Gaffney House


This modest home is located within the remains of an old barn foundation on a farm in Chester County near Philadelphia. The client asked for spaces defined by mood and atmosphere: a sense of openness coupled with privacy, enjoyment of courtyards experienced during a stay abroad, and memories of his childhood on a mid-western farm. In response to an extraordinary site and an unusual client, the nature of memory and the subconscious were explored. Held free from the original barn walls, the miniature house was given the profile and construction of the local farmhouse vernacular.

An angled barn beam supports the second floor between the dining and living spaces permitting a concrete column to extend freely for two stories. The column is placed at the pivot point of a glazed corner of gray blue steel sash facing the courtyard, meadow, and distant forest. Gables are not symmetrical; windows do not quite line up; the plan is lightly skewed to accommodate views to the landscape. Such subtle visual juxtapositions and distortions create a dreamlike ambiance throughout the house, which is both modernist and a simple cottage.


1981 Homes for Better Living, First Honor Award
American Institute of Architects and House and Home Magazine
1981 National Honor Award
American Institute of Architects
1981 Honor Award for Design Excellence
Pennsylvania Society of Architects
1981 Citation for Excellence in Design
AIA Philadelphia
1980 Silver Medal for Design Excellence
AIA Philadelphia
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