East End House / Andrew Franz Architect
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Manufacturers: American Bluestone, Duratherm, Heath Ceramics, Petersen brick , Vermont Soapstone Co.
Text description provided by the architects. Perched on a bluff overlooking the water, this sustainably designed home on Long Island’s East End is a year-round peaceful retreat. Living spaces open outwards to the landscape, catching cool breezes and lapping waves in summer, and in winter orient inwards towards a cozy two-sided fireplace and warm wood paneling.
Wide cantilevered overhangs create dramatic exterior spaces and at the same time provide extra shade from the summer sun. The house is modern, but clearly refers to the modest early-modern homes that inspired the client.
The house is uniquely situated between a wooded forest on one side and a bluff overlooking a sandy beach and the water’s edge on the other. By prioritizing views and connections to the natural environment, each space is oriented to maximize the experience of the surrounding nature, sunlight and water views. The house is kept low and steps down with the terrain rather than interrupting the tree line, to minimize its presence on the site.
The wide overhangs on the flat roofs extend the house’s proportions horizontally, making the two-storey residence appear smaller than it is and allowing it to dissolve more gradually into its surroundings. Seen from the water, the house almost disappears.
The boldest gesture, a cantilevered porch supported by a large board-shaped concrete pier and board-shaped retaining walls, is only gently revealed from the rear.
A familiar regional palette of red cedar, copper and bluestone belies the sophisticated passive house strategies and construction methods incorporated, which include thick insulated framing, a continuous insulated envelope and energy-recovery ventilation, and a green roof that provides both a visual reward and environmental benefits.
Carefully detailed construction of a limited material palette supports the vision of a high-performance home to serve generations.