Northwest Harbor House is a contemporary single story raised structure that has been designed by Bates Masi + Architects, located in East Hampton, New York. This stunning single family home is comprised of 1,895 square feet of living space.
Straddling freshwater wetlands and a tidal estuary just six feet above sea level, this house’s site demands extraordinary sensitivity to environmental concerns. Local zoning restricts the structure’s maximum coverage and proximity to wetland areas, while FEMA requirements set the first floor structure above the base flood elevation. The house’s basic massing is therefore predetermined, limited to a one-story, 1,900-square-foot design, raised eight feet above the ground. The spaces within this envelope are arranged, articulated, and fenestrated based on an innovative structural system that infuses the house’s inner areas with light and circulating air.
Whereas most waterfront construction uses pilings to establish an artificial ground plane upon which a conventional house is built, these structural members are integral in this project: sixteen exposed, glue-laminated piles stake out the enclosing walls for each of the three bedrooms and extend continuously from the ground through the roof. The spaces between these piles house “utility” functions: closet, desk, laundry, pantry, and shower compartment. In addition to these conventional utilities, three vertical voids are opened between the piles to serve the spaces around them.
Without occupying any of the limited allowed coverage, these open areas add considerable value by improving the house’s interior environmental quality and diminishing its impact on the local environment. The benefit is threefold: each opening draws light though the interior spaces to the carport below, conducts rainwater from the roof deck to the ground via integral downspouts carved into the piles, and ventilates by siphoning air through the middle of the structure.
At the roof, the projecting piles divide the space between a deck directly coinciding with the living areas below and a modular planting system installed above each bedroom to reduce runoff. The projecting piles also serve as supports for photovoltaics that power geothermal pumps, utilizing the abundance of high ground water to heat and cool the house. At the ground level, the space below the house is utilized for parking and storage to minimize the footprint on the site.
By allowing voids to permeate through the house, the owners have multiple visual connections to the landscape from below, within, and above, encouraging a sense of place.
Photos: Bates Masi + Architects
The Mothersill Residence is a stunning single family vacation home located in Water Mill, New York designed by Bates Masi Architects in conjunction with interior design firm Damon Liss Inc. This sprawling 6,027 square foot home utilizes a boardwalk as an architectural device for weaving together multiple portions of a historic site with new building and landscape elements. Located on a creek-front property, the site contains two culturally significant structures designed by Andrew Geller and a diversity of landscape plantings. The two Geller structures, a small house and studio, were built in 1962. Common to Geller’s architecture, a boardwalk connects the two structures.
A varied collection of botanically significant plantings populates the property, including a rare specimen Yew garden, serpentine Yew, and more than 400,000 Siberian Iris. The western edge of the property slopes down to a wetland bordering the creek. A conservation easement on the property protects the two Geller structures, Yew garden and iris, while allowing for the addition of a new main house. The owners requested a design that would unify these disparate elements. To achieve this, a constructed path traverses the site to link visual and spatial relationships between the elements. The path takes the form of a raised, wooden surface that recalls the boardwalks of Geller’s architecture.
Building and wetland setbacks, existing landscape features, site access, and conservation easement restrictions overlap to create the parameters of the meandering path. The path originates from the relocated Geller House in the Yew garden and winds around the serpentine hedge to a new swimming pool.
As the path continues it passes the Geller Studio, now reprogrammed as a pool house, and connects to shaded outdoor living spaces. A new central lawn is defined as the boardwalk turns to extend through the main house. A cantilevered deck wraps the end of the main house at the termination of the path, providing views of the wetland and creek.
The surface of the path folds up and over to become the enclosure of the main house, simultaneously functioning as floor, wall, and roof. All surfaces of this enclosure are constructed with the same wood decking as the boardwalk. Their uniformity gives the effect of a single envelope containing a variety of parts and reflects the influence of design in Geller’s work.
In these ways the physical, material, and spatial qualities of the path facilitate an architectural dialogue between the Geller structures and new house that is interwoven with the existing landscape, collecting the once individual elements into a unified whole.
