Stretto House Addition

Adding onto an Icon


Stretto House Addition

The Stretto House, designed by Steven Holl and completed in 1992, rather quickly became an iconic part of the architectural world.

The original house consists of a lyrical roofscape sheltering the living spaces, and four concrete block bars sheltering the utilitarian spaces. This composition metaphorically echoes a creek paralleling the house that flows over a series of concrete spillways. The alternating light and heavy construction also evokes the musical form know as stretto.

The sprawling one-bedroom house was sold a few years ago to a young couple with children. Requiring the addition of three bedrooms and three screen porches, they turned to Dallas architect Max Levy FAIA who saw the original house through construction on behalf of Steven Holl’s office.

How does one add on to an architectural tour de force? It was decided to do so quietly and at a distance. The addition is “stem mounted” to the house by a long, slender glazed gallery and is cut into a slope to remain low and visually defer to the expressive house. Being distant from the creek the addition’s roof does not repeat the metaphor of water flowing over spillways. A series of cylindrical glass light monitors, each equipped with a “light sail” shading device, becomes the lyrical element.

The house’s original palette of materials is repeated in the addition: concrete block, sanded 3/16” aluminum plate, limestone paving, lead-coated copper flashing, steel windows, and FSB hardware. In terms of sustainability each bedroom opens broadly to its own screen porch; manually operated revolving light monitor shades admit sunlight in the winter and omit sunlight in the summer; and because the building is embedded into a slope, roughly half its exterior walls are insulated by the earth. During weather extremes the building is conditioned by a geothermal HVAC system.

FSB 1076 Levers were used on all the interior and exterior doors at the addition to the Stretto House in 6204 Satin Stainless Steel finish.

ARCHITECT: Max Levy, FAIA, principal; Matt Morris and Tom Manganiello, Max Levy Architect, Dallas
LIGHTING DESIGN: Byrd Waters Design
PHOTOGRAPHY: Charles Davis Smith


Photos: Charles David Smith


Stretto House

Dallas, TX USA