Connecticut is rich with architectural traditions that provide cultural continuity. Traditions are defined by a wide variety of underlying styles, including, but not limited to, Colonial, Georgian, Greek Revival, Queen Anne, Shingle and Vernacular. Alice Washburn was an early 20th century Connecticut designer and builder, largely self-taught, whose work is known for its thoughtful stylistic and programmatic invention.
The Alice Washburn House Award
An annual award program to acknowledge excellence in traditional house design. Focused on style, this awards program is about the thoughtful and delightful adaptation of tradition to address 21st century needs in residential form.
The Alice Washburn Accessory Building Award
An annual award that recognizes Connecticut’s architectural heritage of small and subsidiary buildings.
The 2018 The Alice Washburn Awards
Mohamed Farzan, AIA, NewPort Architecture, Newport, Rhode Island
Martha Werenfels, AIA, Durkee Brown Viveiros & Werenfels Architects, Providence, Rhode Island
Paul Weber, AIA, Paul Weber Architects, Newport, Rhode Island
Winning project: New Construction
Darien ■ Beinfield Architecture PC
Situated on a tidal inlet from Long Island Sound, this five-bedroom house blurs the lines between traditional New England vernacular forms and decidedly contemporary ones. As a result, the home is reminiscent of traditional New England style but with window placement that is deliberate and asymmetrical.
Windows wrap the corners forming diagonal views into to landscape. The main area of the home combines kitchen, living room and dining room. This space has direct access to the raised structural pool area, which includes a spa and screen porch. There is a dramatic floating stair made from patinaed plate steel with oak planks for the treads. The clients’ primary request was to provide areas to display their expanding art collection while maintaining a casual feel of a beach house.
Jury Comments: The house is nicely detailed, a modern interpretation of farmhouse forms. Well designed, it fits beautifully into the landscape. The bridge concept ties the interior and exterior together, creating a nice relationship spatially.
Saniee Architects, LLC
36 West Putnam Avenue
Winning project: Accessory Buildings
The Berry Bowl
Washington ■ Haver & Skolnik Architects
The clients, avid gardeners, presented the architects with a unique challenge: find a solution to the chronic problem of birds feasting on their many blueberry bushes. Haver & Skolnik created a unique “berry bowl”. The domed circular structure resembles a bird cage designed to keep the birds out. A fieldstone wall serves as a base for steel tubes bent to form concentric rings which support steel mesh. A particular challenge was in determining a mesh size that prevents birds from entering while still allowing bees to freely pass through to pollinate the bushes. The Berry Bowl also provides a unique sculptural element to the landscape and was the highlight of a recent Garden Conservancy Tour.
Jury Comments: This innovative project presents a simple solution to a horticultural challenge. Its use of materials is admirable. The jury liked the description of the Berry Bowl as a reverse aviary; it is the most benign way of keeping birds out.
Saniee Architects, LLC
36 West Putnam Avenue
Winning Project: Renovations
The Music Barn
Redding ■ Austin Patterson Disston Architects
Famed 20th century violinist Jascha Heifetz had owned this property and gathered musicians to perform in his barn. By coincidence the new owner’s grandmother, Emily Gresser, also a violinist, had played with the group. Our office discovered the original historic structure completely intact encased in the pentagon-shaped house. After demolishing 2,819 square feet of additions, the original barn and small office remain. The now restored 1,530 square foot Music Barn includes original pine beams and walls, a pool area, and large welcoming terrace. The barn was insulated from the inside out, and the exterior siding is antique native weathered board and batten pine. All joints were carefully cut and pieced creating a consistent façade. Twelve original millstones were incorporated into the landscape architecture. The homeowners have restored this historic gem and brought music back to its rafters.
Juror Comments: The jury appreciated the fact that the project was taken back to its footprint. Its new program is in keeping with the historic use of the building. There is a very strong, consistent design element between the inside and outside.
A Joint Venture:
Studio Q Architecture QA+M
301 Highland Avenue 195 Scott Swamp Road
Waterbury CT Farmington, CT
PAST ALICE WASHBURN AWARD RECIPIENTS