The principal strategy for the home stems from the utilitarian practice of hanging boats and other items from the station’s wooden post and beam structure. In a modern reinterpretation, the residence features an exposed steel structure which defines the main living spaces and forms a framework onto which other functions can be hung: the main stair is strung from beams above, and the rods used to support each tread serve as guardrail for the stair; a wood burning stove sits on a suspended steel shelf; light fixtures are fastened to the flanges using standard beam clamps; a swinging chair hangs from the cantilevered living area above.
On the exterior, a system of bronze bars was developed to hang the thick cedar siding boards in place without fastening through the wood, allowing the boards to expand and contract naturally with changes of temperature and humidity. Like the weathered cedar shingles on the Station across the street, each material—cedar, bronze, and weathering steel—was chosen for its proven durability in the coastal climate.
As each material weathers over time, the appearance of the siding will record the cycles of rain, sun, freeze and thaw: cedar will lighten from the sun; bronze bars will patina to dark brown and eventually turn green; weathering steel will develop a deep rusted texture on the surface which protects it from further corrosion by the salty air.
The weathering steel around the base of the building marks the height the home was raised above the flood plane. To minimize the impact of the footprint on the sensitive ecological environment, the main living area is stacked above the bedrooms, and, like the lookout towers of the stations, an even higher roof deck provides elevated views of ocean. By taking cues from the historic lifesaving station, the home responds to the environmental and historical context. In so doing, it honors the local heritage and enriches the present day experience.
Architects: Bates Masi + Architects
Location: Amagansett, New York
Contractor: K. Romeo Inc.
Lot size: .3 acres
Building size: 2,300 sq. ft.
Photographer: Bates Masi + Architects