Lake Residence, Upstate New York

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Lake Residence, Upstate New York
Lake Residence, Upstate New York On this private island in a lake just north of New York City, a large, grey, granite rock over 60 feet in length breaches the brown leaf mulch and forms the entry wall of this concrete and stone house. Named the "Whale Rock" by the Owner, it is situated on a sunny point at the southwest corner of the 12 acre island. Neither roads nor bridges bring automobiles to the door, so it's accessible only by boat or hovercraft. The strength of the roof makes it possible for helicopters that may land on the roof. With no roads nor bridges to the island, the materials for the 600 cubic yards of concrete were driven out over the frozen lake. The construction crews took a short boat trip every morning and evening, some even camping on the island. Work was generally suspended during the harsh winters. There could be no joints in the Living Room structural floor slab. Eight small electric concrete mixers were used to prepare the concrete. With the use of a concrete pump the mixture was placed over a continuous 36-hour process. As sound travels well over water. noise had to be kept to a minimum to not disturb the island's neighbors. An equilateral triangle that is 5 feet on each side is the unit system etched into the floors throughout the house. The view from the 78 foot long Living Room cantilever is like that of a ship, only water can be seen in the 270 degree sweep at the point. Smaller stones from the island's beaches are set into the concrete walls both inside and out. Freestanding and built-in furniture, doors, windows, paneling, all in Mahogany, complete the construction palette and provide the final finishes. A four-foot embossed copper fascia trims the living room. A two-foot fascia surrounds the Master Bedroom on the West and the three smaller Bedrooms on the East. Supported by the fireplace shaft, the two-foot thick colored concrete Living Room floor is post-tensioned. After docking the boat and ascending the red stairs alongside the Master Bedroom, you reach the Pool Patio. To the right is a short run of down stairs, ducking under the copper fascia to the double entry door. The doors and windows are all set to the standard six foot eight inch head height. Three methods that bring architectural drama to a building are: constricting/explosion of space, changes in horizontal planes, and lighting. The space expands dramatically once inside and under the post-tensioned concrete frame of the 1,500 square foot skylight. The Whale Rock is at its full height below the skylight where it supports the skylight structure. It also forms the wall of the Kitchen as it leads towards the Dining Room. Below the skylight, you see all the major spaces. There are no walls between them, only changes in elevation and materials. The variety of spatial experiences are complex. They are created simply by weaving two ceiling planes and the two floor planes. Light and shadow mold the spaces and define them. The Living Room has windows on three sides and the Library has none. As a result, the house offers a variety of contrasts. Rooms are organized to separate the three children’s Bedrooms from the Master Bedroom. The Kitchen is at the center and adjacent to the Dining Room but not separated from the Living Room. Balconies border the Living Room and the Dining Room overlooking the water. Four inch insulation is covered by an interior and exterior of four inches of concrete and stone. The roof has four inches of insulation on the ceiling side with 6 to 8 inches of concrete deck above. The walls that are not vertical are pitched at a ten-degree angle, as are all of the copper soffits and the beige balconies. With a set of 23 white double-dome, triangular skylights and the extensive insulation, the construction passed the New York State Energy Code requirements. Critical overhangs expose the interior to sunlight throughout the winter while providing shade all summer, avoiding solar heat gain. Drinking water comes through a filter directly from the lake. The melding of the house and site make each the better for the other.


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Building Activity

  • OpenBuildings
    OpenBuildings added a digital reference
    about 6 years ago via
  • John Plummer
    John Plummer commented
    Have floated past this home on several. Occasions. Amazing! Missed the tour last month but, will try again next time.
    about 6 years ago via Mobile
  • added 2 digital references
    about 6 years ago via