The spirit of exploration and invention, led by philosophy, can be present in an office. Ideas are welcomed from wherever they come. Architectural music is orchestral rather than solo. Every member is involved.
— Sally Harkness, on the “collaborative” part of The Architects Collaborative (TAC) firm
Sally Harkness was the principal TAC partner behind the design of 7 Moon Hill Road, the Mann House. The original owners were Harold and Muriel Mann.
The house is currently being offered for sale for $995,000 via Hammond Real Estate, with listing agents, Bill Janovitz and John Tse. The first available viewing time is Sunday, October 10, open house 1-3 pm.
One of Moon Hill’s finest examples of TAC-designed pioneering modernist homes, the Mann House has renovated and expanded over the years. The open floor plan flows through the living room, family room, kitchen, and dining room. Hardwood floors have been recently refinished. The main hallway leads to five bedrooms, including two suites. A vast sunroom with spa hot tub squares off the floor plan; two-car heated garage with workshop and storage areas, designed by TAC partner, Dick Morehouse. There is approximately 3487 s.f. of living area. Walls of thermal windows overlook the professionally landscaped grounds (7 Moon Hill Road was known informally as “the Garden House.”) A rare offering of a special home.
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Some of the Notable Features of 7 Moon Hill Road
Living Room/Family Room
-Recently refinished hardwood floors
-Open floor plan includes large dining area
–Family room/television area, also could work as dining room
-The flexible floor plan is great for entertaining — large parties and smaller, more intimate dinners alike
-Custom built-in book shelves and other original architectural features
-Glass doors to enclosed three-season porch
-Tree-top views through abundant windows
-Thermal walls of glass with thermal blinds
-Updated in the 1990s
-Subzero Refrigerator installed 2000 (+/-)
-Large space divided by island
-Separate entrance from side of house
-Double wall ovens
-Large shower stall in en suite bath
Guest/Au Pair/In-law/Teen Suite
-En suite full bath
-Separate entrance, glass doors to three-season sunroom/patio
-Direct access to attached greenhouse
Additional Three Bedrooms
-Various built-in desks, dressers, custom closets
-Gracious entry foyer with marble tile, built-in bench and shelves, and large closet
-lexible room with fireplace — could be a playroom, den, rec room, library, or its current use as a home office. Walls of windows allow plentiful natural light
-Half bath with marble tile
-Five zones of radiant and hot water baseboard heat
-Wall-unit air conditioning (two mini-splits and two traditional wall-installed units)
-Water main located in garage
-Propane heat in garage
-Original house designed by Sally Harkness, noted partner of The Architects Collaborative (TAC). Additions and expansions also designed by TAC partners
-Windows replaced with insulated glass approximately 10 years ago on all living areas
-Original built-in desks, bureaus, and bookshelves throughout
-Most likely cork-tile floor under carpets in hall/bedrooms
-Master bedroom extended circa 1980s, designed by Norman Fletcher
-Hallway display case
-Motion-sensor exterior lighting
Three-Season Sunroom/Enclosed Patio
-Walls of glass sliding doors with screens
-Year-round hot tub/spa
-Custom-built free-standing flower boxes.
-Rubber roof replaced about 1995, updated around 2000 (all dates approximate)
-Perimeter drains installed around rear and sides of house and in front of garage (street side)
-Greenhouse attached, with direct access to bathroom. 7 Moon Hill Rd. was informally known thoughtout Six Moon Hill neighborhood as “The Garden House.”
-Designed by Dick Morehouse
-Workshop area with sink and bench, in rear
-Separate storage room
Here is a shot of the original house, prior to expansions, renovations, and other changes. The viewer will note that the original bookcases seen in this shot are still featured in the current iteration of the house.
About Moon Hill and TAC
There are two ways to go — towards competition or towards collaboration. A contest can be stimulation, but as a way of life competition is wasteful. Time and energy are dissipated in overlapping efforts. The efficiency of collaboration lies in interaction directed towards the solution of a problem. A world that believes only in survival through competition must always be at war. And if the winner is preoccupied with winning, he may find himself on a mountain he never would have chosen to climb. In architecture, rivalry may lead to irrational design; it may put aside a direct solution in favor of a more sensational one.
To fight for conviction is another matter, and this fits in with collaboration. The essence of collaboration is the strength of the individual. When collaboration is operating as it should, a good idea will be carried by conviction, recognized by others without loss of their own prestige.
— Sally Harkness
In 1947, one young group of forward-thinking architects, The Architects Collaborative (TAC), founded by Bauhaus pioneer, Walter Gropius — who had fled Germany and joined Harvard University Graduate School of Design — purchased 20 acres of land on the east-central side of Lexington and formed a non-profit corporation for the community they named Six Moon Hill.
According to personal interviews with some of the partners and residents conducted by Aram Demirjian, the land had been owned since 1908 by a retired automobile dealer, described as “a stubborn and slightly intimidating man… suspicious of TAC’s motives for their desire to purchase his land,” which was a wooded hill and on the east side of town, and thus convenient to the TAC office in Harvard Square. Ultimately a deal was struck with the former auto dealer, who had held on to six 1920s-era Moon cars in a barn on the property. Appropriately, the development was named Six Moon Hill.
Laid out on a cul-de-sac, they set aside common land to leave as open space, including an area with a swimming pool. They built about 26 houses in the International modernist style: walls of glass, open floor plans, flat or slant roofs, simple and inexpensive materials, austere lines, nestled thoughtfully into the landscape. Though they at first might have seemed out of place—European modernist statements plopped down in the middle of wooded Lexington and adjacent to farms—they actually reflected the old clichés regarding New England Yankee frugality, sensibility, and working with materials at hand. As an article in the Boston Globe pointed out not too long ago, the houses of Moon Hill “remain remarkably unpretentious and livable.” And, when one stops to think about it, what would have been more out of place than Grecian columns on a farmhouse in the middle of a New England field when those originally started appearing? The Moon Hill houses were as unassuming, if not more so, than the good old white-clapboarded colonials dotting the town. Unlike reproductions of that familiar style, the modernist architects saw no need to busy up the facades of their homes with fake shutters, mullioned windows, cupolas and the like. And the use of rubber, tar and gravel, and other new building materials and techniques did away with the need for steeply gabled roofs to dump away the snow, rain and other byproducts of the New England climate.