The Daring

A division of the Center
for the Study of Diagonality
in World Culture

Daring Diagonal Virtual Museum
Kimball Residence
Kimball Residence
DDVM’s Virtual Home
Executed by: Joel Levinson, Architect
Date: early 1990s

Many digital museums use collections housed in actual buildings such as the Musée d'Orsay in Paris, formerly a train station. The items exhibited in the Daring Diagonal Digital Museum are housed in a virtual construct that is not a real building. However, because the founder and curator of DDDM [Joel Levinson] is an architect, it was his feeling that the collection would most agreeably be presented and accessed in virtual galleries housed in something like a real "building," even if the digital representation of the building itself is a fiction. Consequently, Levinson adopted one of his completed architectural projects, the Kimball Residence, named after the original owners, Janet and Ronald Kimball, who lived there for almost thirty years.

The floor plan of the Kimball house was a point of departure for shaping the imaginary galleries in the Daring Diagonal Digital Museum. To show the house's reconfiguration for the DDDM, several photographs of the actual house are here presented, along with a sampling of the working drawings.

The Kimballs approached Mr. Levinson in the early 1990s requesting a house "with a lot of angles and curves." The project created an opportunity for Levinson to explore a geometrically complex design, infused with the diagonal motif he had been researching and writing about in his independent study of Diagonality. The working drawings reveal the building's complex geometry, and to Levinson’s delight and the Kimball’s, the house was built exactly as designed. The Architectural Archives of the University of Pennsylvania, Levinson's alma mater, is preserving many projects designed by Joel Levinson, including the Kimball Residence. A book and exhibit are under development. THE HOUSES OF JOEL LEVINSON will illustrate other houses designed before the Kimball Residence in which the diagonal motif was used. These include the Brasler House (1964), Orleans House (1966), Shiekman House (1967), Weiner House (1968), Arbor House (1969), Fleming House (1972). Lee House (1975), Roberts House (1978). These projects and others in which Levinson explored the use of the diagonal can be seen at

Preparing the construction drawings was a challenge because Levinson’s firm had not yet begun to use computers to facilitate drafting the challenging room shapes. When computers entered the architectural field, they allowed for and prompted the use of more geometrically complex designs. This development was a significant turning point in architectural history.

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