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Louis Kahn’s Margaret Esherick House Wins National Modernism Award

It was recognized for its recent renovations

One of Louis Kahn’s residential masterpieces was just awarded a Modernism in America Award by Docomomo, the American chapter of the international nonprofit committed to protecting and conserving modern architecture worldwide.

The Margaret Esherick House in Chestnut Hill received a Citation of Merit award in recognition of its recent restoration that involved a large team of local designers, preservationists, and architects. The jury writes:

The jury awards a Citation of Merit for the conservation of Louis I. Kahn’s Margaret Esherick House. The jury commented, "a rare residence by the master architect Louis I. Kahn, this house has been restored by owners who painstakingly sought to have the genius of Kahn shape their approach to the restoration. Extraordinary sensitivity to the original details included the services of a paint conservator; restoration of the idiosyncratic, Wharton Esherick designed, original kitchen, long outdated, and made useful by today’s standards by adding contemporary components in an adjacent utility area; and cleverly adapting the spirit of the character-giving shutters during the winter months, allowing a sustainable future for the house."

This marks the second award the restoration project has received this month. In early June the house was awarded a 2016 Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia’s Preservation Achievement Award.

The current owners, Paul Savidge and Daniel Macey, bought the iconic home in 2014 for $900,000 after it sat on the market for at least two years and underwent multiple pricechops. Despite its architectural significance, the one-bedroom stat made it hard to sell.

Kahn designed the home for Margaret Esherick in 1959. It’s a 2,500-square-foot concrete-and-stucco rectangle, with a flat roof and a wall of windows in the two-story living room.

To bring the home into the 21st century while maintaining its architectural integrity, Savidge and Macey worked with k YODER design, Louise Cohen, Materials Conservation, William Whitaker, curator and collections manager of the Architectural Archives of the University of Pennsylvania School of Design, Paul Eisenhauer, former executive director of the Wharton Esherick Museum, Keast & Hood, Hansel Contractors, Inc., AV Environments, The Marble Restoration Company (Soapstone), and LaFont Studio.

Take a tour of the renovated property below.

  • All Louis Kahn Coverage [Curbed Philly]
  • Docomomo announces winners of 2016 Modernism in America Awards [Curbed]