House at Sagaponac

House at Sagaponac in Southampton, New York by Marwan Al-Sayed, 2001

The Houses at Sagaponac, started by Coco Brown, president of The Brown Companies, and architect Richard Meier is a development of 34 houses in Southampton on New York's Long Island. Rather than continue the trend of "mega-mansions" typical to the Hamptons since the 90's, the development envisions modest, yet contemporary homes by well-known architects in a setting sensitive to the wooded landscape. Featured here is Phoenix, Arizona-based Marwan Al-Sayed's design for parcel #39, a prominent corner site at the entry to the development.

The south-oriented, 3,600 s.f. house, with 3 bedrooms and a study, sits in an oval clearing of the dense woods, allowing more sunlight to infiltrate the house from different angles. The rainbow colors of the linear, vaulted fins (probably clad in wood) provide a contrast with the darkness of the surrounding trees and cause changing qualities of light inside the house.

The architect approached the design of the house in a hedonistic manner, assuming it will be a second residence, a place of play and leisure. Each colored fin, then, creates a different emotional effect for the residents and their daily activities (eating, sleeping, relaxing, entertaining, etc.), while the flexible floor plan allows overlapping lighting effects.

Al Sayed's design attempts to connect the house (land) with the sun (sky), since the house is removed from natural water and surrounded by dense woods. The oval clearing, with the roof's articulation and orientation, emphasises the connection, through both landscape and building.