Custom Home 3,000 to 5,000 Square Feet / Merit Award
The simple surfaces of this outer Long Island vacation home conceal a deceptively complex structure. But this is not complexity for its own sake. “The form of the house is a direct result of the placement of living spaces in relation to the landscape,” says architect Robert Young. That landscape is a bluff overlooking Block Island Sound, a site with such a wealth of potential views that Young says he conceived the house as “a lens.”
The building layers two roughly L-shaped plans, each divided into a public wing for living spaces and a private wing for bedrooms. Primary living spaces occupy the upper level, taking in treetop views of the water. By rotating the public wings 90 degrees from each other, Young created a sheltered outdoor living space at ground level, which serves as both an extension of the family room and a shaded refuge for the adjacent pool area.
The exterior combines concrete landscape walls, red cedar-sided building walls, and banks of black-framed aluminum windows and doors. Inside, red-cedar accents and exposed structural steel provide definition in spaces whose primary finishes are bamboo flooring and white-painted drywall. The result is a house that is thoroughly at home in its surroundings and comfortable in its own style, a timeless Modernism that should wear very well. “It's in kind of a 1950s vernacular,” noted one judge, “but still looks contemporary.”