It is hard to say just how many floors dynamic new split-level homes like this really have, but pictures do a much better job than plans at showing the many layers of such designs. Technically the facade is three-stories tall, but at every turn the building seems to fracture in two – over and over again.
Contemporary staircases are the common thread that connects each floor, beautifully articulate wood surfaces framed by black steel and winding from each split-level, polished-concrete surface to the next in organic freedom from rigorous patterns. It looks almost like a warehouse remodel but is, in fact, a brand new building designed by Qb architects (and photographed by by Halkin).
Rooms are tucked into the spaces between, alternating between private bedroom and public living spaces. The modern and moving interior design strategy culminates in an exterior roof-top deck, though even this fits the rhythm of the other inside floors and take up only part of the available space with raised windows to look back into the room interiors below.
The exterior curves to to complete the corner on which the residence sits, engaging in a back-and-forth play with its surroundings using local brick (except in black rather than brown or red) and building heights but differing in its structural and stylistic details, from the nature and size to the scale of its entryway and window openings.
More from the architects
“Sited on a vacant corner in the Northern Liberties section of Philadelphia, this house for a growing family stitches itself into the neighborhood by responding to local cues. Curved brick corners negotiate the irregular street grid, while the cadence of typical rowhouses and a palette of brick volumes and stone bases are translated into a new vocabulary.”
About QB3 Design Philadelphia
“Qb (i.e., cube) is an award-winning Philadelphia design studio founded in 2001, specializing in architecture, interior design, and design-build services for select projects. Led by Kevin Angstadt, Patrycja Doniewski, and Stephen Mileto, our process transcends problem solving and style by creating spaces that are tailored to the needs of our clients. Each project reveals the essence of place, material, and program and conveys a sense of simplicity and permanence.”