Plywood core runs through centre of Philadelphia townhouse by ISA

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Outside-In House by ISA

Plywood staircase extends up through centre of Philadelphia townhouse by ISA

American firm Interface Studio Architects has built an all-white townhouse in a gentrifying part of Philadelphia, with a plywood core running up its middle.

Outside-In House by ISA

Located in Kensington, just north of the city's Fishtown art district, the Outside-In House is one of a growing number of revitalisation projects in the area.

Outside-In House by ISA

"After 50 years of declining population, Philadelphia is experiencing a massive construction boom," said Interface Studio Architects (ISA). "While long-standing neighbourhoods have incrementally densified, areas of North Philadelphia – once characterised by overwhelming levels of vacancy – are now on the frontline of a rapid housing expansion."

Outside-In House by ISA

Built between two other townhouses as part of a row, the townhouse's white exterior makes it stand out from the older buildings in the area, which are covered in either vinyl siding or red brickwork. An inset deck on the top floor with a partially covered roof overlooks the street.

Outside-In House by ISA

Inside, ISA designed a birch plywood centrepiece for the three-storey home. "Outside-In House inverts typical expectations, placing value back inside the rowhouse... [and] is organised around an interior core," said the firm.

Outside-In House by ISA

The layout is mirrored on each floor, with three central pods stacked on top of each other. While offering structural support, the pods also house washrooms, storage areas and the kitchen on the various levels, connected by staircases tucked behind the core.

Outside-In House by ISA

Upon entering the home is a dining room and a kitchen with lacquered, white cabinets. Towards the back, a living room has access to an enclosed patio with black slate tiles and slatted wooden walls. On the second level is a flex-space with seating, and a bedroom overlooking the back garden.

Outside-In House by ISA

The entire top floor accommodates a master suite with a private bathroom and a walk-in closet. The open-air space also has a study area and a private deck with a semi-covered roof overlooking the street. Whitewashed hickory floors line the house throughout.

Outside-In House by ISA

ISA's other projects in its home city include an apartment complex in Francisville with alternating facades of metal, grey brick and wood.

More images and plans

Outside-In House by ISA
Floor plans
Outside-In House by ISA
Long section plan
Outside-In House by ISA
Core plan
Outside-In House by ISA
Concept
Outside-In House by ISA
Concept
Outside-In House by ISA
Outside-In House by ISA