The Stonington Residence is a recently renovated and restored historic house sited between 300 feet of waterfront and a large meadow in Stonington, Connecticut. While the house is sited on a small stone ledge, the site’s additional rock outcrops help organize outdoor spaces, which include a studio, garage, pool, and outdoor patios.
The original home was designed during World War II (1945) by architect John Lincoln, former senior architect for the Navy at Quonset Point and professor of architecture at the Rhode Island School of Design. Frank Lloyd Wright’s influence on the architect is evident in Lincoln’s use of stone, glass corner windows and a flat roof. Due to the nature of the materials and construction methods used on the original building, the design process was akin to an archeological investigation, revealing the home’s unique construction and incorporating its materials and methods into a new design.
The original house had five bedrooms, three bathrooms, a library, a laboratory, and three fireplaces, all built along a granite wall that runs through the center of the house. This wall remains as a primary organizing device and functions as a stabilizing center around which new construction produces entryways and circulation through the home. In addition to the stone wall, other materials, such as blackened steel and plywood, provide links between public and private programs. Finally, a rectangular second floor volume encapsulates the primary bedroom suites and is wrapped in a corrugated metal envelope that directs views from the porches while contrasting with the natural stone of the first floor exterior.
The use of concealed rooftop solar panels and a geothermal system are emblematic of the sensitivity with which the architect, client, and collaborators approached the entire project. Historically, Quonset was one of the first to use radiant heating, and his commitment to innovative thinking and technology was carried forward in the restoration. Part archaeology, part architecture, the team faced a myriad of challenges, as the unique details and characteristics of the house and site were revealed and incorporated into a new design.
Landscape architect: Reed Hilderbrand
Photography by © David Sundberg / Esto