5 Dana Street is an existing single-family house located between a historic, residential area in Cambridge and the commercial strip along Massachusetts Avenue. Built in the 1830s in the Greek Revival style, the house maintains the original layout of a Doric porch, a two-story volume organized along a central hall and stair. An “ell” extension on the back includes the kitchen and den on the ground floor and an additional bedroom and services on the second. With a setback of about 75 feet from Dana Street, the house has one of the largest front lawns in Middle Cambridge. Because of the large parcel size, there were no zoning constraints with respect to additional construction. The main constraints were related to the historic character of the house and the need to maintain the front of the house and its overall volume true to its original nineteenth-century character. The project contrasted the contemporary additions with the existing house and used these additions to highlight the otherwise subtle features and details of the Greek Revival house. The contrast argument won the approval of the historic commission. On the ground floor, the kitchen and den could not be accessed without passing through the main living room. On the second floor, the bedroom in the “ell” could not be accessed without going through a front bedroom. The solution entailed a double bypass operation, one on the ground level, extending the hallway all the way to the end of the house and linking directly to the den. On the second level, a cantilevered glass box (that serves as a day-room) extends the hallway to link to the back room. The old hallway is transformed into a linear master bathroom. Despite its large outdoor areas, the house did not have good connections to the outdoors. By relocating the guest bathroom to the side, the main hallway is extended directly to the back garden, which could now be seen upon entering through the front door. A long strip window links the den/kitchen area to the garden and the glass box looks over the back patio.
Dana Street House
Massachusetts - Cambridge, USA
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