Photos: Courtesy of Bates Masi Architects
This stunning modern beach house was built in 1969 in Amagansett, The Hamptons, New York State. The one-storey property showcases a central living/dining area, kitchen, media room, master suite, three further bedrooms and two bathrooms. The home is designed with a modernist vibe while feeling incredibly raw and rustic. The living room is flanked by modern artwork and period photographs and curious, the storage alcove for the logs creates an eye-catching focal point. The Manila rope ceiling helps to conceal mounted speakers. Wood cladding gives the living room a cozy, cabin-like feel. Via
The heavy, rustic-style farmhouse table has been custom-made from white oak salvaged from a barn. A period chandelier gives the room a medieval feel, while modern artwork and tribal patterns provide a mix-and-match eclectic element.
A linen sofa and driftwood accessories gives the media room a relaxed look.
This timber and glass kitchen has a classic Mediterranean feel. Designed to keep the modernist vibe, while still feeling incredibly raw and rustic. This textured stone-and-wood palette with a few mid-century pieces thrown in is a delightful mix of old and new.
This subtle modern bedroom scheme was inspired by the artwork on the wall. The room features a silk turquoise rug and walls painted in pale mint green.
The rope used to create the blind adds a nautical feel to the contemporary bathroom scheme.The antique pine vanity unit features leather strap handles and a soapstone countertop.
Photos: Matthew Williams for House to Home
This stunning single family home was designed by Bates Masi Architects for an adventurous couple and their four sons, situated between the Atlantic Ocean and a freshwater pond in Sagaponack, New York. The clients desired a spacious home of 8,965 square feet that could accommodate their large family and numerous guests with a lawn, swimming pool, pool house, garage, and sports courts on a site with a limited building envelope due to coastal and wetland zoning. The large program, relatively small footprint, and daunting regulations dictated a densely packed building envelope between the ocean and the pond. Thus the design process was one of subtraction rather than addition: carving away at the solid mass of the house to reconnect site features and views and to distill the experience of the place.
Spaces run the full width of the house with floor to ceiling sliding doors on both sides. The spaces create apertures through which views, light, and air completely penetrate the house, dissolving its mass. Passersby see directly through the house to the sky and landscape beyond. With the sliding doors open and recessed into the adjacent walls, interior spaces are transformed from formal rooms to open pavilions, merging seamlessly with the site.
To accommodate the extensive program spaces are nested within one another. Operable partitions pull out from the walls of the living room, carving out a media room within the living room when privacy is desired. Conversely, with the partitions open, the media room merges with the living room for large gatherings. The thickness of the wall separating the dining room and kitchen is also cut away, utilizing its depth to accommodate a wine rack that also functions as a light fixture.
The process of carving is applied at the material and detail level as well. The 5/8” corten steel plate that clads the base of the house is waterjet cut into a delicate pattern that defies its mass. Inside, corian is employed for the ease with which it can be milled. Corian countertops are cut to form towel bars, bunk bed frames are carved to create ladders, cabinet doors are recessed to form handles, and wainscoting is subtly etched with meaningful words chosen by the clients.
Materials were chosen not only for their workability, but also for their durability in the coastal environment. Corten steel siding is zero maintenance despite being relentlessly sandblasted by the wind. Cedar siding and screens are finished using a Victorian technique in which the iron sulfate in a blend of white vinegar and iron filings reacts with the tannins in wood, creating an ebony finish that penetrates through the material and will not require refinishing. The lack of harsh stains or finishes reduces the ecological footprint of the house. Geothermal heating and cooling as well as vegetated roofs further reduce the environmental impact.
Photos: Michael Moran
The waterfront site of an existing 1970’s kit house overlooks layers of wetlands to an estuary, the bay, and the ocean in Southampton, New York. Far Pond Residence is a renovation and addition of an existing structure by Bates Masi Architects. The contemporary home was doubled in size to 3,100 square feet utilizing prefabricated elements that resolved multiple structural and spatial problems.
Here is a description of the project from the architects, “Prefabricated shear wall panels, used in light frame construction in areas that are hurricane prone with high force winds, were studied. Most are made from a light gauge metal folded to add strength and rigidity. For our case the panels were to be exposed and used for more than just a hidden structural component. A standard light gauge 4×8 steel sheet was folded back and forth along the long axis adding the same strength and rigidity to the panel. The resulting 2’ panel locks into adjacent panels and is a structural shear and bearing assembly, as well as a decorative furniture component.
