A custom-designed house for a hypothetical client explores the universal human desires for both orderliness and spontaneity, while firmly rooting itself to the landscape and creating privacy by shaping the terrain.
(Design of a 4,500 square foot house at an east Long Island community master-planned by Richard Meier).
The primary challenge was to design for the needs of a yet-to-be-determined client. Another significant issue was how to root the house to the earth; the nearly flat site in a young growth forest offered no footing. We responded by reshaping the topography, establishing the first level slightly below grade and sculpting the surrounding terrain into a gentle rise. In addition to anchoring the house, this also allowed the visible volume to be reduced, and enabled the creation of indoor/outdoor spaces that are at once secluded, yet very open to their surroundings.
The house functions (physically and psychically) on multiple levels – as much an intimate retreat for two (or one) as an accommodating host to an extended family (or numerous guests) – thus promoting multiple, overlapping narratives. Above: the public face, contained, controlled, consistent. Below: the private sphere: free-wheeling and spontaneous. We chose to embrace, rather than deny, this inherent ambivalence – a duality that we believe to be universal to the human condition.
Physical ContextGoogle Earth View
History of Long Island, 1839
Benjamin F. Thompson
Containing an account of the discovery and settlement; with other important and interesting matters to the present time.
Physical ContextTown of East Hampton
Physical ContextVillage of Sagaponack
Richard G. Hendrickson
After 350 years there should be few words on the settlement, village, community of Sagaponack, Sagg or “place where the large ground-nuts grow.”
It is one of the very early divisions of Southampton, laid out before Bridgehampton, Sag Harbor and other parishes. This 1653 area is unusual: 100 miles east of the mainland, bordering the broad Atlantic, and stretching northward for several miles over the most level and fertile land of this island. With its ponds, its forest, its rich soil, it has remained nearly pristine.
ArticleNY Times: A-List Alternatives to Hamptons Hulk
ArticleVanity Fair: 37 Ways of Looking at a Hampton
PublicationAmerican Dream: The Houses at Sagaponac
A bold new entry into the sometimes dreary world of real estate subdivisions is turning heads. American Dream is an unprecedented initiative bringing together thirty-eight internationally renowned architects to design affordable homes that also push the envelope of contemporary design.
Related WorkArchitects of the Houses at Sagaponac
Harry Joe Brown Jr., 71, Innovative Developer, Dies
Douglas Martin, New York Times
In the mid-1990′s, Mr. Brown acquired 56 acres of scrub land in the hamlet of Sagaponack for $1.6 million when another developer went bankrupt. It was supposedly on the wrong side of the Hamptons’ main road, too far from the beach and too close to East Hampton Airport.
Mr. Brown, widely known by his nickname “Coco,” persuaded the architect Richard Meier to recruit a roster of top architects. Mr. Brown’s idea was that people with a certain blend of wealth, knowledge and pretension would line up for modernist houses designed by the likes of Mr. Meier, Philip Johnson, Michael Graves and Sir Richard Rogers.