Saturday, October 24, 2009


What do Zaha Hadid, Richard Meier, Shigeru Ban, Hariri & Hariri and Richard Rogers have in common other than being remarkable architects? Sagaponac, an enclave of 30 architectural treasures near the Hamptons in Long Island… the vision of Harry J. Brown, which is slowly coming to fruition. What a brilliant concept, to subdivide land and create a non-cookie cutter development. Surely, if the development of all the lots was given to any of the architects involved it would be a great success, but to have all these architects indirectly cooperating on one project is magic. I’m looking forward to the progress of this development and it’s final outcomes as well as seeing a development model such as this one carried through in different scales to many places. “Brown encouraged the architects to achieve design excellence within a modest budget and scale, leading to a community by and for thinking people. The houses represent an appreciation of artistic vision and sensibility, challenging the current standards of grandiosity and repetition.”
Lot #38 led me to Sagaponac, a collaboration between Shigeru Ban and Dean Maltz reminiscent of Mies van der Rohe’s unbuilt Brick Country house. The collaboration was coined “Furniture House”, where cabinets became a modular system, much like building blocks - both structural as walls and functional as furniture. This system divides public and private spaces as well as the interior and exterior. There are so many things that I love about this house, I could probably fill an entire book. The awesome and genius space planning, all the bedrooms having a view of the serene woods, the simplicity in choice of very few materials and colors, the living room glass doors opening up completely into the woods. This detail totally blurs the boundary between interior and exterior, and its accentuated by the fireplace color mimicking the floor and the same material flooring extending from the interior outside, it all adds up to super elongating effect and subtle drama. The continuity of the ‘building blocks’ also carries through to the exterior, there is a constant and perfectly balanced push and pull between the outside and inside. This house is a perfect retreat for anybody living a modern life. Asides from the setting and views being breathtaking, all the interior and exterior areas have a purpose, they’re functional and beautiful, Everything, including art, has a place in this home, without any unnecessary fluff. Entertaining must have definitely been on Ban & Maltz’s minds while planning this home, the roof extending over the poolside exterior kitchen is fantastic, could there be a more perfect place for outdoor entertaining? I’m a firm believer that well planned and executed houses have personalities and I’d say this one has a lot of it. It’s subtle in its ways, beautiful, mature, simple, elegant, it loves the outdoors, knows how to be the center of attention while remaining modest and its highly intelligent.