Two words describe most of the entries and winners in the 53rd annual Archi Awards recognizing this year’s best architectural designs on Long Island: Think modern.
Here are five of the 108 projects nominated for the 2017 awards, including several winners and commendations in various categories.
Potato barn vernacular: Martin Architects
The family home that Sagaponack architect Nick Martin was asked to renovate in East Hampton had some daunting challenges. It was situated on a small lot with restrictive setbacks. The owners gave him a tight budget, a short time line and asked that it be revitalized as a modernistic house with a nod to the village aesthetic.
“We were able to accomplish this employing a palette of refined plaster, European walnut, pickled white oak, cedar, glass and steel to create a rich and dynamic modern space,” he says.
The home, which received an Archi commendation in the Residential Single $1 Million-$3 Million category, was designed to have a beach house motif and an open space evoking the area’s potato barn vernacular of long, minimalist forms. The house features lots of windows looking out on the added swimming lap pool along with a glass-front gabled entrance that creates a dramatic introduction to the interior.
Each area of the house opens onto different landscaped spaces. All Martin Architects, P.C., homes are “green,” using passive and active energy-efficient methods, Martin says. This included features such as thermally insulated glass and a geothermal heat pump system.
Energy efficient and storm resistant: UP Studio
For years, people at the UP Studio have been trying to stir up interest in placing sustainable buildings in the walkable downtowns of Long Island. Finally, they came up with a surefire plan to get one built.
“We decided to do it ourselves,” explains John Patrick Winberry, one of the Long Island City firm’s chief architects.
With no restrictions on style or content, the UP designers created a unique residence in Long Beach — on a vacant lot — with an emphasis on green efficiency coupled with storm protection. This so impressed one couple searching for a home that they bought it before it was even completed. Considering how much is packed into the home, which resembles a black cube supported on one side by a white box, this isn’t hard to understand.
UP architects Adam Wanaselja, Jeffrey Ramirez and Winberry designed the home around a dedicated core that provides access to power and plumbing as well as heating and cooling elements. This core “stack” allowed them to use the outlying parts for living space.
The first level, raised to accommodate a storm surge, is reserved for a garage and mud room. Above this are the kitchen and family room, along with an office and a guest bedroom. A master bedroom and two secondary bedrooms occupy the top level. The balconies are positioned to be shady during summer months and sunny in winter.
The home meets all new code requirements and FEMA standards, such as using storm-rated windows, Winberry says. It was designed primarily with flat exterior surfaces to minimize exposure to high winds like the ones that came with superstorm Sandy.
Its crowning feature is a roof deck on the ocean-facing side, with space for solar panels on the northern half.
The style, which he calls “modern regional,” was meant to evoke the connected barns of the area — those pragmatic structures that were added onto through the years according to a farmer’s changing needs. But the finished product, designed by the Bates Masi + Architects in East Hampton, also had to meet the needs of a sophisticated residence.
“This area has a particular character, and as a designer you should be aware of it and continue the evolution of it,” Masi says. The structure received an Archi commendation in the Residential Single Over $3 Million category.
The home was built for an older couple to accommodate visits from children and grandchildren. Its multiple buildings, which include an entertainment space, living and dining rooms, a kids’ area and a master section for the owners, are arranged around a central garden. Each area was designed so that sections of the house can be closed off for privacy or expanded to accommodate everyone.
Honoring the ranch: CDR Studio Architects
The CDR Studio architects tasked with renovating a sprawling ranch home in Sands Point had a real Cinderella story on their hands. Their problem was that the home was stalled in the scullery maid part of the tale.
“The client wanted to keep the ranch-style form honorable instead of turning it into something like a McMansion,” says Jon Dreyfous, the partner-in-charge architect at the Manhattan-based firm.
Several renovations over the years had transformed the home into a dark warren of rooms and hallways set with small windows. The good news was the interior was dominated by a white terrazzo floor made of a durable, high-end composite usually used in office buildings.
CDR stripped down the interior to create an expansive open space. To increase the natural lighting, the architects added “light scoops’’ (boxlike structures that are equipped with a window) facing in various directions to allow light in without adding heat. One takes advantage of morning light and the other afternoon light.
Expanding the airiness, they added 9-foot-high sliding glass doors all along the home’s rear, making it virtually a giant picture window. This created a visual connection with the woodsy backyard filled with old-growth trees.
To soften up things inside, they installed interior partitions and ceiling sections made of blackened white cedar created using an ancient Japanese technique called “shou-sugi-ban.” This is where wood is charred, cleaned, then finished with natural oils to make it weather resistant. The entire house was re-clad in this material, which also was used for the backyard fence and an expansive deck overlooking the outdoor pool.
In the end, the scullery maid became the princess — an Archi winner in the Residential Single Family Under $1 Million category.
Don't block the view: Resolution: 4 Architecture
The designers at Resolution: 4 Architecture faced an interesting puzzle when they were asked to build a North Fork beach house in Laurel. Specifically, how do you put a structure in the middle of a narrow lot without obscuring the water view. The answer: Lift it up.
“We didn’t want to have the house be a dead end when you approached,” says Joseph Tanney, who runs the Manhattan business with partner Robert Luntz. “We wanted it to be a threshold to the weekend. A Zen zone where you could see the bay and the water and the sand.”
Steel beams were used to hoist the home into the air, creating room for covered parking and a workshop. The home was built to house a family’s three generations — a couple from Brooklyn with two young daughters and grandparents who live in Florida and like to spend the summer months on Long Island. The addition of the workshop was a request by the grandfather, and the rest of the open space serves as a shady play area for the girls. There also is an outdoor shower.
Access to the house is provided by two sets of outdoor stairs. Things such as custom-built cabinetry and built-in beds helped make the most of the 1,350 square feet of interior living space. An open courtyard deck in the center and floor-to-ceiling windows in the surrounding rooms keep the space open for views of the Great Peconic Bay. The house has three bedrooms, including one equipped with bunk beds for the girls. The kitchen, dining and living rooms are communal areas.
This was a custom modular home, a type of structure their firm has successfully used in other residences, the architect says. It allows a higher level of predictability of how much a home is going to cost and how long it’s going to take to finish and can lower the price by 10 to 30 percent, Tanney says. The house receive a commendation in the Residential Single Under $1 Million category.