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Spa Creek House / Grid Architects

Spa Creek House / Grid Architects

© Brycen Fischer© Brycen Fischer© Brycen Fischer© Brycen Fischer+ 23

© Brycen Fischer
© Brycen Fischer

Text description provided by the architects. On a narrow, irregularly shaped lot overlooking Spa Creek in Annapolis, Maryland, this home slips between its neighbors and emerges buoyantly as it heads toward the edge of the creek. Avoiding traditional ornamentation, the house is formally abstract, modest in scale and simply dressed to resonate with the local maritime culture. Designed for a couple passionate about art and sailing, the house becomes a canvas for these two interests simultaneously.

Map - Site
Map – Site
Ground floor Plan
Ground floor Plan

The predominant focus of the house is on its promenade and connection to the waterfront. The desire for connectivity is as much about views as it is about physical access. To prepare the ground, the program elements are layered on the site with “private” support spaces arranged towards the street and along the property lines towards the land. The more “public” living spaces are scattered closer to the water. The functional distinction is made schematically readable by the mass strategy and amplified by the contrast of the materials.

© Brycen Fischer
© Brycen Fischer

The living support spaces are tightly packed into one of the two platonic metal boxes and the living spaces are associated with a stepped wooden volume, which hovers above the living room and projects towards the water. The contrast between these complementary volumes is amplified by the subtle angle at which the wooden box moves to follow the property line, skirting the southern edge of the land. This allows the living spaces on both levels – the downstairs living room and the upstairs master bedroom – to open wide, making them spatially dynamic.

© Brycen Fischer
© Brycen Fischer
© Brycen Fischer
© Brycen Fischer
© Brycen Fischer
© Brycen Fischer

They seem to free themselves from the constraints of the narrow lot. Adding to this thrust towards the stream, the volume of the house literally frees itself from the height constraints defined by the local zoning. This allows the roof of the wooden box to rise until the main chamber achieves a high vertical proportion. Here, the walk ends on a covered balcony with sweeping views down the creek to historic Annapolis.

© Brycen Fischer
© Brycen Fischer

The simple metal boxes containing the support spaces are composed on site in such a way that one passes through them when entering the house – as if through a gap in the edge of the street. The entrance is punctuated by a raw steel canopy that connects the two boxes. The solidity of the larger volume, which runs along the northern edge of the lot, erodes as it passes from the pantry to the kitchen, then to the dining room, before opening up dramatically on an outdoor terrace. The upper floor houses the guest suite, laundry room and master bathroom.

© Brycen Fischer
© Brycen Fischer
© Brycen Fischer
© Brycen Fischer

The smaller of the two volumes, located to the south, contains a garage which accommodates two cars parked in tandem. This configuration minimizes the width of the garage because it faces the street. At the far end of the garage, as it slips under the wooden volume, is an ornamental staircase that is both carved into the garage volume and cantilevered into the living room. The staircase itself creates a seam between ‘public’ and ‘private’, both horizontally and vertically, perforating the simple south facade to allow the landing to peak, facilitating unique views over the creek.

© Brycen Fischer
© Brycen Fischer