Necklace Residence, designed by REX.
REX_Necklace Residence_01_Forest Day Render_credit Luxigon

Long Island, New York

KEY AWARDS Architizer A+ Awards, Finalist in Unbuilt-Private House, 2019; Global Architecture & Design Awards, 2nd Place in Housing Category, 2018; German Design Award, Special Mention in Architecture Category, 2018; Architect’s Newspaper, Best of Design Award in Unbuilt Residential Category, 2017
CLIENT Confidential
PROGRAM Private residence for a patriarch and his four children’s future families, including parents’ home, four children’s homes, and (A-Z) bar, billiards, children’s play space, event space, garage, gym, home cinema, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, library, spa, staff support areas, study, and wine cellar
AREA 4,050 m² (43,600 sf)
COST Confidential
STATUS Invited competition 2013; first prize 2013; commenced construction 2020; completion expected 2026
PERSONNEL Julie Bauer, Tim Burwell, Maur Dessauvage, Shereen Doummar, Mahasti Fakourbayat, Alysen Hiller Fiore (PL), Gabriel Jewell-Vitale, James Kehl, James Killeavy, Min Kim, Elizabeth Nichols, Kelsey Olafson, Joshua Ramus, Raúl Rodríguez García (PL), Emma Silverblatt, Elina Spruza Chizmar (PL), Michele Tonizzo, Vaidotas Vaiciulis, Michael Volk, Danny Wei
COMPETITION TEAM Alberto Cumerlato, Mette Fast, Tyler Hopf, Gabriel Jewell-Vitale, Joshua Ramus, Elina Spruza Chizmar (PL), Aude Soffer, Minyoung Song, Cristina Webb
CONSULTANTS ACS, Altieri, CSI, Front, LaGuardia, Knippers Helbig, Severud, Sidney Bowne, Tillotson

A visualization of the Necklace Residence courtyard.
REX_Necklace Residence_02_Courtyard Render_credit Luxigon

A diagram of the Necklace Residence organization.
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A patriarch dreams of building a family residence—“a jewel box for individual lifestyles”—in which he, his wife, his four children, and each of their four families will reside. Three of the children are currently too young to have families of their own, or to define their future needs and desires. A building concept is therefore required that can accommodate families who do and do not yet exist.

The patriarch’s other major wishes are that the ensemble of five homes have the architectural integrity of a single building, that the building look as though it has always been part of the site, and that it incorporate a ceremonial stair.

A diagram of the program of Necklace Residence.
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To create a structure where each home can be experienced autonomously and as a component of a larger domestic network, the residence’s program…

A diagram of the program of Necklace Residence.
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…is organized into a necklace…

A diagram of the organization of Necklace Residence.
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…whose gems consist of the five homes and two shared pavilions: an event space and an entertainment space (including bar, billiards, library, and study). A second and third tier beneath the main level includes a garage, a gym, a home cinema, an indoor swimming pool, a staff area, a spa, and a wine cellar.

A diagram of the Necklace Residence site concept.
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The extraordinary site commands views out to Long Island Sound from a high bluff on one side, and into a dense, old-growth forest on the other. Straddling the line between these radically different landscapes, the necklace achieves a residential Holy Grail, existing simultaneously at the beach and in the woods. Each of the five homes is thereby afforded different site experiences: ocean, forest, or half-and-half.

A section of Necklace Residence.
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While the ocean side of the residence is on grade, its forest side extends horizontally into the tree canopy due to the site’s steep drop-off, …

A visualization of the Necklace Residence interior.
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…creating a treehouse experience for its residents.

A diagram of the Necklace Residence living typologies.
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To address the possible needs and proclivities of families who do not yet exist, each of the five homes embraces a distinct living typology: ‘U’ House, Checkerboard House, Stripe House, Barcode House, and Dice House (all based on archetypal American houses.)

Should the four children and their families live permanently at the residence, this palette of homes will provide them options that can accommodate their lifestyle preferences. Should they only make frequent visits to the residence, they can enjoy different architectural and site experiences upon each stay.

The residence’s exterior is wrapped in mirror glass such that upon approach, the building disappears into the site. The effect reduces the perception of the structure’s large mass, and by looking like it is not there at all, actually achieves the patriarch’s desire for a structure that “looks as if it has always been part of the site.”

A visualization of the Necklace Residence courtyard.
REX_Necklace Residence_12_Stair Exterior Render 1_credit Luxigon

Driving under the residence’s elevated components, one enters the courtyard: a secret garden of Quaking Aspen surrounded by a ring of clear glass with a circular walkway behind, which ties this three-generational-family campus together visually.

Overlooking the courtyard garden, the circular walkway is the physical connector for all the residence’s gems. It is lined by a simple cherrywood wall that morphs into functional yet playful, ribbon-like objects—as if sculpted or rolled by hand—within the Event Pavilion (seen above from across the courtyard) and Entertainment Pavillion. The wood wall is divided into full-height, pivoting panels that can open each home up, or close them off, when families want to engage each other or want privacy. 

A visualization of the Necklace Residence sculptural stair.
REX_Necklace Residence_13_Stair Render 1_credit Luxigon

In the Event Pavilion, the wood wall transforms into a ceremonial stair, …

A section showing the Necklace Residence sculptural stair.
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…which connects  the seven upper gems to the below-grade spaces, descending directly into the wine bar on Level -1.

A visualization of the Necklace Residence courtyard.
REX_Necklace Residence_15_Stair Exterior Render 2_credit Luxigon

In the Entertainment Pavilion, the wood wall…

A visualization of the Necklace Residence sculptural stair.
REX_Necklace Residence_16_Stair Render 2_credit Luxigon

…morphs into a bar, library, and study.

A section showing the Necklace Residence sculptural stair.
REX_Necklace Residence_17_Stair Section 2

The Entertainment Pavilion’s object also extends below the house to form a stair—with an interior mud room—connecting to the forest.

Necklace Residence Plan Level -2.
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Plan Level -2

Necklace Residence Plan Level -1.
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Plan Level -1

Necklace Residence Plan Level 1.
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Plan Level 1

Necklace Residence Plan Level 2.
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Plan Level 2

A visualization of the Necklace Residence at night.
REX_Necklace Residence_22_Forest Night Render_credit Luxigon

The Necklace Residence is the realization of the patriarch’s dream: a family haven, whose horizontality, reflectivity, and transparency integrate it ‘naturally’ into the landscape, and exalt the duality of its majestic site.

Image Credits: 1, 2, 12, 13, 15, 16, 22: Luxigon

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