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Silvernails / Amalgam Studio

Silvernails / Amalgam Studio

© Oliver Mint © Oliver Mint © Oliver Mint © Oliver Mint + 28

Columbia County, United States
  • Interior Design: Amalgam Studio
  • Lighting Design: Amalgam Studio (collaboration with Lumens.com)
  • Structural Engineer: Ross Dalland Engineers
  • Civil Engineer: Weston & Sampson
  • Hvac Engineer: Baukraft Engineering
  • Landscape Architect: Jamie Purinton
  • Contractor: Black Oak Builders
  • Bent Frame Sub Contractor: New Energy Works
  • Woodwork: Rowan Woodwork
  • Glazing Sub Contractor: Bewiso
  • Pool Sub Contractor: Bolus Pools
  • Envelope Specialist: 475 High Performance Building Supply
  • Sip Sub Contractor: Foard Panel
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© Oliver Mint
© Oliver Mint

Text description provided by the architects. The first ground-up residential project completed by emerging New York City-based Amalgam Studio. Conceived as a modern barn, the 5,000 sq ft (465 sqm), four-bedroom family residence of stone and wood, sits atop a hillside on a rural, 120-acre property located near the town of Rhinebeck, epicenter of the Hudson Valley’s culinary and artistic renaissance.

© Oliver Mint
© Oliver Mint

“We all love the idea of living in a barn. We love the barn’s generous interior space, the exposed structure, all that wood. But we don’t love the lack of light, insulation, comfort. Or the dirt!” says the home’s architect Ben Albury, Founder of Amalgam Studio.

© Oliver Mint
© Oliver Mint

The local barn shape - its simplicity and honesty in structure, its form, and materiality - drove the design process. Research led to a rich history of local barn archetypes, from the mid 17th Century Dutch Barn, through to the English or Three-Bay, then culminating in the most common building in rural 19th Century New England, aptly-named the New England.

The investigation into these archetypes suggested a house design comprising:
- a strong gable form,
- cathedral ceilings, with loft spaces,
- large sliding doors,
- wooden interior and exterior,
- an exposed hardwood structural frame, and
- a stone basement.

Much like the traditional communal barn-raising events of the region, the double-height Bent Frames were raised and bolted into place, with the entire timber structure completed in 1 day. To update the barn for 21 century standards the house uses super-insulation, airtight membranes, in-wall heat-recovery ventilation units, and triple glazing to ensure a comfortable interior environment, with continuous fresh air, year round. “From the very beginning, the clients wanted a comfortable house. I believe it would have been irresponsible for me not to look at, and ultimately follow Passive House Standards,” said Albury.

© Oliver Mint
© Oliver Mint
Exploded Axonometric
Exploded Axonometric
© Oliver Mint
© Oliver Mint

Operable windows and doors are positioned to encourage cross-ventilation. Heating can be provided with fireplaces and wood stoves, or energy-efficient multi-split heat-pump air-conditioning systems. All appliances are electric. Lighting is LED. Daylighting is harvested by multiple skylights.  “As far as I’m aware the home features the longest triple-glazed Passive House Certified residential skylight in North America,” notes Albury. Sunshading devices tilt up to provide shade to the south-facing deck in summer and close down to act as hurricane shutters during winter storms.

© Oliver Mint
© Oliver Mint

Endemic tree species on the 120-acre property informed interior material selections: white oak for flooring and lining, walnut for cabinetry, hickory for feature vanity units. Local granite, slate and domestic quarried stone guided choices for the chimney hearth, wet areas, and basement masonry respectively.  The entire house is wood-clad, including the roof, by using a unique, innovative clip system to the standing seams of roof sheeting, a first in North America.

© Oliver Mint
© Oliver Mint
Ground Floor Plan
Ground Floor Plan
© Oliver Mint
© Oliver Mint

The family residence celebrates the ever-changing seasonal landscape, designed to exploit natural light throughout. The fully glazed entrance aligns with mid-distant pine trees. Its skylight and central stair of floating threads split the home between its public living and private bedroom areas. Private areas have variously controlled, framed views out to distant hills, a winding river, nearby woodlands, and across wildflower meadows. Living areas utilize large sliding glass doors onto decks delivering more expansive, 180-degree vistas. Upstairs is a bright, white, multi-purpose loft space, complete with skylights placed deliberately for optimal stargazing. “Ultimately, it’s a house that plays with light,” explains Albury. 

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Cite: "Silvernails / Amalgam Studio" 20 Sep 2018. ArchDaily. Accessed . <https://www.archdaily.com/902043/silvernails-amalgam-studio/> ISSN 0719-8884

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