A rare residential commission for the renowned Philadelphia architecture firm Mitchell/Giurgola Associates, the Dorothy Shipley White house is among the most distinctive of Chestnut Hill’s noteworthy residences. It was constructed in 1963 and reinforced the architects’ reputation as major figures in the Philadelphia School that influenced modern architecture in the latter half of the twentieth century. In October, a coalition led by the Chestnut Hill Conservancy succeeded in adding the home to the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places.
The building’s design features flat rooflines, smooth wall surfaces, and an asymmetrical profile that shifts when viewed from different angles. Clerestory windows light the two-story spine, and the prow-like diagonal corners of the master bedroom and study are designed to catch the light. The residence shares prominence with Louis Kahn’s Margaret Esherick House and Robert Venturi’s Vanna Venturi House, both of which are now also protected.