Qual Hill / Bates Masi Architects

Exterior_2

Architect: Bates Masi Architects
Location: Amagansett, NY,
Client: Private
Structural Engineer: Steven L. Maresca
Contractor: Sanders Construction
Project Year: 2009
Photographs: Christopher Wesnofske

Exterior_1 Kitchen Master_Bedroom Siding_Detail

At the first meeting, the clients introduced both their growing family and growing art collection. They were particularly excited about a new artist, Vik Muniz, whose works based on photographs of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis provided a delightful discovery upon closer inspection: paintings of the iconic images rendered in peanut butter and jelly. This moment of discovery and playful deception became the design concept of the house.

Living

Approaching the house by the winding driveway, the gabled form, massive chimney, and shingled siding are all reminiscent of traditional houses on eastern Long Island. Looking closely, the shingles are, in fact, a woven screen of oak surveyors stakes, similar to those that dotted the steeply wooded lot when the clients first saw it. Similarly, the massive chimney that anchors the house to the site isn’t solid at all, but is actually made of thin concrete panels.

site plan
site plan

Entering the house, with a view of the pool and gardens beyond, the wall enclosing the stair looks like translucent stone. One has to look very carefully to see that it is a double paned glass wall filled with small seashells, a reference to the nearby beaches. The double-height living/dining room is a compatible scale and space for the large works of art and family gatherings. The fireplace surround reflects fragmented images of the art and surrounding landscape while its crystalline appearance defies its humble origins: polished stainless steel military dog tags.

Dusk

Expectations were also subverted in the structural system of the house to reduce the cost and increase the efficiency. Behind the stake siding and interior gypsum board are walls comprised of precast concrete panels typically used in foundation construction. These durable and low maintenance panels are double insulated for efficiency and are a perfect scale for hanging large art. By staggering the walls slightly, tall, narrow windows admit indirect light and allow glimpses of the landscape.

By subverting expectations, this house encourages multiple readings that change, depending on time and perception. It turns this house into something more: an exploration of perception.

Cite: "Qual Hill / Bates Masi Architects" 29 Sep 2009. ArchDaily. Accessed 22 Aug 2014. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=36345>

15 comments

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    “Entering the house, with a view of the pool and gardens beyond, the wall enclosing the stair looks like translucent stone. One has to look very carefully to see that it is a double paned glass wall filled with small seashells, a reference to the nearby beaches.”

    Photos speak a thousand words, where is this photo?

  2. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    this house is trying way too hard and should just calm right down. It would be much nicer if it ditched about half of the design moves.

  3. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    By the standards of Gilded-Age Amagansett this residence shows an unusual modesty and restraint. I quite like that it neither ignores the local shingle tradition nor apes the 450th derivative of post-modern classical revival. Certainly, it meets the owner’s goals for a space suitable for the display of contemporary art. The best feature is the siting. It’s hard to imagine a better, more private, or more Long Island use of this forest clearing.

    Some of the detailing is slightly overwrought. I suspect that has a lot to do with the client’s appreciation of the new.

    Finally, it doesn’t strike me as a place where Gordon Gecko would be very comfortable.

    Terry Glenn Phipps

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