A “Matryoshka doll” is a Russian nesting doll where a series of figurines in smaller and smaller sizes live inside each other. This was the inspiration for the Matryoshka House by architect David Jameson who designed and built the house in Bethesda Maryland. The house consists of several volumes which are embedded in each other, and visually separated by the materials used to define the spaces, wood, concrete and glass.
The long thin structure features extensive glazing to bring natural light into the home, and to further the idea of the Matryoshka doll, Jameson has built a meditation room on the second floor. The room is a solitary white box with a frosted glass face that allows light in, but isolates whoever is seated inside. The meditation box acts as both the physical and spiritual center of the house. An alternating tread stair engages the participant to deliberately ascend the threshold to the meditation chamber and step inside closing off the outer world.
The meditation chamber is surrounded by a wooden container which encases the living areas of the house. This shell is in turn housed in stucco walls serving as a protective layer and grounding the house to the earth. The in-between spaces of the nested volumes are strategically sliced to allow the sun to project rays of light within the structure. By separating the three shells, the interstitial spaces allow light to become an architectural material that interacts with the interior space.
Architects: David Jameson Architect, Inc.
Location: Bethesda, Maryland, USA
Principal: David Jameson, FAIA
Project Architect: Matthew Jarvis
Contractor: Added Dimensions, Inc.
Project Area: 3,200 sqf
Project Year: 2007
Photographs: Paul Warchol Photography