A renovation of a three-story I. M. Pei rowhome in Philadelphia. Sited at the foot of the Society Hill Towers and designed in the 1950s, the Society Hill Townhouses were initially designed to bridge the gap between the 18th-century brick rowhomes and the dramatic concrete towers. The result was an expressive and tactile collection of homes built for city living. After layer upon layer of updates to the house, we were tasked with distilling the house back to its original vision while incorporating functional upgrades for a family living in the city.

A new breakfast nook is an integral part of the entry sequence with as well as an impromptu work area.

Full-width glass sliders provide a connection to the outdoors in the dining room.

Throughout the interior, a natural material palette fades into the more sculptural spaces and brings moody textures in more intimate rooms.

The house is organized around a four-story spiraling steel staircase, a defining feature of the original house. This became the programmatic anchor for the reimagined home, with living areas located around this central core.

An original brick fireplace is the centerpiece of the second floor living room.

The oculus on the third floor drenches the stairwell with diffused light

White oak paneling brings warmth to the lower level entertainment area.

Project Credits

Year: 2021
Project Team: Mario Gentile, Tim Barnes, Zhefeng Liu


Restoring A Landmark | Philadelphia Inquirer