Rachel Cope Evans House & Garden Shed

Garden Shed
Philadelphia, PA, 2011-2013

When the idea of a garden shed was introduced as part of fixing the entry sequence, it seemed both obvious and important that the new building should defer in every way to what already existed. Since standard building methods have changed, it was necessary to re-introduce the old techniques. Walls are solid masonry; doors, windows, their blind-frames and hardware where handmade. The design resides in the proportions and configurations of the elements: the short Tuscan order and the tray ceiling, bollards and the site walls, hydrant and potting bench.

It’s a simple little building, but people who are fond of architectural history may recognize various referents, including Asplund’s Woodland Chapel and Bramante’s project known as The House of Raphael, circa 1512.

See also the Rachel Cope Evans House Garden.

Geothermal Heating and Cooling

He wanted air conditioning; she would only allow it on the condition that it be seamlessly integrated into the historic building, inconspicuous, and silent.

The choice of a ground-source heat pump provided the most energy efficient and inconspicuous solution to the problem of air-conditioning. Because the heat exchange is by means of a well instead of a condenser and fan, there is no ‘outdoor unit’ to interfere with the enjoyment of the garden. In addition, the steady-state functioning of this sort of system makes the best use of the stone house’s inherently high thermal mass. Three separate units–one for each floor–were selected to best suit the client’s habits. Cast-bronze floor grilles, recessed to be flush with the hardwood, render the installation better-looking than the original.