Water Mill House: a private enclave for a weekend and summer residence
This 5800 SF Hamptons home is designed on the flat landscape of a former Long Island potato field in the picturesque hamlet of Water Mill in the town of Southampton, New York. While the area is not excessively developed, there is certainly a residential density to this popular resort area, particularly south of the heavily trafficked Montauk Highway which runs just north of this site.
This house, which sits on approximately one acre, creates a private enclave by turning the structure’s back to the busy Route 27 (Montauk Highway) and opens up the house and the site toward the nearby Mecox Bay and the Atlantic Ocean beyond.
In order to provide a sense of place for the house, a courtyard-like arrangement of building elements was created in the otherwise relatively anonymous but developing agricultural setting. The garage faces the drive and car court and is located outside of the sightlines defined by the homes living spaces. The private outdoor living area is enclosed on two sides by the house structure and on the other two sides with a typical Hamptons landscaping privet. House and landscape together enclose and create a private setting for the of pool and yard area.
Entry is defined by a two-story transparent cube visible upon arrival beyond the car court and garage. This form reveals the house and landscaped living areas visible through the glass enclosure. The two-story glass entry structure includes an arrival hall, a floating stair and a second floor viewing area that unifies the adjacent building components and provides a strong connection between the site’s indoor and outdoor elements. This glass feature reaches over the one-story form that contains the primary living areas.
The northern wing of the house is a two-story bar-like structure containing the garage with the bedroom wing above. The second floor of this wing contains the primary bedroom suite and three additional bedrooms. The primary suite and additional bedrooms are connected by a walkway overlooking the main living space and the outdoor pool court.
An L-shaped one-story form contains the primary living areas of the house, including the double-height living room, an open kitchen & dining area, and a more discrete family room. Another living space, conceived for pool-related activities has a second level outdoor living terrace above it. This outdoor space provides a viewing platform to the landscape and water views beyond the privet. Two sets of telescoping sliding glass wall of doors open completely to connect the indoor and outdoor living areas. More solid walls create a privacy screen to the parking court, the local street and neighboring houses.
Each of the L-shaped building configurations interlock in plan and section so that their programmatic interdependence is clearly expressed, with walls and spatial transparencies informing the house’s relationship to the site and the broader environment.
Because the house will function as a weekend and summer residence for a NYC-based multi-generational family, the commodious outdoor living area consists of a large food-prep and dining area, an L-shaped swimming pool and a hard-scaped area for group activities and lounging. The variety of living areas, both indoor and outdoor, comfortably accommodate an extended family with plentiful options for communal and individual activities alike. The second floor arrival and outdoor living spaces provide connection to the ocean-side environment just beyond the walls of the property.
The house is sustainably conceived as well.
Solar panels provide a renewable energy source for hot-water heating. The driveway and parking area are defined by the pervious paving surface, minimizing site run-off. Roof and hardscape surface water-runoff are also minimized by directing rainwater to an underground water collection system that can be used for landscaping purposes. The pool employs an AOP system with an ozone-UV combination that creates hydroxyl radicals that sanitizes the pool without unwanted contaminants or chemicals.
All equipment and appliances are Energy-Star rated, toilets and water-fixtures are low-flow, and insulation values are maximized in the roof, walls and slabs to allow for the responsibly considered larger expanses of thermal insulated glass that help create a unity between the landscape and the house, heightening the connection between indoors and out.
Simple but defined building elements, cohesive planning, and a strong connection between the house and the broader environment create a home that provides for a richly layered living experience and creates definition in the built environment that can serve as a model of site development for undistinguished building sites in an otherwise spectacular environment, but this design provides the owners with an elevated sense of their real day-to-day needs and desires.
Southampton, New York
Private Residence, Owner Information withheld at Owner's Request
Eric Gartner (Principal), Aries Liang, Evan Homolka (Design Team), Jing Ying Chin (Renderings)
SPG Architects is an award-winning architecture firm currently led by Eric Gartner. SPG provides a comprehensive range of design services and has completed an array of architectural projects of varying scale and character in regional, national, and international locations. Projects includes single- and multi-family residences, retail environments, corporate interiors, institutional and hospitality buildings and spaces. Eric Gartner obtained his MArch degree from the University of Virginia, where he maintains an active relationship, serving on the School of Architecture’s Foundation Board. He also regularly serves as a visiting design critic for student reviews. SPG Architects’ built work is now located not only across the US, in Latin America and in Africa, and SPG’s projects have been published worldwide. Eric’s on-going commitment to design exploration, and environmental & social responsibility, has informed informed a body of work combining forward-looking and sustainable design.