2017 Master Design Awards: Residential Specialty

by Kyle Clapham
2017 master design awards residential specialty


Rusk Renovations
New York

Haute Architecture dpc
New York

Structural Engineer: Eckersley O’Callaghan
Project name:
Floating Stair/Tesselation Stair, West Village Townhouse
Project location: New York

Annie Schlechter Haute Architecture dpc with Rusk Renovations

Photos: Annie Schlechter


The design of the central staircase in a contemporary townhouse originally called for a concrete-clad mono stringer to complement the minimalist color palette of gray and white. Underneath the stair, the concrete cladding would be segmented step-by-step for individual reveals at each tread and would permit concrete movement. The image beneath the stair would be akin to a human spine.

Rusk Renovations proposed using solid concrete treads with a glass reinforced gypsum (GRG) panel underneath that is skimmed in decorative concrete. The updated design gives the whole staircase a seamless form with less weight and no cracking. As a result, the floating stair has become the defining moment for a minimalist contemporary townhome with gray concrete and white walls.



Cummings Architects
Ipswich, Mass.

Partner: Alexander Knight House Team
Project name: Alexander Knight House
Project location: Ipswich, Mass.
Square footage: 192
Project cost: $50,000

Harry Howarth

Photos: Harry Howarth


Recreating a one-room home in the style of many of Ipswich, Massachusetts’ First Period homes from the early 17th century, meant forgoing modern construction in order to build it authentically. With a team comprised of researchers, architect, builders and tradespeople, the volunteers undertook the project over several summers, with plans to give the finished structure to the Ipswich Museum for educational purposes. Solutions came from researching how such one-room homes were constructed for centuries and resurrecting such methods.

Harry Howarth

Logistically, materials had to be found close to the construction site. Hand-hewn white oak makes up the timber frame and roof structure, eastern white pine makes up the exterior siding, thatch materials for the roof were harvest from local marshes, and a “wattle and daub” chimney was created from mud mixed by volunteers’ hands and feet. Artisans were required to cut the mortise and tenon English-style joinery. Period appropriate furniture, knives, pottery and cookware were crafted by Matt Diana and traditional craftsmen and blacksmiths.

Harry Howarth


Hanson Carlen Architecture & Construction
Spokane, Wash.

Project name: Cossette Residence
Project location: Spokane, Wash.
Square footage: 516
Project cost: $291,000

Rockethorse Photography

Photos: Rockethorse Photography


The owner of a 1981 home asked for a dramatic entry and wanted to showcase a grand entrance up to the large, vaulted living room, as well as an open stairway down to the basement. Located in the center of the house, the entry width limited the number of options for a stair configuration. The entry could compete with the vaulted garage but not be out of scale after entering the house.

Rockethorse Photography

A 24-foot-high vaulted entry rises above the large adjacent garage roof, and a 10-foot by 14-foot doorway between the entry and existing living area balances the volume inside. A small addition to the front of the house allows guests to move about freely without feeling confined. A dramatic 15-foot cascading globe light hung above the semi-circular basement stairway welcomes visitors. | QR

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