Montclaire, New Jersey
The Mid Mod House is a mid-century modern house designed by the acclaimed native New Jersey architect Arthur Rigolo in 1956. Located next to a nature reserve, the house is perched at the midpoint of a steeply sloping site offering panoramic views of the distant Manhattan skyline. The landscape been neglected over time and was overrun by invasive bamboo that required removal from a large portion of the property. Terrain Work created a new design for the entire landscape while Jeff Jordan Architects is restoring the original dwelling.
The design for the Mid Mod house draws on elements of this significant design period while remaining forward looking. The entry approach to the house is configured with a playful curving hedge of boxwood that lead visitors to the arrival and offering a counterpoint to the orthogonal geometry of the architecture. A copse of flowering redbud trees is positioned at the base of the house to create a sense of scale and add a burst of color in the spring. The outdoor courtyard located at the middle of the dwelling is designed to create seamless circulation while offering opportunities for outdoor living and entertainment. A long linear reflecting pool is incorporated next to the bay of windows at the family room to view the sky and reflect light into the house. Creating a visual anchor for the space is a pyramidal moss sculpture that can be viewed from all vantage points while inside the house or in the landscape. Finally, a row of columnar cypress trees add privacy to the landscape from the street above and recall the vegetation that was closely linked with the mid-century modern movement.