Midway up a steeply sloped nine-acre site in Ridgefield, Connecticut, an impressive hillside estate sits on a man-made plateau. The English Country residence for a family of four drew design inspiration from the famous works of Sir Edwin Lutyens. Although the building is a home, the main feature is not the kitchen or family room, but rather the library, which was proclaimed by Wired Magazine as “the most amazing library in the world.” Unsurprisingly, the 3,500 square foot, three-story Library of Human Imagination served as a pivotal factor in the design of the residence. 38,000 books and significant historical artifacts fill the shelves, including original manuscripts dating to 1240 AD, a 1957 Russian Sputnik, and a rare Anastatic Declaration of Independence. Embodying the overall theme of the power of imagination, the seemingly floating platforms, stairwells, intertwining hallways and labyrinths were designed to create a library that feels like an M.C. Escher print. The room is brought to life by glass panels that line the circulation paths. Etched with historic scenes representing achievements in human intellect, the panels are illuminated with color-changing fiber optics synchronized to a musical soundtrack. The library served as the basis of an extensive TED Talk and has been featured in numerous publications, including Wired Magazine and Celebrated Living.
Photo credit: Andrew Moore, Nancy Hill, Steve Turner, Caryn B. Davis, Mark P. Finlay Architects