Long Island house by Young Projects reimagines local barn architecture
A Long Island house by Young Projects, Six Square House combines traditional pitched forms with unexpected curves, drawing on local barn architecture
As you enter the Hamptons, if you aren’t too distracted by the bone-white beaches and cerulean waters, you’ll start catching glimpses of the farmhouses that populate the rural landscape in this part of America. Peppered across the clustered villages at the eastern end of Long Island, these houses hint at the area’s rich agricultural history.
Playing on the area’s vernacular, the New York-based practice Young Projects has reimagined the conventional barn as a bold structure in its latest project, Six Square House. Consisting of six gabled volumes, the elegant 3,500 sq ft family home features an eclectic mix of architectural expressions.
The plan is a ‘clustered grid, which sets up an interesting dialogue between the spaces’, says Bryan Young, the founder and principal of Young Projects. It’s a symmetric pattern of squares that intersect, leaving trilateral voids that invite nature into the scheme. Five of the tessellating modules collectively provide two bedrooms, three bathrooms, a kitchen, a porch, and living areas, and enclose a triangular courtyard, while the sixth sits away from the rest, accommodating a garage. Approaching the scheme from the polished concrete path, you’re greeted by two symmetrical gables.
These elevations are ‘a false introduction to the building’. As you walk around the house, the geometry departs from the traditional pitched form and transforms into a dynamic sculpture with sweeping curves. Despite appearing three-dimensionally complex, the more fluid portions of Six Square House were simple to construct. Made from entirely straight joints, the roof is a masterful sequence of ‘ruled surfaces’.
The six volumes are skilfully wrapped in a skin of charred Accoya timber, a dark slatted façade that contrasts perfectly with the bright Western red cedar of the central courtyard’s entertaining space. This accentuates the dichotomy between the external and internal elements. From the outside, one can read each module. However, inside, there is an unexpected sense of continuity. ‘It is a smooth, unfolding interior that is embraced by the complex geometry,’ explains Young. Internally, the form of the ceiling creates a harmonious fluidity. ‘As you move through the rooms, there is this sense of spatial ambiguity,’ he continues.
Having owned the plot for several years, the client was keen that the new building emphasise the foliage that has always defined the land. Taking this into account, Young Projects teamed up with the Minneapolis-based landscape specialists Coen + Partners to sensitively choreograph intricate scenes across the site. ‘In a way, you can read the house as a lens that looks back at the garden and begins to engage you with the surrounding context; a lens that allows you to experience the surrounding environment in a way that is structured and intentional,’ explains Young.
The outdoor porch carefully captures four ginkgos, while the master bedroom enjoys a direct view of a mature beech tree. The living room volume and its corner window look out onto an oak tree as the diagonal ridgeline directs your eyes towards the farmhouse. As you move through the kitchen, past the milled island, another ginkgo can be seen in the triangular court, reinforcing the sense of nature seen throughout the scheme.
A well-orchestrated Hamptons home that ‘pushes the potential of the vernacular into unknown territory’, Six Square House both successfully acknowledges existing typologies while at the same time providing something new and refreshing. It showcases the practice’s innovative approach to the creative process, reflecting the multidisciplinary nature of Young’s work (which spans material research, furniture design and art installations) while challenging the architectural conventions of the Long Island house. §