The new structural panels multitask throughout the addition. The solid steel transitions to a perforated panel that baffles the sunlight over windows and doors. The light quality varies throughout the day as light levels transition through the overlapped perforations. Fins that protrude from the wall panels are laser cut to accept shelving, seating and countertops. The same perforated steel becomes the dining room chandelier, and the platform for the stair and desk. This one material is exhausted in its possible uses throughout the house, minimizing the necessity for additional components that require wasteful shipping and packaging. The secondary infill material is used through both structures, on the floors, walls and ceilings to unify the old and the new.”
A fabulous seaside home, Genius Loci Residence has been designed by Bates Masi Architects in Montauk, New York. Formerly a horse ranch, the home was built for the client’s request to catch the ‘Spirit of Montauk’ and all that it embodies. With rolling green pastures, the home is terraced and embedded into the steep slope of the hill. From the exterior of the 7,000 square foot residence, the home appears to be two modest and separate one-story ranches.
From the architects: “Architectural details throughout the house occur at unexpected moments. A wood screen covered bridge unifies the two shingle clad volumes, allowing light into the grass paver courtyard below. The cedar screen of the bridge reads differently from day to night. It appears flat during the day, but, as darkness falls, light seeps out in an undulating pattern showing the wedge shape cut in the back of the boards. In front of clerestory windows, a milled bluestone screen is similarly detailed. The stone appears weightless as alternating stones are removed from the pattern to let light into the guest area. These unexpected details reinforce the larger idea of capturing the unexpected.
There is no prescribed path of circulation, encouraging different encounters much like the social experiences of Montauk. One can enter beneath the bridge and up terraced planter steps revealing the rolling hills and ocean in the distance. One can also climb the exterior entry stair that mirrors the interior stair, separated by a wall of glass. One can choose to enter into the house or continue to the outdoor fireplace, dining area, and out to the pool. The exploration resulting from unique circulation yields a different memorable experience for everyone.”
Visit the website of Bates Masi Architects here.
Photos: Michael Moran
Welcome to this stunning residence on Fire Island, New York, a cool 2-level tree house that is situated in a dense grove of pines and hollies with a view of the bay from the second level. The approach to the 1,440 square foot home designed by Bates Masi Architects is by way of a raised wooden walkway that leads us to a walled deck and glass entrance. Two guest bedrooms, bath and guest deck are on the first floor with a steel stair leading to the living, dining, kitchen and master suite on the second floor.
All exterior and interior wall surfaces and cabinets are rough cut cypress; the flooring is bleached oak. The ceilings are exposed fir structural members and doors and windows are aluminum. The cypress vertical louvers on the high windows reduce the intensity of the southern sun. The east and west walls of the house are virtually blank because of the close proximity of the neighbors and a public walkway.
Visit the website of Bates Masi Architects here.
The Pryor Residence is a vacation home designed by Bates Masi Architects for a couple with two young boys in Montauk, New York. The home features distant views of the ocean and was built for the family to share an outdoor lifestyle and to evoke feelings of a camping lifestyle. The residence has multiple entryways for different guests and occasions. Large sliding glass doors open the living, dining and kitchen areas to the outdoors for large family gatherings. There is also a smaller scaled swing door for visiting guests that opens to the center hall with views out towards the ocean.
According to the architects, there is “a sequence of auxiliary spaces, beach equipment area, outdoor shower, sand and mudroom, creates a seamless ritual from the daily activities for the family and friends. In all living areas and bedrooms, glass doors and insect screens slide in and out from pocket walls, transforming rooms to screened porches or spaces completely open to the landscape. The living area, a double height space with kitchen, dining and living area, has thirty-six feet wide glass doors that pocket into southern and northern walls. When open, the dining room becomes a picnic area and the living room fireplace becomes a campfire. The house is environmentally friendly in its overall construction and planning with such specifics as geo-thermal heating and cooling, shading and venting systems, solar panels, organic finishes and materials. The house also has a prefabricated foundation, panel siding and efficient built-ins.”
Photos: Bates Masi Architects
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