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Klotz House

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1969, Charles Moore. 10 North Bottom Ridge

The Klotz House is probably the single most important modernist house built in Rhode Island during the 1960s. It was the first house on the East Coast by Charles Moore, designed before he left the West Coast for an interval as dean of the School of Architecture at Yale. At that time Moore and his partners had gained national attention for a community of shedroofed, vertical-boarded houses at Sea Ranch, a seaside development north of San Francisco, and important as a key venture in what became a popular mode of combining forms from traditional wooden vernacular building with those from modern architecture. The Klotz House takes its cue from the rocky outcropping on which it fits. A two-story polygonal shape in vertical boarding, more drastically free-form than Moore's earlier work, it is fitted to its site, with angles so gentle as to seem more curved than angular, but slashed here and there by sharp, angular cuts. At one end, the umbrella-shaped roof (again composed of angles, but so many and so gentle as to seem curved) projects on attenuated columns to create a dramatic—possibly over-dramatic—shelter into which broad, strata-like stairs wind and narrow up to the entrance terrace. Windows seemingly placed at random and randomly sized are aimed at views of woods and distant water all around.

Writing Credits

William H. Jordy et al.


What's Nearby


William H. Jordy et al., "Klotz House", [Westerly, Rhode Island], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Buildings of Rhode Island, William H. Jordy, with Ronald J. Onorato and William McKenzie Woodward. New York: Oxford University Press, 2004, 409-409.

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