Perched on a south-facing tip of land surrounded by 270 degrees of water, the LIS Residence affords panoramic views of Long Island Sound. The street-facing north wall is rendered in stone with high clerestory windows, a device that serves as gate and liminal boundary to the site – defining an edge between the neighboring cluster of beach houses and the spectacular views, lawns and seascape of the site beyond. By contrast the south elevation exhibits a maximum of transparency, the architecture fully deferring to the beauty of its context. Sighting along the coast, the tops of New York City bridges and skyscrapers are visible through the seaborn haze.
Entry to the building is through a two story glass ‘puncture’ in the north wall – a programmatic insertion between existing and new / main house and master suite. The main house, though a new construction, takes shape from the foot print of an existing building: a palimpsest of multiple mid-century modern additions that was distilled into the most fundamental and iconic massing and program diagrams: old/new. It is about this juncture that the axis of the massing kinks to align with views along the jetty and the city beyond. Entry to the gardens is via a boardwalk which meanders through a ravine carved out between house and pool. Here storm water is channeled into a lush garden that spills out into the larger landscape, tracking behind the lazy promenade of the boardwalk.
Continuing the deference to site, the material palette is pragmatic and durable – a response to the unforgiving ferocity of a fully exposed coastal site. The building employs only four materials: teak, blackened stainless steel, glass and stone. The precise strategies of building, site, and materials work to embody an ethos of reverence to site – landscape, ocean, and sky are primary.
Photography by © David Sundberg/Esto
© Durston Saylor