THE NECKLACE RESIDENCE
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
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 3,800 m² (41,300 sf)
STATUS Invited competition 2013; first prize 2013; completed Construction Documents 2018; commenced site mobilization 2018; completion expected 2021
DESIGN ARCHITECT REX
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
EXECUTIVE ARCHITECT AVGA
CONSULTANTS ACS, ASW, CSI, Front, LaGuardia Landscape Architecture, Kean Development, Knippers Helbig, Severud Associates, Sidney Bowne, Tillotson Design Associates
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.
To create a structure where each home can be experienced autonomously and as a component of a larger domestic network, the residence’s program…
…is organized into a necklace…
…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.
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.
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,…
…creating a treehouse experience for its residents.
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.”
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.
In the Event Pavilion, the wood wall transforms into a ceremonial stair,…
…which connects the seven upper gems to the below-grade spaces, descending directly into the wine bar on Level -1.
In the Entertainment Pavilion, the wood wall…
…morphs into a bar, library, and study.
The Entertainment Pavilion’s object also extends below the house to form a stair—with an interior mud room—connecting to the forest.
Plan Level -2
Plan Level -1
Plan Level 1
Plan Level 2
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