Location: Princeton, New Jersey
The Golden House is organized around a box, an unfurling wood box that joins a contemporary house to parts of an existing house dating to the 18th century.
The teak-lined box forms an entry hall, a room whose walls, floors, and ceilings unwind among dynamic lives: lives of residents; lives of old and new architectures; lives of wholes and parts; lives of light and dark; lives of air; formal and informal lives; textured and abstract lives; public and private lives; indoor/outdoor lives; lives of art; lives of laundry; lives of what you see and what you don't see; technological lives;…lives still to be lived.
The wood skin of this box skates across the heavier obligations of functions and technical systems. Its surfaces and edges frame views and define movement.
Located close to a road, the house opens up onto a large park. From the carport, the house is approached laterally, with an informal entrance on the street side and a formal entrance on the park side.
Large, multi-leaf, glass doors open the entire south face of the house toward the park, disappearing into pockets in their fully open position. At the foot of the master bedroom sleeping area, large sliding doors turn the room into a sleeping porch as they glide out onto the terrace (a pocket-less pocket door). A family dining area opens onto the exterior green, tying the kitchen and the dining room directly to the southern landscape. Next to the alder-lined salon — an intimate, inward-facing space — the sun room's glass walls can be slid away, converting the room to a covered terrace looking onto the limitless expanse of the southwest view.
The exterior cladding combines wood siding and basalt. The siding on the old and new portions of the house is dimensionally identical, though it is detailed as lapped on the existing areas of the house and smooth on the new areas. The first floor of the new wing of the house is clad in basalt, as are the terraces and many floor areas, creating an occupied plinth that is equal parts "platform" and "building."
WW Project Team
Principals: Ron Witte and Sarah Whiting
Design Team: Grant Alford, Martin Hättasch, Alayne Kaethler, Ryan Neiheiser, Matthew Storrie
Allan Klein Construction, Inc.