Seymour Krieger House
This International Style house was built by renowned architect Marcel Breuer (1902-1981) in 1958. Landscape architect Dan Kiley (1913-2004) designed the grounds of this triangular lot overlooking Brigadoon Drive. The house is one of five collaborations between Breuer and Kile, and was built for Seymour Krieger, a member of the International Military Tribunal prosecution staff in Nuremberg, Germany and later communications lawyer who worked for the Federal Communications Commission. Very few changes have altered the house from its original appearance, and it remains an accurate specimen of the International Style. The house is part of a planned residential community, Bannockburn, designed with the goal of being focused around a community center.
Backstory and Context
One of the design priorities of the International Style is that every element of the design has a specific function. The property is one of two collaborations between Breuer and Dan Kiley (1912-2004) in Maryland, but the pair worked on five properties together in the United States. It is the only single-family home designed by Breuer in the county. He designed four residential buildings in total in Maryland.
Standing one story, the house is steel-framed with coursed brick walls, painted white. It has a flat fascia board roof. Pine and Leyland cypress trees screen the view of the house from the road. For both the exterior and interior of the house, Breuer utilized indigenous materials, including bluestone floors and terraces, field stone foundation, American black walnut ceilings. In the interior, the public areas of the house -- the living room, dining room, kitchen, etc. -- are open, with bedrooms and private spaces separated.
Seymour Krieger (1913-1960), for whom the house was constructed, was a member of the United States Prosecution Staff at the International Military Tribunal in Nuremberg, Germany, prosecuting war crimes after World War II, and a communications lawyer. After working in Nuremberg, he worked for the Federal Communications Commission and opened his own firm, Krieger and Jorgenson, in 1946. In 1954 he was appointed general counsel for Greater Washington Educational Television Association, Inc. He died in 1960, not long after moving into the house, and his family lived there until 1964. His widow Rita F. Krieger subdivided the property before selling the house to Stephen Jackson and Vera Jackson and Janko Jackson.
Stephen Jackson's contributions to the property include setting stone wells around maturing trees to support their weight on the sloping grounds as well as a low stone well in keeping with Breuer's designs. The house is also known as Katinas house after subsequent owner John Katinas. Renovations to the house have been minimal and it retains integrity to Breuer and Kiley's vision. After his death in 1985, Janko Jackson sold the house to George J. Katinas, who had lived on the neighboring property since 1959, and his son John G. Katinas.
The neighborhood of Bannockburn was developed in the 1950s by the Group Housing Cooperative. The goal of the cooperative was to establish a neighborhood with a community center as a social and visual hub. The location of the residential area is the former Bannockburn Golf Club. Brigadoon Drive and Selkirk Drive are among the other Scottish cultural references in the place names. Other houses in the neighborhood follow the Modern architectural movement.
Maryland Historic Trust. Seymour Krieger House, National Register Properties in Maryland. 2018. Accessed February 16th 2020. https://mht.maryland.gov/nr/NRDetail.aspx?NRID=1545&COUNTY=Montgomery&FROM=NRCountyList.aspx.
Trieschmann, Laura V., and Laura Harris Hughes. Seymour Krieger House, National Register of Historic Places Registration Form. October 15th 2007. Accessed February 16th 2020. https://mht.maryland.gov/secure/medusa/PDF/NR_PDFs/NR-1467.pdf.