In the early 1990's, real estate developer, Coco Brown, bought a subdivision in Sagaponac, Long Island, hoping to create a community of residences designed by top architects. After discussing his plan with Richard Meier, who in turn offered to use his influence to help invite more than thirty-five internationally renowed architects for the project, the Houses at Sagaponac transformed from a dream to reality in March 2001. After architects agreed to participate, they were sent an "owner's brief," which delineated criteria such as restraint of gesture (avoiding modernist tendencies to overlook basic elements for living such as closets), modesty of size, a sense of introspection, respect for the country setting, and an unpretentious sensibility.
The result is a collection of designs for thirty-seven houses that defies the trend towards the "McMansions" springing up all over the Hamptons. On sites from 1.5 to three acres, the houses will range in size from approximately 2,000 to 4,500 square feet and in price from $1 to $3 million. In an introduction to the book, American Dream: The Houses at Sagaponac, Coco Brown writes that this development "is anti-subdivision, the opposite of the usual, shoddy conformist repetition that has made the very word subdivision a pejorative."
Showcased here are six houses currently under construction that confirm the originality of this enclave; in fact, the only similarities among the houses might be their modernity and their unabashed display of talent and experimentation. From the sleek renderings of the L-shaped house designed by Hariri & Hariri Architecture to Samuel Mockbee's colorful drawings, reminiscent of his work at the Rural Studio, (Sagaponac House 24 was his last major project), the plans for these projects possess unique visions of what a house in Sagaponac should be. All the houses were accomplished with the aid of Brown and O'Dwyer Contracting and Construction LLC and the engineering firm, Robert Silman and Associates.
Architectural Record will keep its readers informed on the progress of this first batch of Houses at Sagaponac with an update after their completion.
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