Mamaroneck House, using minimal architectural vocabulary
Sitting on a wooded Westchester County site, this 5500 square-foot house consists of a large kitchen, dining and living rooms, a study, a large master suite, a family room, and four additional bedrooms. The conditioned basement, with 3000 square feet of additional living area, incorporates a children’s play area, a media center, an art studio, and a small gym. A three car garage rounds out the program. The formally composed street façade presents itself frontally to the street but addresses the driveway with a dynamic entrance canopy that addresses the reality of the car-centric suburban environment in which the house is located.
The kitchen area is composed of two distinct areas: an indoor food preparation area with an eat-in kitchen is complimented by an outdoor grille and food prep area with a free-standing outdoor dining pavilion. The two food prep areas and the indoor and outdoor dining areas are united by physical adjacencies and visual sightlines. For instance, a 2x2.5 meter window and large glass doors connect the both indoor and outdoor kitchens, and the free-standing dining pavilion has a cantilevered roof without one corner column to more fully unite the outdoor covered area with the house itself.
A simple material palette enhances the spatial continuity of the indoor and outdoor spaces. The house is rendered in a minimal architectural vocabulary of stucco, wood screens & cladding, grey tiles & plaster, stainless steel, and wood floors & millwork. Walnut panelization and flooring on the inside and ipe wood siding provide warmth, white cabinetry and walls compliment the white exterior stucco and an array of soft grays was implemented, maximizing a sense of natural light that enhances the minimalist vocabulary of the house with the play of light and shadow. Practicality, constructability, and performance are ensured through a unified approach to detailing and materiality.
While the front facade is rigorously composed to formally address the public realm, the rear façade is animated with more dynamic form-making that blurs the line between indoor and outdoor living spaces. The property’s private domain of the rear yard is defined by a double-volume transparent cube that defines the primary living room and several more solid volumes that provide a more ambiguous relationship between indoors and out. The free-standing dining pavilion further blurs this distinction by defining a covered habitable space without enclosing it. Enhanced planting of trees encloses the outdoor terrace and pool and creates on large outdoor room that creates the opportunity for a purposefully manipulated play of natural light through the large planar openings and onto the exterior façade, which is dappled and softened by tree-filtered daylight.
Aries Liang, Joy Wang
NGI Development Corporation
SPG Architects is an architectural firm based in New York City. Founded by Coty Sidnam and currently directed by Eric Gartner, SPG’s design practice is widely recognized for the comprehensive range of architecture and design services offered. SPG’s modernist approach to design allows for the various functions of the buildings and the space they create to be organized and expressed, while eliminating the cacophony of the untended environment. Architectural ideas are drawn from the project site and the client’s needs and desires. These then are expressed through manipulations of form and light. An interest in up-to-date building technologies, natural and man-made construction materials, and a constantly developing approach to sustainable design strategies further inform our designs. SPG’s work presents a visual consistency based on human proportions, the exploration of light, and the judicious use of materials that provide singular tactile, visual, spatial and temporal experiences.