Nestled into the native shrubs of the Martha’s Vineyard coastline, East House’s site-cast concrete façade welcomes tendrils of coastal vines while providing a robust barrier to New England’s coastal weather. The ten-inch-thick concrete walls are cast in the form of a collection of concrete boxes, relieved with sustainably harvested Spanish Cedar window frames, and oriented to achieve both subtle and dramatic responses to the landscape. During design, a commissioned study revealed a rate of coastal bluff erosion that made both client and architect extremely uncomfortable with the siting of the residence. The solution was to cast the floors – formerly wood-framed – in concrete, making each box a three or four-sided structural unit that could be individually lifted and moved to a location far from the bluff, should erosion occur. The 4,000 square foot house is thus divided into concrete boxes – individually liftable with all interior finishes in place, and interstitial corridors – light wood framed zones that can be easily removed and rebuilt if the building is moved.
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