The Margaret Esherick House Conservation was recognized with a Chestnut Hill Preservation Award at a ceremony 10 January 2016. The award presented by the Chestnut Hill Historical Society comes after the Esherick House was named to the inaugural class of the Chestnut Hill Architectural Hall of Fame in November 2015.
Now in its second year, the awards program recognizes outstanding care, restoration, and adaptive reuse of Chestnut Hill’s historic architecture. The Margaret Esherick House underwent a sensitive conservation and restoration effort on which k YODER design participated.
Exemplifying spatial clarity and the hallmarks of pure geometry and materiality that would come to define his larger commissions, Kahn’s Margaret Esherick House (1959-1961) represents one of only nine houses he designed. Characterized by clarity of form – Kahn’s early iteration of servant and served spaces – and materials including natural concrete and Apitong wood – the house is a 2,500-sf jewel box with walls of windows, built-in shelves, and reading nooks built for single bookseller Margaret Esherick. The house features the only intact kitchen in a private home by famed sculptor and woodworker Wharton Esherick, Margaret’s uncle. The Esherick House is an AIA Philadelphia Landmark Building (1992), listed on the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places, and an inaugural entry into Chestnut Hill’s Architectural Hall of Fame (2015).
The current owners and a design and construction team including kYd collaborated to ensure continued stewardship of the Esherick House as an important example of Kahn’s work and to improve its livability as a 21st century home. New interventions maintain the rigor of servant and served spaces, complement – rather than replicate – aesthetic details, and refine elements not intrinsic to Kahn’s vision.