This village townhouse in Piermont is located on the Hudson River in the Bogertown historic district. Originally a 19th century river port, Bogertown captures the Hudson Valley’s diverse architectural traditions, ranging from the modest Dutch stone houses of the colonial period to the magnificent mansions and great estates of the Gilded Era. Historic districts such as Bogertown often reflect centuries of diversity in building types and styles, making the addition of a new building even more challenging.
BA approached the historic context of Bogertown with great respect and care, striving to achieve a design that honored the historic context of the district, yet did not parody or mimic the original buildings. The Pennock Jacobs house defers to the urbanism and architectural scale of the 19th century streetscape, yet adds a new and unique design to the overall diversity of the district.
BA analyzed the existing buildings elevations, floor plans, and site plans in order to better understand the context of the district. Streetscape elevation studies were completed, along with figure ground plans to determine the pattern of construction over the centuries. This work showed clearly that the back yards of the generally long and narrow lots of the district were slowly filled in with additions while the front facades of the houses were largely unchanged. This has allowed the district to retain its historic scale at the street while allowing these buildings to grow much larger.
This historic pattern of an unchanged or “fixed” original building façade and a series of additions to the rear became the design concept for the new house. The “original” house, containing just the entry and main living room, was inspired by the early 19th century riverfront homes of the federal period. Solid, sober and unchanging in dressed stone, the façade continues the heritage and character of the street. The remaining portions of the house are quite different; rendered in lighter shingle and wood trim, the rooms jog and bend to create a large courtyard garden, with porches and open spaces framing the pool and studio in the back yard.
The Pennock Jacobs house demonstrates how, even in an existing historic district, a new home can merge with its natural context: a historic 19th century streetscape on one side, and a beautiful garden courtyard on the other.