Oceanfront Residence

This is the finest private residence we have ever designed, for both the level of quality and the magnificence of the site. It was designed for a couple whose commitment to the art of design is unparalleled and whose trust and appreciation never wavered.

The pair of ocean front houses, on adjacent lots in Montauk, NY, were designed to capture that rarest of assets: large private outdoor space on the Atlantic. The main house is earthbound: a low-slung single story composed of an open (steel and glass) wing and an embracing (brick and wood) one. Only the writing studio and outdoor fireplaces top the single story height.

The guest house, by contrast, is airborne, barely touching the ground and creating a series of covered spaces and processional gateways to the main house. The guesthouse is, as we thought of it, the second floor of the main house, dislocated to the entry side of the site where it can participate in defining the large landscaped courtyard hovering 75 feet above the ocean.

Each house has its own identity, yet they share a vocabulary of materials, forms and intentions. The main house is composed of a pair of opposing ‘L’ shaped wings: one of steel and glass (‘his’ space: a loft on the ocean) and one of brick and wood (‘her’ space: a warm, enclosing set of private rooms). The materials - stone, terrazzo flooring, glazed brick walls, teak, stainless steel and terra-cotta - are the robust stuff suitable for both interiors and exteriors. The material palette binds the interior and exterior into a set of intimately connected spaces, erasing the boundary between inside and out.

The guest house is modeled on a motel with access to all rooms off of a continuous balcony facing the courtyard. In response to its delicate oceanfront site and its threshold location, the house floats a story above the ground, creating both a gate and screen while minimizing its footprint. The louvered entry side of the house preserves the ocean views while concealing the neighbors’ house immediately next door.

Anchored at one end by an airy porch and access to the ground, and at the other end by the astonishing panoramic view, this guesthouse is only a temporary home to visitors. Spaces below the house offer a grand shaded porch overlooking the outdoor room formed by the guest house and main house, as well as a shaded pool side retreat.
Interiors of white linoleum, beach-ball colored wood walls and exposed concrete keep the sense of solidity without the luxuriousness of the main house materials. The partly shaded pool (in deference to the easily sunburned husband) and the raised cube of the hot tub offer the ocean views without permanently dominating the center of the composition.

Awards
2007, American Architecture Award for Distinguished Buildings
2006, AIA New York State Design Awards Citation for Design