Southampton, New York
Tucked between Mecox Bay and the Atlantic Ocean, this property boasts spectacular views, but it is also subject to stringent building restrictions on the ocean side. Because of this, the northern half of the property, the portion facing Mecox Bay, was the focus of the project. The original house was demolished, and a contemporary design by Stelle Lomont Rouhani Architects was constructed on its footprint. Between the house and the shore, the architects added a two-story structure accommodating an art studio and a garage on the ground floor and a pool house above. To connect the ecology of the shore with the interior landscape and to avoid blocking the view of Mecox Bay from the house, the walls of the pool house were made of glass.
FEMA regulations discourage adding fill to properties within the flood plain, but there is an exception for covering a septic field. In this case, the septic field is between the house and the new pavilion so it was possible to raise the level of that area to accommodate a swimming pool and surrounding deck with direct access to the pool house.
An adjacent parking area was set at a slightly lower level with a Corten steel retaining wall. This was surfaced with blocks set in turf to present a green appearance that would visually recede into the landscape.
The area between the house and the infinity edge pool was developed as a flowering perennial meadow so that the pool house seems to nestle onto a plain of grasses and flowers. Principally native plants were used in and around the meadow—switchgrass, bayberry, and red cedar. By introducing nature into the landscape this way, the line between developed and undeveloped is blurred, and the compact landscape acquires a spacious feel.