This house in Cambridge was originally design in the 1950s by renowned architect Paul Rudolph. At project start, the house was in good but dated condition, virtually unchanged since it won a Record Houses Award in 1960. Ruhl Studio Architects was tasked with bringing the house up to current energy efficiency standards and with reorganizing the house to accommodate the new owners’ more contemporary needs, all while respecting the noteworthy original design. The work included the redesign of the exterior walls and glazing to include a new wall of 10-foot-high, triple-paned sliding doors and windows on the main façade. These doors open the home to the adjacent courtyard and provide excellent natural ventilation. The other three exterior walls, which are largely below grade, and the roof received insulation in excess of that which code requires. All new energy-efficient heating and cooling equipment, including heat recovery ventilation, was installed to bring the home up to modern standards. The result was much greater energy efficiency and thermal comfort for the family. Organizationally, the central living space was preserved while the side wings were reorganized to suit the specific needs of the family. The kitchen was relocated from an enclosed side room to one side wall of the main central living space, freeing up space for modernized bathrooms, bedrooms, and studies. To house the book collection of the studious family, a leaky, fiberglass roof above an existing “winter garden” was replaced with an insulated glazing system to allow year-round library use and improved natural daylighting. Structural improvements were required throughout to bring the house up to current building standards. The renovation resulted in a comfortable modern home that pays great homage to its midcentury past.


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