Hisenaj House

Roof  Detail  Hisenaj  House Watchung  Cliffs  NJ   USA   2001

An existing house built in the fifties had to be demolished and removed from the
purchased site.
A new, larger, contemporary house is to be built on exactly the same site.
Various geological tests need to be prepared . The design of the new house demands
in fact , an accurate structural analysis for all foundations due to the existing impervious
configuration of all grounds of this otherwise exceptional hill top site.
The house is built on three levels, a conscious decision on our part to lift all the house
activities above the ground and have them be in contact with the offered void of the
open valley.
The setting of the house is spectacular. Through the house, from any point or location
one can observe the distant details of the New Jersey western communities and natural
green areas. From the second floor the skyline of downtown Manhattan is visible in the
far distance.
The house meets the limited available ground with authority and confirms its direct
relation to the public street of Johnston Drive. One can enter into the garage at the same
level of the street avoiding other conventional solutions and the typical view of a pool of
cars in front of the house.

Internally at ground level a living, dining room with an open kitchen, a family room with
fireplace. On the second floor, six bedrooms all with a direct access to a large common
balcony that offers from the above a spectacular view of the N.J hinterland , with direct
sun light and interior cross ventilation. Front and rear yards and terraces for family’s
recreation and guests entertainment.
Family game room and bar, storage and mechanical room in the third lowest floor.

The Owners have a large family The program had to take in consideration the differences
in age and life style of the members of the family .
A private entrance allows the four children to have direct access to their sleeping quarter.
The privacy of the single rooms offers a spectacular personal view of the site together

with the needed interior separation from all other , more public spaces of the house.
An elevated new horizon is established by the levels of the two main floors resulting
in a strong alignment with the ridge of the hill. Engineered lumber gives strength to
the construction. The stucco finish adds abstraction to the overall volume of the house
avoiding any stylistic references to other N.J architectural typologies. The house seems
to have conceptually landed on the site and yet it participates to it and celebrates its
hidden potential. The street facade is visually selective , it only shows the public areas
of the house used during the day offering to the viewer a sense of residential privacy that
does not offend. Once in the interior of the house one discovers light, an explosion of it.
The unique panorama offered by the framing of the large windows captures your
senses giving you an inner satisfaction and an achieved sense of spatial order at various
dimensional scales.

480 Johnston Drive  Watchung NJ  USA
Research Proposal
Scope of Services
Chief Designer
Construction Cost
Gross Floor Area
7,000 SF