Architects James Estes and Peter Twombly have described their nearly two decades of work as "quiet modernism." Their Rhode Island-based firm, Estes/Twombly Architects, builds modestly sized and geometrically precise houses that are unique to their New England locale without being style-driven. These award-winning homes reflect the area's strong architectural heritage— white cedar shingles, sliding barn doors, standing-seam metal roofs—without being derivative. Yankee Modern features ten elegant houses in Rhode Island and Connecticut that are moderate in scale and budget yet quietly large in ambition. For Estes/Twombly, each building site, whether responding to a view, a neighbor, or the terrain, requires a unique solution. Through careful integration of site and design, the architects create enough natural heat and ventilation to defy the rugged New England climate and extend the warm seasons.
Estes/Twombly's multiple award-winning Cyronak House on Block Island combines a modern, open plan—so suitable for the way most families live today—with time-tested local materials; sliding barn doors enclose a small courtyard entry and protect it from north winds, while to the south a small deck catches summer afternoon breezes. The pair of simple two-story blocks that comprise the Danevic House are turned at right angles and pulled apart to make outdoor spaces and take advantage of different views. A latticework tower joins them, acting as a transition between indoors and outdoors, the private and public realms. Sumptuous photography, charming drawings,and detailed plans fully illustrate Estes/Twombly's commonsense design solutions. Author William Morgans opening essay traces the firm's development and situates their work in both regional and historical contexts. Yankee Modern is a welcome return to the simple pleasures of modest, innovative architecture, sensitive to its site and clients' needs.
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William Morgan is an architectural historian and a photographer based in Providence, Rhode Island. He is the author of The Cape Cod Cottage.Review:
"The new book Yankee Modern: The Houses of Estes/Twombly (Princeton Architectural Press, $40) resembles the work of Estes/Twombly itself: thoughtful, modestly scaled, well-designed. Written by Providence, R.I.-based architectural historian William Morgan, the book showcases ten houses from the Newport, R.I., firm led by Jim Estes, FAIA, and Peter Twombly, AIA. It opens with an insightful foreword by New Hampshire writer Howard Mansfield, and from there segues into clearly written, photo-heavy analyses of each project." -- Meghan Drueding --Resident Architecture Online
"Yankee Modern, a new book released this fall by Princeton Architectural Press, focuses on the award-winning work of Estes/Twombly Atchitects in Newport, RI. The firm run by Jim Estes BArch `72 and Peter Twombly BArch `80 is known for designing contemporary New England houses that offer relatively modest and sustainable models for new construction." --Rhode Island School of Design Views
"Home decor fans are always looking for inspiration when it comes to thinking what you can do with your own humble abode, and many fans like to mimic a distinct style, especially when it comes to refurbishing old homes. I really liked this volume of home featurettes from the New Egland/ Rhode Island area of the eastern U.S. The photography and graphic design of the properties is chock full of inspiration, and shows how stately, and even sometimes simple home design boasts its own majesty. From restored hardwood, loft and block melange, open concept designs with lots of window light, this would be a great gift for the dreamy renovator." --Fred Rinne
"Will Morgan's newest book, Yankee Modern, published by Princeton Architectural Press, is on the work of Newport architects, Jim Estes and Peter Twombly. The book considers ten of their firm's lovely and thoughtful houses in Rhode Island and Connecticut." --Simple Pleasures
"William Morgan `66, an architectural historian and photographer, profiles 10 houses by Rhode Island-based architects James Estes and Peter Twombly and situates their work in regional and historical contexts in Yankee Modern: The Houses of Estes/Twombly" --Dartmouth Alumni Magazine
"Any library strong in architectural history needs Yankee Modern: The Houses of Estes/Twombly. It packs in nearly two decades of work produced by a Rhode Island-based firm that builds modestly sized and geometrically precise homes unique to New England locales. From sliding barn doors to standing-seam metal roofs, these are outstanding displays of originality and choice and powerful picks for any architectural collection." --The Midwest Book Review
"These not-so-big houses are enormous examples of ingenuity, efficiency and intelligence... Marvelous." -- New England Home, March/ April 2011
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