Serge Chermayeff’s House Expansion

July 5th, 2018

This is the house that the architect Serge Chermayeff designed for himself, near the University of New Haven, where he taught for some years.

The building is divided in two kind of spaces: a long and narrow corridor, the serving space, that leads to the three main spaces of the house: the living room, the bedroom and a small dependance for guests.

These three spaces, separated from each other and connected to the corridor, always keep a visive contact among themselves through the aligned glass windows.

The disposition of the main spaces creates two patios in the garden, a green interval between the rooms, that can be admired thanks to the big sliding windows we mentioned before.

The garden, which relates with the house, adds quality to the main spaces, because it’s always visible thanks to the aligned windows, that underline a continuous visive contact among the spaces.

The house is one floor height, except for the living room, that has a double volume on the roof portion which faces the garden, with a serie of windows that allow a diffuse light to enter the space and light what, in architect’s opinion, was the heart of the house.

This space closes itself towards the outside through a high fence and the absence of glass doors or windows on all the sides, except the ones facing the garden.

To remedy the illumination problems in the corridor and its related spaces, Chermayeff puts some small square skylight over the kitchen – filter between the guests and hosts’s spaces – and the two bathrooms.

The singular “comb-shape” builds a space that is very introvert and wants to look only at itself, precluding everything that is external to this system.


Our project consists of an extension of our assigned case study, which is Architect Chermayeff’s house, in New Haven.

We decided to realize a workspace and exhibition hall, that was a lacking space in the house.

The main feature of this projects is his relationship between light and structure and the relationship with the outside, as is in the existing house thought the aligned windows.

We have used these big vertical skylight, the one in front of the other, that characterize the main section, to underline the tables dedicated for working and the entrance room, which is designed as a “calling card” for the architect, a place where he can exhibit his works, visible even from the outside thanks to the connection created with the glass window.

The interior space communicates with the garden through two small patios, the first in the entrance and the second at the bottom of the building. When the pivoting windows are opened, interior and exterior become a single space, to recreate the important union between architecture and context.

The interior space is very simple, long and narrow, closed towards the outside except for the windows we talked about before, because we wanted the light to enter most from the roof through the skylights.

The west side leans on the existing fence, which was inclined. This inclination led us to identify a visual cone, that is narrow at the entrance and enlarges towards the glass windows at the south side, giving the idea of a dilated space, despite his small size.

Comments are closed.