December 11, 2023

This project was selected as an Honor winner in the 2022 Residential Architect Design Awards, Design Detail category.

The detail and layering of the brick façade adds a much stronger and unique presence to this row house than other examples in the same typology. That this was originally a ‘spec house’ makes the result that much more inspiring.” — Juror Brian Loughlin, AIA

Initially conceived as a spec house designed by the locally based Moto Designshop, it comes as no surprise that Filigree House ultimately won the heart of its developer, now the primary resident. Distinguished by its experimentation with brick, the 4,500-square-foot project becomes a thoughtful addition to Philadelphia’s Graduate Hospital neighborhood.

The airy interior of the three-story, four-bedroom house is cocooned by an intricately layered brick screen, a defining element that gives the residence its name. Devised to shelter the house’s extensive glazing and knit the new structure neatly into Philadelphia’s traditional masonry vernacular, the brick façade rises two stories and is supported by a curved steel frame.

The four-layer screen also carefully balances light and dark while transforming brick into a contemporary and progressive expression. Each layer deploys a different bonding form, creating a rhythmic façade pattern that offers varying degrees of shade, shadow, and light. This sense of craft continues into the house with its custom kitchen and millwork, reminding visitors of the benefits that can result from exploration within traditional architectural prototypes.

Project: Filigree House, Philadelphia
Architect: Moto Designshop, Philadelphia. Adam Montalbano, AIA, managing director; Roman Torres, design director; Eric Oskey, AIA, technical director; Julie Morningstar, project architect
Structural Engineer: Orndorf & Assoc.
General Contractor: Rodriguez Design

Acoustical System: Acoustiblok quiet rock, rockwool, mass loaded vinyl
Appliances: Dacor
Bathroom/Kitchen Fixtures: Hansgrohe
Cabinets: Giorgi Kitchens
Countertops: Philadelphia Soapstone & Marble soapstone
Exterior Wall Systems: Brick
Flooring: Custom solid 3/4” x 9” herringbone white oak
Furniture: Eames, Knoll, and Herman Miller
HVAC: Bosch 21 Seer VFR
Lighting Control Systems: Decora
Lighting: Eurofase
Metal: Iron Studio
Paints and Finishes: Sherwin Williams Emerald
Plumbing and Water System: Uponor
Windows and Doors: Marvin


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