Starkey House


Courtesy Peter J. Sieger Architectural Photography

Starkey House
Marcel Breuer and Herbert Beckhard
June Halverson Alworth
  • Architecture

Overlooking Lake Superior at 2620 Greysolon Road East in Duluth sits one of Marcel Breuer’s most important residential designs, the Starkey House. It was commissioned by June Halverson Alworth, who, soon after the home was completed, married Robert J. Starkey. At 4,200 square feet the design reflects Breuer’s concept of the “binuclear plan,” which divided the home’s shared or common living spaces from the sleeping and children’s play areas. Its bifurcated nature expresses itself on the outside too, its front elevation situated at grade gives way in the back to the site’s deep slope. Dramatically overhanging the hill from the rear, the house sits lightly on the earth supported by only eight tapered wooden supports that transfer their weight to steel rods before touching the ground. The opacity and solidity from the front approach belies the transparency and openness at the rear of the home, where floor to ceiling glass offers expansive views to the horizon of vast Lake Superior.