Rachofsky House

An exquisitely sculptural house for an art collector provides a serene setting for a private museum.

The house is conceived as a succession of receding spatial layers. The metal-faced front elevation, which shields the main volume of living space, gives way on the north and west elevations to taut curtain walls that, together with the opaque front, inflect the interior layered space toward a small body of water to the southwest. The composition is completed by two sheets of water—a reflecting pool and a swimming pool—penetrating the podium at the rear of the house.


Two separate stairs provide access to the three floors of the house: an enclosed spiral stair to the south and an open switchback stair to the north. This contrast between private and public circulation is echoed consistently in the organization of the volumes within. The public stair opening off of the gallery foyer leads directly to the double-height living room on the first floor, while the cylindrical private stair ascends to the library on the second floor and the master suite on the floor above. Two separate volumes on the third floor, a suspended study and an exercise room, afford restful views of the living volume and the garden.

The project is anchored to the ground by a podium faced in black granite that extends both in front of and behind the main body of the building, allowing the white form of the house—supported by slender pilotis—to hover above the podium like an opaque plane, pierced by a number of discrete openings.