Residential Design

Vol 4, 2017

A business-to-business magazine focused on the collaborative process and talented work of residential architects and custom homebuilders.

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Photos: Mark Woods Photography Left and below left: Courtyard House on a River is kept intentionally small to minimize intrusion on the site. Dark cladding harkens to Rob's fellowship in Norway and the traditional Scandinavian buildings he toured while there. ago. It was a plan for a winery building his forward-thinking father had wanted to construct on their scenic riverfront prop- erty on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. At the time, just a few residents had ventured to grow wine grapes in the region known best for chicken farming. Sadly, a finan- cial reversal caused his parents to lose the property and the winery was never built. As Rob stood on the precipice of losing his father, it occurred to him that he might direct his thoughts and emotions into a new building designed for the former family property—this one conceived as a purely conceptual project but with the rigor of a client-driven commission. The Chapel and Columbarium followed. "What I decided to do, was have a conversation with my father in a way I could not in life," Rob explains. "I decided to design a new building adjacent to the winery, but the rule was that we couldn't change anything about the winery." The theoretical Chapel and Columbar- ium became an actual crucible for Rob's feelings of loss. "It was an exploration about what memory means," he says. "And it opened up interesting conversa- tions about the role of memory in all of our lives, and in my own place as an architect. After we had just finished building the chapel to a high degree of resolution (we knew all the materials and how the materi- als would work), my father passed away." The chapel's roof is covered in black pine tar like the churches in Norway. While in graduate architecture school at the University of Washington, Rob spent time in Norway on a research scholarship, assisting on some projects for architect Einar Jarmund (who became a mentor) and traveling extensively throughout Scandinavia. Both experiences continue to influence his conceptual and constructed work, most obviously manifesting in his fondness for dark exteriors on buildings, perhaps ahead of the current vogue. "The darkness of those buildings has always been very powerful to me. But I'm not going to say that's why all our buildings are black—I'm not interested in validating all of these things," says Rob. With the project complete, after a fash- ion, the architect continued to follow life's course and settled on his next allegorical project, Memory House for a Widow. It imagines a duo of buildings at the water's VOL. 4, 2017 RESIDENTIALDESIGNMAGAZINE.COM 19

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