Friday, August 14, 2015


The Owners of this home love to cook, and their first requirement was a "cook's kitchen" as the centerpiece of the house.  In addition, they have a strong color preference for black and white. Thus the concept of “salt and pepper” was developed as an inspiration for the design palette. The Owners are also art collectors, so the display of art in the house was another critical component.  White walls with black framing elements became a logical extension of the concept. 

The Owners were also looking for a place of calm and relaxation, with the flexibility to transform into an entertainment space for their many gatherings. The need to open up the traditional walled-in rowhouse became apparent.  The rear second floor was removed to allow for a double-height wall of windows and sliding doors which connects the 2-story living space to the new rear garden.  As a gesture to the Owners' love of art, steel was used as both a structural and decorative element in the house and garden. "Pops" of color sprinkled in to add some spice to the composition.  

Monday, August 10, 2015

Carmen grew up and lived her formative years in Puerto Rico. As a young woman she moved to the United States to pursue a career. After more than 30 years of traveling and living away from Puerto Rico, Carmen decided she wanted her DC row house to be reminiscent of her island home.
The architects responded with four key strategies:  Color, Light, and Materiality.

COLOR:  Colors used are traditional to Puerto Rico, and the composition acts as a 3-dimensional collage within the house.  The east wall is lined with large sculptural storage elements painted orange and yellow. Other elements are neutral black to contrast the rich colors. The west wall is lined with colorful artwork from Carmen’s collection of local and island artists.

LIGHT:  Most of the interior walls were removed and large windows placed on both levels of the rear facade, accentuating a double height space. A center skylight was enlarged and the stairs designed w/ open risers. Casement windows replaced all the original double hung windows, and light colors highlight surrounding ceilings and walls.

MATERIALITY:  The living space flooring is white porcelain tile, while the second floor is a dark bamboo. The wood “mampara” screen at the stairs is a white-washed poplar, and is framed with blackened steel. The poplar reappears on the second level and at the rear “bridge,” terminating at the Juliette balcony.  Pendant lights are fabricated with bamboo and coated papers.


Thursday, April 9, 2015

Washington DC 2050 - KUBE's proposal selected for publication in WASHINGTONIAN magazine -April 2015

For the People

Washington DC is a city of politics and high-security buildings that are not accessible to everyday Americans.  In our imagined future, the barriers that separate our political leaders from their surroundings are removed, and the space occupied by these untouchable buildings are given to the People.  This proposal allows the public to occupy and enjoy these previously off-limits zones.

Our solution is the creation of steel frame “scaffold” prototype superstructures that wrap these iconic buildings, creating usable spaces around and above them, in addition to serving as frames to emphasize the isolation of these government buildings.  The scaffolds support many different activities, including micro-housing, shopping, suspended park areas, and urban farming.  The frame around the White house suspends a digital screen toward Lafayette Park for use during demonstrations and outdoor movie nights.  The Capitol frame contains meeting rooms and public spaces on the vertical face, and a fountain on top surrounding the turret of the Capitol dome, which transforms into an ice rink in the winter.  A helipad over the White House allows the President to arrive and be greeted by crowds of people enjoying the White House suspended park. 

The new superstructures are lightweight, open, and airy, in contrast to the heavy masonry structures they frame.  They resemble the scaffolding that has been seen in recent years on monuments and government buildings in DC, and in this design they have a future use: to provide a framework for change and growth on these previously static sites.  Activities can be “plugged in” as modules, and modified over the years as needs change.  We imagine a network of these new superstructures around many of the major high-security buildings in Washington, promoting interaction, openness, and shared dialogue.  They will become new iconic forms on the Washington landscape – but rather than illustrating exclusion from the political process, they are “for the people” to use and enjoy. 
The capital building : Winter park around rotunda

page from Washingtonian magazine

Capital building framed by super strucuture : offices and commercial spaces
Capital building aireal view

The White House : Super screen for demonstrations and entertainment

Top of White House : public park - swimming - piknics

View of White House from above

Sunday, February 22, 2015

KARR pad : apartment for a young bachelor

 KARR pad  : apartment for a young bachelor 
This basement apartment is located in the family home of the young owner, who wished to create his own “bachelor pad” separate from his parent’s row house above. He is an avid cook, and frequently holds dinner parties and entertains, so a large kitchen open to the rest of the space was a priority. 

In order to transform the dark low basement into a “singles” home, extensive digging and underpinning were required, resulting in 9’ ceilings. New windows and LED strips were added for additional light and atmosphere. The apt was divided longitudinally into two zones, one more fluid for cooking and lounging (kitchen and living); the other more formal, defined by green storage “cubes”  (entry, dining, and den ) 

Durable materials were selected for longevity, and include exposed and painted brick and steel, heated concrete floors, and viroc panels. Splashes of color (green and red) play against the mostly neutral black and white palette.