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Genius Loci 

Photographer: Michael Moran 

Architect/Designer: Bates Masi + Architects

Client: Bates Masi + Architects

Location: Montauk, NY

Shoot Date: 
October 01, 2010 
The house responds to the site context and strengthens the “spirit of place.” Formerly a horse ranch, the rolling green pasture of the site is located at one of the highest elevations in Montauk. The extensive program is terraced and embedded into the steep slope of the hill without compromising access to the exterior or natural light. Approaching from the south, the house appears to be two modest and separate one-story ranch houses. Circling around to the north, the house unfolds to reveal a more extensive project. In this case, the conventional Montauk building typology of the low-pitched gabled roof is modified by the geometries of the allowable building envelope and height restrictions of the site. The geometric anomaly is apparent upon entry and it is unexpectedly clear that the ridge is offset and the walls converge, directing one’s view west to the lake. The optical illusion caused by the parabolic roof is visible on the South side and entices a second look, as do numerous other details.
Architectural details throughout the house occur at unexpected moments. A wood screen covered bridge unifies the two separate cedar shingle clad volumes, allowing light into the grass paver courtyard below. The cedar screen of the bridge reads differently from day to night. It appears flat during the day, but, as darkness falls, light seeps out in an undulating pattern showing the wedge shape cut in the back of the boards. In front of several clerestory windows, a milled bluestone screen is similarly detailed. The stone appears weightless as alternating stones are removed from the stone wall pattern to let light into the guest area. These unexpected details reinforce the larger idea of capturing the unexpected. 
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