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The Houses of Estes/Twombly
150 color illustrations, 20 b/w illustrations
Publication date: 10/13/2009
|Architects James Estes and Peter Twombly have described their nearly two decades of work as "quiet modernism." Their Rhode Island-based firm, Estes/Twombly Architects, builds modestly sized and geometrically precise houses that are unique to their New England locale without being style-driven. These award-winning homes reflect the area's strong architectural heritage--white cedar shingles, sliding barn doors, standing-seam metal roofs--without being derivative. Yankee Modern features ten elegant houses in Rhode Island and Connecticut that are moderate in scale and budget yet quietly large in ambition. For Estes/Twombly, each building site, whether responding to a view, a neighbor, or the terrain, requires a unique solution. Through careful integration of site and design, the architects create enough natural heat and ventilation to defy the rugged New England climate and extend the warm seasons.
Estes/Twombly's multiple award-winning Cyronak House on Block Island combines a modern, open plan--so suitable for the way most families live today--with time-tested local materials; sliding barn doors enclose a small courtyard entry and protect it from north winds, while to the south a small deck catches summer afternoon breezes. The pair of simple two-story blocks that comprise the Danevic House are turned at right angles and pulled apart to make outdoor spaces and take advantage of different views. A latticework tower joins them, acting as a transition between indoors and outdoors, the private and public realms. Sumptuous photography, charming drawings, and detailed plans fully illustrate Estes/Twombly's commonsense design solutions. Author William Morgan's opening essay traces the firm's development and situates their work in both regional and historical contexts. Yankee Modern is a welcome return to the simple pleasures of modest, innovative architecture, sensitive to its site and clients' needs.
William Morgan is an architectural historian and a photographer based in Providence, Rhode Island. He is the author of The Cape Cod Cottage.