Repurposed summer house – Long Island NY

A couple with 3 children, had purchased a triangular, wooded, corner lot on high ground in Amagansett, New York, on the South Shore of Long Island. They contacted MB Architecture to explore means of building a house for their summer and year-round-weekend use. The site due to its elevation, affords beautiful sunset views and light. The studio were asked to provide 4 bedrooms, 3 shareable bathrooms, kitchen and living spaces; plus, outdoor eating and recreation areas and a pool; and enough lawn area to play games.
More critically, their clients had a limited budget—significantly below prevailing construction costs.  Based on prior experience, the studio knew that conventional build construction using local labor would be prohibitively expensive so they suggested prefabricating the building off-site; and the use of shipping containers to lower cost, ease transportation, and provide the kind of design experimentation that they were open to.
Shipping containers are inherently narrow so the studio opted to stack two 40’ long x 8’ wide containers on top of two and carve out the interior floor/wall/ ceiling of half of this ‘4-pack’ unit to create a voluminous, 17’ tall, living space that would create an exciting and necessary spatial relief. To reach the second floor from this room, they chose to install a wide staircase, taking the whole width of a single container; in this manner, we extend the high living room ceiling and transform the stair itself into a kind of ‘amphitheatrical’ room that faces the backyard, pool, and sunsets—through floor-to-ceiling, wall-to-wall, windows. Yep they were super clever!
A single tall oak tree was carefully retained during construction and maintains a pivotal point anchoring the two parts of the building together. The transparent bridge connecting these two building parts is surrounded by tall grasses and shrubs creating a pleasant walk-through experience both as one travels through the bridge and as one approaches the front door of the house. Our building was installed in two days; fully completed in two months, and cost significantly and meaningfully less than prevailing building costs.


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