Parti Shot: Morris Cove by Bates Masi + Architects

Rising waters will eventually inundate many desirable seaside locations, and there are as many ideas about how to cope with this new reality as there are clients who still want to enjoy those properties. Previous flooding events on this site in Sag Harbor, New York, had all but consumed an existing house built directly on the ground. “Soil tests for the site told us it was basically just a sandbar,” says Paul Masi, AIA. 

There was no question that any new build on the property would need to be elevated out of harm’s way and because, as Paul notes, “that doesn’t give you relief from height restrictions,” the decision of a one-story house was also predetermined. 

While these were important drivers of the design, the biggest was managing heavy rain events on site. “Unless you are controlling the rainfall, you are just eroding the site,” the architect says. The firm’s solution was to pull the program apart into a series of five pavilions with small courtyards between them. 

During substantial rains, the modified butterfly roof will guide water into the courtyards for retention. “The courtyards are elevated above the ground and will hold the rainwater until groundwater is absorbed, and then release it into aquifer.” All mechanicals will be located high above floodwaters in a thickened section of the artful roof. Says Paul, “It’s taking a problem and celebrating it.”

Morris Cove

Sag Harbor, New York

Architect: Paul Masi, AIA; Aaron Weil, AIA, Bates Masi + Architects, East Hampton, New York

Builder: Men at Work Construction, Wainscott, New York

Project size: 3,330 square feet

Site size: 1.067 acres

Renderings/models: Bates Masi + Architects

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