No one can complain that the recent 51st Archi awards lacked diversity. The 75 entrants in the Long Island Chapter of the American Institute of Architects’ annual competition included everything from a Gold Coast-like manor to a “wind-sensitive” house to a futuristic-looking chicken coop.
“That one got a chuckle,” says Joseph Iannucci, chapter president. “But it was unique, and the judges thought it was deserving.”
The annual event recognizes the best design projects conceived and built on Long Island, in addition to those created by Long Island architects but built elsewhere. Winners receive a 13-inch-tall statuette that looks much like an Oscar.
There were 11 more entries in 2015, perhaps reflecting a better economy, Iannucci says. Many of the submissions were high-end homes, such as the eco-friendly Sands Point residence designed by Stuart Narofsky that has everything from an indoor racquetball court to a rooftop driving range (it is now on the market, with a price tag of $38 million).
Here are some of the other standouts.
BATES MASI ARCHITECTS
Sag Harbor architect Paul Masi faced an unusual challenge when a German couple asked him to design a home for them on the East End.
Make it feel the wind, they told him.
Everyone in the family is an avid kite surfer, he explains. They needed a property that would let them know when to hit the ocean.
“For them, it’s all about the wind conditions,” he says.
Using climate data, Masi found a property with consistent wind patterns. Then, he designed a house with floor-to-ceiling windows for a constant view of the outdoors. Venting panels channel air inside, and exposed beams distribute it throughout the house.
Ornamental grass was planted to pick up air movements, and breezes ripple the water in the reflecting pool, where lights create shimmering patterns.
The home is named after the Amagansett area where it was built.
“In all our projects, we try to come up with a narrative ... that enhances a client’s experience,” Masi says.
SAGAPONACK BARN RESTORATION
OZA / SABBETH ARCHITECTURE
Bridgehampton architect Nilay Oza didn’t know what to do with the former home of East End artist David Porter when first contacted by the current artist-owner to renovate the property. The compound included two derelict barns owned by Porter, who died in 2005 and was a buddy of Jackson Pollock.
So, Oza summoned his demolition crew and began bashing away.
“We needed to see what the bones were,” he says.
The bones turned out to be a framework of solid timber girders. With this in mind, Oza renovated both structures using natural wood inside and out. One barn became an art studio; the other a residence.
He connected the two with a “mini-barn” family room clad in black metal shingles with garage doors installed on both sides. These can be raised to create a summer breezeway or lowered to retain heat in winter. They open onto a terraced area for entertaining.
“That way, the family is contained when it needs to be, and the property can become a party place when it needs to be,” Oza says.
BLAZE MAKOID ARCHITECTURE
When it comes to oceanfront homes, Blaze Makoid says he doesn’t worry about the things he normally puts in a primary residence. Most people who come to the Hamptons are summer visitors who want to unplug, relax and reconnect.
“So, we design them a personal resort,” the Bridgehampton architect says.
Getting people to interact is the primary theme in the award-winning home he designed on Daniel’s Lane. Makoid combined the living room, kitchen and dining room to encourage family togetherness, separating the areas with only an open fireplace. The pool’s Jacuzzi was partitioned off from the swimming pool with a thin retaining wall so that swimming and soaking guests can hang out side by side.
A long couch in the living room was built with one section inside and the other outside — split by a sliding-glass door easily rolled open. “So, if you’re having a party, someone could lie down on the inside and still talk to someone lying down on the outside,” Makoid says.
The South American hardwood and white limestone used on the exterior were chosen for durability, as was the white concrete floors.
“You could basically hose the whole place down,” he says. “Or, you can come in with sand on your feet and you’re not going to scratch the floor.”
TUDOR MANOR HOUSE
MICHAEL JAY WALLIN
Architect Douglas Schneider and his partner, Michael Jay Wallin, who are based in Huntington, say they don’t want to bring back the Gold Coast homes that dotted Long Island’s North Shore at the turn of the 20th century. But as “old school” architects who start their projects with hand drawings, they do appreciate the craftsmanship of those classic structures, an attitude reflected by their two nouveau manors that won Archis this year.
“Architects had free rein back then,” Schneider says. “What you got were masterpieces.”
Their projects can take years to complete because of their size and scope.
Built with stately red brick and limestone, one of their winners — a five-bedroom, six-bathroom Tudor manor they designed in Old Westbury — has a grand terrace that leads to a foyer with a gleaming black-and-white-checked marble floor.
The living room features a coffered ceiling and a two-sided fireplace whose second side faces an outdoor patio that is reached through French doors.
Inside, Wallin developed intricate plaster details and millwork to create a sense of warmth. Elaborately carved oak paneling was used in the library, which has a 28-foot ceiling. Touch a button and the panel above the fireplace opens to reveal a television.
But this isn’t about celebrating excess.
“The owners weren’t concerned with creating an ostentatious mansion to show off,” Schneider says. “It was more about building a home focused on family.”
ARO CHICKEN COOP
ARCHITECTURE RESEARCH OFFICE
A little over a year ago, a Hamptons man who keeps chickens approached Stephen Cassell with an irresistible request. Could he design a new type of residence for his feathered friends?
“How could you not enjoy designing a chicken coop?” says Cassell, a principal at the Architecture Research Office, as much a laboratory as a design practice. After some research, he and ARO designer Ethan Feuer came up with a structure calculated to satisfy their client.
“Form follows fowl,” he says.
Their arch-shaped container — an Archi winner in the small-project category — is clad in aluminum shingles, warmed with radiant heat and has a series of small doors accessible from outside to grab the eggs.
The Manhattan firm, which also designs big — think homes and football stadiums — has been approached about mass producing the structures, but Cassell has demurred.
“I’m not sure we want to get into the chicken coop business,” he says.