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The Esherick house was commissioned by Margaret Esherick, niece of famed Philadelphia sculptor Wharton Esherick (1887–1970). The house includes a one of a kind, custom kitchen by Wharton Esherick, Kahn and Wharton Esherick were close friends and had worked together in Kahn’s design of Esherick’s studio just outside Philadelphia.
Located in the Chestnut Hill area of Philadelphia, 90 minutes from Manhattan, the Esherick house received the honour of a Landmark Building Award from the American Institute of Architects, Philadelphia chapter in 1992.
Situated at a perfect angle on a property measuring more than half an acre, the house has a striking presence. The approach features a planar composition with a textured mortar finish bisected by a strong vertical chimney, while keyhole windows framed with Apitong and placed at irregular intervals punctuate the front facade. The floor plan reveals Kahn’s refined design of two symmetrical side-by-side rectangles that allow for both openness and structural clarity. Kahn’s use of pure geometry in the facades and interior spaces speaks to archetypal references that Kahn drew on throughout his body of work.
The cubic layout of the interior of the two-story house is accented by beautiful Apitong wood and crisp textured white walls. Light streams in the floor-to-ceiling windows, reflecting and refracting throughout the open plan. As the house was designed for a book lover, the living room incorporates nearly ceiling high built-in bookcases within an impressive double-height space saturated with the natural light. The dining room overlooks the large private backyard that shares an edge with a pastoral park, while the expansive bedroom and original walk-in closet mirror the craftsmanship and tranquillity of the house.