Hermitage Residence by Studio Dwell Architects

The Hermitage Residence is a private house located in the Bucktown neighborhood of Chicago, embracing a corner site surrounded by an eclectic assortment of other homes and businesses, and a large church across the street. The owners, a professional couple, asked for a house that would accommodate their family and their desire for privacy with abundant natural light.


The solution started with a dark zinc clad rectangular volume that was craved to reveal natural light incisions and lighter materials. Emphasis was made on establishing illumination that was expansive within the house.

In order to provide a buffer from the busy street corner to the home, a deep landscaped relief region was established by carving back the first floor of the residence. This was further expressed by cladding these areas with a lighter brick, producing a lighter volume supporting a heavier cantilevered volume above. This landscaped area is comprised of varying height raised planters and on grade planting that together provide sustainable permeable surfaces for rainwater immersion.

The deeply recessed entry sequence forms a transitional passage from the exterior to the interior, with glimpse into the residence along the way.

The first floor is primarily public quarters combined with a private guest bedroom suite that is positioned in the front of the house. This arrangement pulls the public spaces off the street front and allows the family to fulling enjoy the hidden yard toward the inside. The first floor public spaces extend as two story volumes that extend the volumes and allow the windows to share natural light throughout.

Photography courtesy of Studio Dwell Architects

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- by Matt Watts

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