Obra Architects

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Female, Latinx, Asian/Pacific Islander owned

New York, NY


Centrifugal Villa

The Centrifugal Villa is arranged around a hollow center, as if the heart of the house had somehow fallen outside its body (which is not to suggest it is a house without a heart, only that it is not self-centered). The string of subsequent rooms in its interior keeps the whole together by sacrificing their individual geometric coherence to the fractured configuration of the entire composition.

The experience of the interior is marked with constantly shifting vanishing points, where alignments fold in each crease of the plan, large openings cutting dormer scoops on the roof, centrifugally release the views out to the surrounding landscape. The house, largely informed by this idea rather than a formal imposition, cannibalizes the local “vernacular,” distorting it through hexagonal introspection of the plan and a transposed proportion of the parts.

Set on a 5-acre property overlooking an agricultural reserve, the project includes a poolhouse with a separate guesthouse and garage structure. Designed as wood post-and-beam structure, the exterior cladding is detailed with vertical board and batten seams to give continuity to the building exterior and encourage a uninterrupted rhythmic flow around the elevations.

The overall massing of the project was designed to minimize itself on the landscape including porches, windows, and doors that open out onto the natural beauty of the site to encourage integrated indoor-outdoor living. With its narrow section and large dormer windows, the enjoyment and use of the house during the day requires close to no artificial lighting, and natural cross-ventilation is easily encouraged throughout the house. The conditioning systems utilize geothermal cooling and a highly efficient backup boiler.

The poolhouse is a rather simple box with a double-pitched roof, a structure that resembles a child's-drawing-of-a house, an imagined house. The proportions are careful and the windows have been positioned so as to capture some charged landscape moments happening around the structure while the blank walls exclude everything else. The poolhouse is also paired up with a twin, another volume of exactly the same size and proportions but entirely built in cedar lattice and daily overrun by the pattern of its own shade, a house of shadow that perhaps would suggest a pause to someone during those confidence-inducing sun-drunken days of summer in the Hamptons.

The project proposes an interdependence between the three different structures on the site, so they could all be used simultaneously. The distances on the site separate life into different nodes of activity with different groups of family members and guests forming and spending time together, either in the poolhouse or in the main house or in the guest house.

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Status: Built
Location: Southampton, NY, US