Vincent T. MacDermot, Architect

Staten Island, New York

Jury Comments

"This entry starts from the outside form of the 'Sphinx' and works to the inside."

The design act of fitting the program into the shape is done with great cleverness and skill. It is reminiscent of something Charles Moore might do.

We salute the fact that someone took the time to do this and to think it through, both in external expression and plan. This project makes us smile when we look at it, and architectural seldom does that - it has an exhuberance about it.

The notion of humor in archtecture often gets lost, and it was a delight to see this one throroughly worked out, with a touch of whimsy."

- The Jury

Susan Bradford, Senior Editor, Design, Builder
Steve Greenhut, Associate Building Editor, Better Homes and Gardens
James Murphy, FAIA, Senior Editor, Progressive Architecture
Ron Galla, President Galla Construction
Thomas L. Bosworth FAIA, Professor, University of Washington, School of Architecture


American Plywood Association
Better Homes and Gardens
Progressive Architecture


The original concept of making a house in the shape of a man came from seeing a large stone sculpture called 'Ecce Homo' (Only Human)at Coventry Cathedral in England.

The sculpture was architectural and I thought of doing a building in a shape similar to a standing man.

When I returned home to Staten Island, New York I traveled by Staten Island Ferry back and forth to school. I noticed a man seated on a low bench. This seemed to create the possibility of more interior space so I used that shape.

The overall idea is that a family inhabits a building in the same way the spirit inhabits a body.

In order to translate the idea into a definite design I entered the competition of Innovations In Housing,and developed the house for a program of a three bedroom single family house in which the ground floor contains an entrance, a living room and a small kitchen.

The second floor contained two bedrooms and a bathroom, the third floor contained the Master Bedroom.