intervention can provide opportunities for a public space.

Robinson Pavilion - Sheet1
Robinson Pavilion ©Creative Sources Photography
Robinson Pavilion - Sheet2
Robinson Pavilion ©Creative Sources Photography
Robinson Pavilion - Sheet3
Robinson Pavilion ©Creative Sources Photography
Author

Aditi Udupa is a writer by day and a master of brainstorm by night. As she embarks on her architectural journey, finding the right word seems easier than drawing a straight line. Through her writing, she strives to discover the untold stories of the architectural world.

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