Stretto House


Dallas, Texas


7,500 sq. ft.

Design Architect

Steven Holl

The Stretto house is located adjacent to three ponds made from concrete dams. The sound of the water flowing over the dams is reminiscent of “stretto” in music, where one musical phrase overlaps another. This inspired the architect, and the house is structured around the musical composition “Music for Strings, Percussions, and Celesta” written in 1936 by Béla Bartók. Like the musical piece, the house is formed in four sections.

Each section is divided into two units, one made of heavy masonry and the other of light metal. Keeping with the stretto theme, each of the four sections of the house overlaps into the spaces of the next section. The house is complicated, but is created with a balance that makes it peaceful and sophisticated.