Parti Shot: Going With the Flow by Bates Masi
Hurricane Sandy took its toll on the eastern seaboard, focusing much of her fury along New York’s liquid border. Paul Masi, AIA, of East Hampton’s Bates Masi + Architects has long pondered the destruction water can wreak, but Sandy’s aftermath brought home lessons that continue to shape his firm’s current work.
For the Kiht’Han project underway in Sagaponack, the solution was to go with the flow—to build a house that water can move through and around. According to Masi, “Kiht’Han” is a Native American word meaning “from the summit, he could see the ocean.” Nonetheless, the tidal wetlands site, made available when a previous house was removed by Sandy, was never a stronghold against rogue waves. Paul needed to find a way to rise above the problem. And he did.
To appease Neptune’s ire, the new house employs elevated volumes, pulled apart and linked by glass-enclosed bridges, and cedar siding applied in contrapuntal arrangements. Starting at the base and rising to the high-water mark, the boards of the board-and-batten siding are removed to allow water flow; at the main and second levels, a closed board-and-batten pattern takes over to provide privacy; and at the roof line, the battens disappear and the boards spread like fingers grasping at the sky.
“We had to raise the house 11 feet, and we had to have two stories on top of that,” Paul explains. “We talked so much about masking it, but that couldn’t be achieved. So, we decided, let’s show it. The separate masses give you the experience of breaking out of the structure and immersing yourself in the landscape.”
KIHT’HAN, Sagaponack, N.Y.
ARCHITECT: Design principal: Paul Masi, AIA, LEED AP, Bates Masi + Architects, East Hampton, N.Y.; project team: Aaron Weil and Emily Ko
STRUCTURAL ENGINEER: Steve Maresca
LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT: Wagner Hodgson Landscape Architecture
DRAWINGS AND PHOTOGRAPHS: Bates Masi + Architects