Text description provided by the architects. The House on Fire Island is a summer beach house in the resort community of the Pines on Fire Island New York. The typology of the homes in the Pines is recognizable to anyone who has visited an East Coast Shoreline resort town. It is a builder-driven typology reflecting the pragmatism of the inhabitants of these coastal communities. Almost always the “good sense” pragmatism that allows these homes to be built affordably overtakes the inherent liveliness and natural spirit of the place and creates structures that are a bit dull. This project inserts some of the “spirit of the shore” into this “Yankee thriftiness” residential typology.
Common detail and material remain, but the volume of the house is expressed as a skin, rather than as a box-like container. The skin keeps the heat in. Over time, the skin of woven cedar boards will assume the same patina as neighboring houses. Large windows are introduced to reveal a luxurious light interior.
The organization of the plan creates a direct link between the occupation of the different spaces during the day and the sun’s path. Program adjacencies were carefully studied before identifying the swimming pool as the center of social interaction. Interior rooms and exterior spaces were arranged to track the path of the summer sun, connecting it to the rhythm of daily life: breakfast by the pool; cocktails and socializing on the front terrace; and evening dinners in the west light. Sleeping rooms form the backstage of the house.