Located between the Atlantic Ocean and a freshwater pond, this residence is for an adventurous couple and their four sons. They wanted a house for 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 building envelope densely packed with program that stood as a barrier 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. Materials were chosen not only for their workability, but also for their durability in the harsh coastal environment. Heavy gauge corten steel siding is zero maintenance in spite of 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. Using the design approach of sculpting away rather than building up, the house is pared down until the experience of the extraordinary site is dominant.
Bates Masi + Architects, a LEED accredited firm with roots in eastern Long Island for over 40 years, responds to each project with extensive research in related architectural fields, materials, craft and the environment for unique solutions as varied as the individuals for whom they are designed. The focus is neither the size nor the type of project but the opportunity to enrich lives and enhance the environment. This attention to all elements of design has been a constant in the firm's philosophy. Projects include urban and suburban residences, schools, offices and furniture in the United States, Central America and the Caribbean, many of which have been recognized by AIA Design Awards and numerous publications.