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Sandbar Residence

Union Studio Architecture & Community Design

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  • Douglas Kallfelz, AIA, LEED AP, CNU

Project Status



4,289 sq. feet


Design Awards

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Project Description

Located on a long pie-shaped lot facing west over a river, the Sandbar Residence gets its name from the long shoreline and shallow sandbar that is exposed at low tide. The owners come from a Hindu cultural tradition and asked that the plan of the home incorporate traditional Vaastu design principles. The design respects recommended locations for specific rooms while also incorporating traditional programmatic elements and materials, such as a puja (prayer) room, niches for statues of deities, and travertine flooring. The owners’ desire to capture exceptional west-facing views was satisfied with large expanses of west-facing glass, which had to be balanced with the challenge of heat gain from the intense late afternoon sun at the low horizon line. On the western façade of the home, care was taken to recess the glass plane behind deep overhangs and screen porches and under canopies. This architectural “stepping,” combined with an integrated shading system at the glazed surfaces, provides exceptional transparency on the western façade while controlling for glare and heat gain in the afternoons. The home employs several strategies, including an east-facing and a west-facing outdoor terrace connected by a large deck, that allow the owners to enjoy outdoor living spaces and views throughout the day. The owners were interested in a spatially modern home on the interior and wanted the exterior of the home to reflect the patterns, materials, and forms of the coastal shingle types found throughout rural seaside Rhode Island. The architecture borrows heavily from local and regional precedent to inform the overall form, massing, and details - resulting in an architecture that is both fresh and clearly connected to its neighbors.
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