About the Project:
We preserved sensitive ecologies of native dunes and wetlands at this secluded oceanfront retreat by containing nearly all landscape elements within the building’s footprint. The result is an on-structure landscape informed by the spirit, forms, palette and materials of the preserved native landscape beyond.
Our clients discovered a secluded oceanfront site on the coast of Long Island for their modern vacation home. Yet the surrounding landscape presented challenges to outdoor living: the site was wedged between pond, protected wetland, and fragile dunes and was in a FEMA flood zone. In our site visit with the architect, we identified two conditions that determined the design direction of both landscape and architecture: 1) To protect the surrounding landscape effectively, we would need to limit the home’s landscape areas to within the building footprint. 2) To capture the surrounding views effectively, the house needed to be raised even more than required by FEMA.
The home’s landscape is designed on both the split-level mezzanine and the roof. On the mezzanine, immersive views and materials evocative of the naturalized dune and wetland are part of every outdoor moment. Entertaining areas include an open-air living space, pool with spa, and a series of flexible seating areas. Intensive collaboration with architect and interior designer creates views of the naturalized landscape from within that function as art.
The roof provides private family space, including a yoga deck, green roof, sun terrace, fire pit lounge, dining area, and kitchen. Photovoltaics and a green roof tray system reduce the home’s energy consumption.
Though we advocated for raising the ground floor elevation an additional 5’ to enhance views, it created a challenge: making the home entrance feel inviting and connected to the landscape. A generous, gently-graded entry stair draws attention away from the building into immersive landscape features: rich textures of naturalized plantings, the sight and sound of water falling, and a pattern of shifting planes in the stair itself, which draws on the architectural concept for the building. At the summit, visitors are rewarded with sculpture and views of the water beyond.