Monday, April 12, 2010

Long Beach Cottage

Long Beach Cottage in Long Beach, New York by Resolution: 4 Architecture

A contemporary design in the recent exhibition Arcadia/Suburbia: The Modern House on Long Island 1930-2010 at the Heckscher Museum is the Long Beach Cottage by Resolution 4: Architecture (RES4). "Charting the coeval development of Modernism and Suburbia, the show considers works by prominent architects such as Frank Lloyd Wright, Marcel Breuer, Philip Johnson, Paul Rudolph and John Hejduk," a mix of high-end custom designs and innovaitve model homes. RES4's cottage in Long Beach, currently on the boards, is certainly an example of the latter.

The site is a narrow lot (20' x 90') fronting the Atlantic Ocean, on the edge of a dense residential neighborhood. Two concerns drive the 1,700sf prefab house's design: the reuse of an existing foundation of a 700sf cottage, and an easement across the site that bisects the property in two. The second floor therefore extends beyond the first floor; the latter includes the living areas and the former a media room, a couple bedrooms and ancillary spaces. The roof terrace features a canopy with photovoltaics, creating shade and energy at the same time.

Inside the open living/dining/kitchen space is highlighted by a full wall of custom millwork opposite a wall of floor-to-ceiling glass with sliding doors for ventilation. (A bamboo screen offers privacy from the neighbors only steps away.) The stair is tucked behind the kitchen, reinforcing the importance of the view towards the beach and water. Overall it is a fairly straightforward floor plan, suitable for a vacation home, but also a product of the site constraints and "The Modern Modular" that RES4 has devoted much effort.

The Long Beach Cottage recalls a Mountain Retreat previously featured on this page; both are configurations of the modular bars that can be stacked, turned, shifted, depending on site, program, etc. This cottage's "kit of parts" features three boxes and a panelized storage area (under the second floor extension). As the architects describe The Modern Modular, the prefabricated construction "offers an option of Mass Customization to the fabric of the American domestic sub-urban landscape," making it a perfect fit in Arcadia/Suburbia and this narrow slice of land on Long Beach.