Joeb Moore & Partners

Joeb Moore & Partners

Greenwich, CT



Located in the Greenwich, CT backcountry on four steeply sloped acres, the 44PL house uses a precise site and aesthetic strategy to comfortably satisfy a large residential program, while also triggering moments of surprise, play, and curiosity.

This project is conceived as a series of concrete retaining walls and escarpments that traverse and cascade down the steeply sloped site. By deploying a series of straight walls to act as “jetties” into the landscape, the design manipulates the topography and invites it to cascade into the house. Hovering above and anchored to these concrete site walls is the house proper, a “primitive” conceived and constructed as a pair of smooth extruded volumes of differing lengths. Symbolically and strategically, the first of these extrusions presents a gable-front facade to the street and helps conceal the scale of the overall house beyond. The second rotates 90 degrees and runs parallel to the street and site walls. The perpendicular orientation of the two extrusions produces a powerful juxtaposition between representation and abstraction within the project.

The two cedar volumes are sliced by a set of three sectional cuts that contrast these horizontal program containers and movements. The main sectional void is a water canal: a waterfall that flows between two concrete site walls and then drops 12 feet to the basement space providing reflective light, water, and sound to occupy the “center” of the house. The second sectional void is the “gable-front” façade itself. It is pulled away from the building proper to produce a light lantern. The third sectional void is a vertical slot that serves as the back stair that runs from the basement to the second floor and separates the garage and guest suite from the children’s bedroom wing.

The “house-containers” themselves are cladded in a continuous 1” x 1” alternating, horizontal cedar lattice that is intentionally pulled tight and taut over the “house-container” surfaces and contrasts with the concrete and white stucco wall planes below. Like a membrane, this second skin passes right over windows and joints with only the slightest registration of planar shifts from the surface changes behind.  The resultant optical effect is one of precision and ambiguity from both the interior and exterior. These strategies of aesthetic disjunction; tight, abstract and literal material assemblies; and formal-cultural contrasts and mimicry, are the key formal and spatial operations in this project and they are each indebted to specific situational aesthetic techniques developed in Minimalist and Post-minimalist art.

Photography ©David Sundberg/Esto

Read more

Status: Built
Location: Greenwich, CT, US