Exterior with view of stepped garden
© Michael Moran/OTTO Exterior with view of stepped garden


Concrete is not the first material that comes to mind when considering either a beachside retreat or the architecture of the Hamptons. But New York–based LevenBetts turned to the material to evoke the color of the nearby sand for the 8,000-square-foot 36SML Beach House in Amagansett, N.Y.

The vacation house is designed for both entertaining and for separating—but not isolating—the family’s varied interests. The clients—a husband and wife and their three teenage children—wanted a house that could accommodate a range of activities, including tinkering with cars and motorcycles. “One really important factor was that he [the husband] could always be connected to the family, not out in the garage away from everybody,” says partner David Leven, AIA, noting that the various programmatic zones “connect with one another in the public spaces.”

Exterior and pool
© Michael Moran/OTTO Exterior and pool

To create these different areas of activity, the house is organized around three spokes. On the ground level they comprise a three-car garage, a kitchen, and a living area. The house is oriented so the driveway cuts through a breezeway near the hub of the spokes, orbits a roundabout, and exits the site under a cantilever at the northwest end of the structure. “We were denying that formal front door with the front circle drive that you see a lot out in Long Island,” partner Stella Betts says. Instead, there is a door that leads from the covered breezeway into the living area.

Kitchen, looking east to the swimming pool beyond
© Michael Moran/OTTO Kitchen, looking east to the swimming pool beyond

The second floor is divided into a wing for the master suite, a wing for the three teenagers’ bedrooms, and a three-bedroom guest wing. The circulation is organized around a central indoor–outdoor space with wooden amphitheater seats leading up to a roof deck. Accent rear-projection film allows movies to be projected directly onto the surface of the glass.

Second-floor outdoor ampitheater
© Michael Moran/OTTO Second-floor outdoor ampitheater

The basement level of the house includes a living area and an extra bunk room that can sleep another six people. To bring light in, the architects excavated a below-grade patio with a stepped garden leading up to the south lawn. “In almost every room, you’re connected to the outdoors,” Betts says.

Master suite, with glass-enclosed bathroom and terrace beyond
© Michael Moran/OTTO Master suite, with glass-enclosed bathroom and terrace beyond

On the exterior, concrete is everywhere. The ground level is clad in glass-fiber reinforced concrete panels with stainless steel fasteners. Concrete continues inside as the floor in the kitchen and living areas, then switches to white oak for the central staircase and the living quarters. The second story is sheathed in cement-board panels, punctured by generous windows and sliding glass doors. Several of the windows slide into concealed pockets when open, removing the last, transparent barrier between the inside and out and proving that a concrete house can still be wide open to the sun and ocean breezes.

Second-floor hallway linking master suite to other bedrooms, with outdoor amphitheater seating at right
© Michael Moran/OTTO Second-floor hallway linking master suite to other bedrooms, with outdoor amphitheater seating at right
Below-grade bunk room
© Michael Moran/OTTO Below-grade bunk room
Driveway exits property underneath a cantilever
© Michael Moran/OTTO Driveway exits property underneath a cantilever
Exterior driveway roundabout
© Michael Moran/OTTO Exterior driveway roundabout
Breezeway
© Michael Moran/OTTO Breezeway
Exterior, view from the north
© Michael Moran/OTTO Exterior, view from the north

Drawings

Courtesy of LevenBetts


Courtesy of LevenBetts


Courtesy of LevenBetts


Courtesy of LevenBetts
Courtesy of LevenBetts



Project Credits Project: 36SML Beach House, Amagansett, N.Y.
Architect: LevenBetts, New York—David Leven, AIA, Stella Betts (partners); Andrew Feuerstein (project architect); Deric Mizokami, Sebastian Mardi, Angi Tsang, Edwin May, Bret Quagliara (project team)
Structural Engineer: Guy Nordenson and Associates
Lighting Designer: Tillotson Design Associates
Contractor: Reinhardt O’Brien
Size: 8,000 square feet
Cost: Withheld