subscribe
free e-newsletter free e-newsletter
product info
advertise
FAQ
SUBSCRIBE TODAY
for premium web access
comment

Montauk Compound

Montauk, NY
Pentagram

Case Study Houses inspire Montauk Compound

By Jane F. Kolleeny - This is an excerpt of an article from the October 2007 edition of Architectural Record.

Jim Biber, FAIA, worked with his clients for seven years on this residential compound on a ridge overlooking the Atlantic Ocean in Montauk, New York. But instead of being exhausted by the long process, with its delays in approvals and construction, everyone involved in the project readily admitted their love for design kept them motivated and engaged from start to finish. Biber, a partner at the international design firm Pentagram, has designed 12 projects for the clients, a couple, including this one. He describes the clients as more patrons than owners. They in turn have succinctly presented their point of view: “We could buy a Picasso, but this was a lot more fun.”

Photo: © Jane F. Kolleeny
Rate this project:
Based on what you have seen and read about this project, how would you grade it? Use the stars below to indicate your assessment, five stars being the highest rating.
----- Advertising -----

Inspiration for the project came from Midcentury Modernism, in particular the Case Study Houses program, run by Arts & Architecture magazine in the 1940s, ’50s, and ’60s.

At the beginning of the project in 1999, the architect and owners took a guided tour, organized by the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, of Modern postwar houses in Los Angeles and Palm Springs, California. The trip allowed them to expand their knowledge and develop a common vocabulary, which became the basis for communication during the design process.

The site created enormous challenges and opportunities. Working with two contiguous, 2-acre building lots with zoning and easement restrictions, and limitations imposed by the bluffs, the deep beach, and neighbors on both sides, the architect used the restraints to evolve the design gradually. “With the goal of a porous outdoor room, boundaries were developed over time. The impact of the main house became clear, and the neighbors built a house overlooking the property. Like a chess game, each move was a reaction to the previous one, with a big idea in mind,” explained project manager Michael Zweck-Bronner.

The low-slung, 7,192-square-foot main house consists of two back-to-back L-shaped sections: a glass-and-steel unit in the front containing the living, dining, and kitchen areas; and in the back, a more densely packed private wing with a master-bedroom/sitting-room suite and a guest suite. A tiny second-story study tops the house, and a full basement contains a screening room, gym, darkroom, and utility areas.

Across the courtyard, the architect raised the 2,475-square-foot guesthouse one story above ground and gave it a vibrant yellow circular outdoor stair.

share: more »

 Reader Comments:

Sign in to Comment

To write a comment about this story, please sign in. If this is your first time commenting on this site, you will be required to fill out a brief registration form. Your public username will be the beginning of the email address that you enter into the form (everything before the @ symbol). Other than that, none of the information that you enter will be publically displayed.

We welcome comments from all points of view. Off-topic or abusive comments, however, will be removed at the editors’ discretion.

----- Advertising -----
Reader Feedback
Most Commented Most Recommended
Rankings reflect comments made in the past 14 days
Rankings reflect comments made in the past 14 days
View all
----- Advertising -----