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Snake Hill Road

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1940–1946, Carl Koch. Snake Hill Rd.

Snake Hill Road is one of the most important early experiments in modernist domestic architecture in the Boston area. The work of Carl Koch, the community includes nine houses designed between 1940 and 1946. Koch sought economy of expression in the consistent use of natural materials and responded to the spatial needs of his clients, primarily professionals and artists. The wood-frame houses with slanting roofs and substantial areas of glass blend with the hillside, occasionally incorporating the ledge rock within the buildings. Koch built his own house at 77 Snake Hill Road. Located along a steep, winding road above Pleasant Street, the land adjoins the McLean Hospital property on two sides. The original owners agreed to a cooperative land-use scheme, in which each one owned a house plot and shared a common area for recreation. Koch trained at Harvard and worked briefly with Walter Gropius and Marcel Breuer, before forming his own practice in 1939. Widely published in architectural journals, the development established Koch as a leading force in modern domestic architecture in the Boston area.

Writing Credits

Keith N. Morgan


What's Nearby


Keith N. Morgan, "Snake Hill Road", [Belmont, Massachusetts], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of Massachusetts

Buildings of Massachusetts: Metropolitan Boston, Keith N. Morgan, with Richard M. Candee, Naomi Miller, Roger G. Reed, and contributors. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2009, 429-429.

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