X House

Location: Northfield, Massachusetts

Program: Weekend House

The X House was designed for a 100-acre mountain site in the Berkshires, in western Massachusetts. The site, along with the role of the house as a weekend getaway, led to an adaptation of a villa by Andrea Palladio: the Villa Rotonda (1570). Palladio's villa is based on a cruciform plan that organizes, and stabilizes, all of the interior rooms around a circular central room.

Our plan uses a similar pair of organizational axes but pivots them around their crossing. This single transformation of Palladio’s axial organization is at once an homage to Palladio’s remarkable villa and, at the same time, completely changes the resulting plan.

The four equal arms of the Palladio plan are here re-balanced as couplings of two arms, each with its own bias toward the private and public areas of the new house.

Palladio’s stable central room is turned into a dynamic point of exchange between inside and outside, private and public, and front and back.

The broad/open arms of the front and back sides embrace, respectively, a meadow in front of the house and a stand of trees in the back. The narrow/pinched arms of the house draw a small exterior space, a micro-garden, into the interior spaces.

Collections & Awards

The drawings for this project were purchased by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

"Unbuilt Houses Award," Architectural Record.

WW Project Team

Principals: Ron Witte and Sarah Whiting