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Peconic Bay House

American ocean, with a view

SPG Architects

Peconic Bay House
By Luca Maria Francesco Fabris -

Yet again the Hamptons are proving a place where the exquisitely American vacation home is being thoroughly reviewed. You could even say that the area of Southampton and East Hampton on the eastern section of Long Island is the equivalent in our contemporary age of the banks of the Brenta river running from Padua to Venice during the golden age of the Serenissima, the Venetian Republic. It was on these banks that the rich bourgeoisie flaunted their wealth, building villas that mirrored their arrivisme and foibles, famously captured with ineffably light-hearted yet piercing humor by the Venetian playwright Carlo Goldoni in the three comedies making up his The Holiday Trilogy. Here on the Atlantic coast, one next to the other, stand the villas of the jet-set normally based in the Big Apple; villas we are all very familiar with, even if we have never actually seen them, for they are part of our collective imagination, the backdrop of films, TV series and social events. Enormous luxury homes, they are often only occupied during the summer or for the odd weekend despite being little more than 100 km from Manhattan. They can also be reached by train. Strong timber structures, they face the ocean and bathe in the light reflected off the dunes. They are, however, often victims of stereotype, as often happens when the affluent class becomes a bit too self-absorbed, in this case aping the archetype of the historic southern-state landowner mansions of a former era, albeit grafted onto the simple cottages of fishermen who once braved the seas of the Atlantic to earn a living. It is here that the New York practice SPG Architects - founded by Caroline N. Sidnam and joined in 1994 by Eric A. Gartner - is doing a good job of defining a new compositional language for the North American holiday home, combining contemporary architectural style with research into component sustainability and environmental protection. That this is a longstanding concern of SPG is documented by the...

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