John S. Preston Residence, Jordan Street, W.B. Wiener Arch., 1936.
Designed in 1934 by noted architect William Wiener Sr., the John S. Preston Residence is the first house Wiener designed in the modern idiom after his 1927 tour of Europe to study the progressive work of Mies van der Rohe and Le Corbusier.
Located in Highland, the aesthetic of the house is radically different from traditional houses in the area. Despite its appearance, it was built using the accepted wood-framing methods of the period.
The unadorned white cubic form, asymmetrical facade, flat roof and expressive corner windows are modernist elements that strongly identify the building’s European heritage. However, the floor plan of the one-bedroom house was a conventional collection of rooms and did not reflect the primary tenet of modernism, the Free Plan, thereby creating a disconnect between facade and plan.
Due to neglect, the house was acquired by architect Christopher Coe in an advanced stage of deterioration. In 2018, he moved the home from Jordan Street to College Street and began renovations.
The project’s two major goals are a faithful restoration of the facades to their original appearance and the respectful addition of new program components to enhance the house’s livability and ensure its longevity.
Coe will discuss the restoration process at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 17 at the HRA Winter General Membership meeting at Noel United Methodist Church, 520 Herndon St.
The talk is open to the public.