House Equanimity by Joe Biondo


Here are some photos of a blue striped house in Northampton, USA, by Pennsylvanian architect Joe Biondo.

Called House Equanimity, the residence has a concrete base topped by a wooden frame and blue concrete panels, referencing the concrete industry local to the area.

Completed in 2005, the two-storey building emerges from the hillside and has a loggia at each end.

Here's some more information from Joe Biondo:


House Equanimity
Northampton, Pennsylvania

Situated in a typical nondescript subdivision of Eastern Pennsylvania, this home is surrounded by other single-family houses of all shapes and sizes, redolent with clichés and conventions which can be just as easily elsewhere as here.

For that reason it is the surrounding landscape and history of the region that largely determines the design. The primary building materials, site poured concrete and various concrete products, pay respect to the history of Northampton – the birthplace of American Portland Cement.

Permanently embedded into the landscape of Northampton and now standing proudly in ruin, are the industrial artifacts which record the history of cement making. Kilns which were used to melt the rock quarried here, developed over time.

The initial Dome kilns were inefficient and gave way to the Schoefer kilns which could operate continuously. Within a decade, the Schoefer kilns were replaced with rotary kilns whose technology remains in existence.

Today’s modern cement plant stands as a strong form consisting of framed boxes perched atop a series of concrete monoliths which loom in the partially monotonous and chaotic surroundings that are suburbia. These industrial machines, along with the material they produce, greatly influence the design of this home.

The house is not a solitary cube that might have been sited anywhere, but one which penetrates into the landscape and becomes one with it. This single-family, three bedroom home deviates in scale and appearance from the neighboring houses.

In fact it seems closer in spirit to the forest and topography it nestles within. The main living area, whose face is half buried into the landscape, offers no views to the east except that of its walled courtyard. It is to be a peaceful place, a kind of oasis sheltered from sound and views of the subdivision thus creating an outdoor room that opens to the sky.

The interior space is open, intimate, and neutral with domestic objects articulated as furnishings placed within. Hues of blue skin echo the mottled limestone quarried here.

The base of the home is constructed of concrete. This seemingly unnatural mixture of fluid stone and steel reinforcement is quite sufficiently different from historical materials. However, it is a material that offers the rough, tactile charm that often emanate from the irregularities of mature buildings.

Deliberately crude in its execution, the concrete monolith is treated as an existing condition, or ruin, whose subsequent wood-framed, cementitious clad boxes are carefully inserted. The ruin’s powerful presence is derived from its material qualities and from the way it is linked to the ground. It penetrates into the earth and engages a platform which becomes clearly defined as the topography falls away.

The planted concrete ruin looks as though it is going to be in the location it has found for itself for a long time. Unlike its surrounding production housing counterparts, it is not even thinking of moving away from the place it occupies and defines by its very existence.

The concrete is allowed to age, become rough and perhaps slowly erode.

The intangible dimension of time could then be recorded by the traces left on the walls. Eventually, gravel will be exposed and particles of dirt, algae, and moss will take hold

This home is an architecture that involves all the senses. The surfaces and details demand to be felt.

The spaces and special sequences require to be grasped by the senses that apprehend gravity, driving forces, and temperature.

Details involving human contact such as entrance areas, steps, handles and hand rails are treated with particular care.

The restricted tolerances of construction elegantly contrasts with the random nature of the organic while the massing, textures, and unevenness of weathering surfaces transmit similar sensations to the landscape.

Posted on Saturday January 9th 2010 at 11:18 am by Natasha Lyons. Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • kudz

    this house is so cool, but that 1st image was so meh i almost ignored the post…dezeen, step ur 1st image game up.

  • Miguel


    I just don’t understand why you rarely see a television inside this houses! :)

  • rodger

    nice project on the inside, especially the living room. it has clearly defined volumes, nice detailing and use of materials. the space has warmth and intimacy. a quality not easily achieved by most architects these days… that said, the blue exterior is less successful with a visually confusing and unnecessary color play

  • Q

    great creation of space, so many scenaries, great architecture, humane architecture

  • LB

    Not a fan of the house but the lawn is a source of envy.

  • yael

    why in blue?????

  • Rodger is absolutely right .The interiors are very pleasing and ‘ feel ‘ very comfortable. The blue exterior is overwhelming and intrusive. It does the otherwise successful architecture a disservice .
    I would have loved to see some Richard Schultz 1966 outdoor furniture on the terraces especially that it is made in Pennsylvania .

  • gem

    re: why no TV? Hmmm, perhaps not everyone wants to own a TV? I know many who opt not to own one preferring other media or activities instead.

  • KJS

    “The house is not a solitary cube that might have been sited anywhere, but one which penetrates into the landscape and becomes one with it.”

    Oh, please. Digging a bit into the hillside doesn’t make this project any more special. That said, I agree with some of the comments above: successful interior, not so successful exterior.

  • Evan

    Feels like Charles and Ray Eames’ house.

  • William

    bet there’s huge plasma tv behind sliding wood wall.. to watch design porn