Bruce Nagel + Partners Architects

Water Mill Hilltop


Bruce D. Nagel Architect

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The Abelson House is a single family residence located in Water Mill, New York in which both tradition and modernism are made to be a part of a weekend house.

Situated on Elevation 220, the House occupies one of the highest points in eastern Long Island, permitting panoramic views of the South Fork from the Atlantic Ocean to the south to the Peconic Bay to the north.

Reached by a sweeping, steeply inclined drive, the house stands on the crest of the hill high above the trees in its surrounding clearing.

The major space of the house is the living room, which is a single large cubic volume placed squarely on the site to address the ocean view through up scaled windows on its south face.

As the living room receives the thrust of the vehicular drive, the front walk and the framed and canopied entry porch, it is the culmination of the entrance procession.

The living room is also the anchor for the internal circulation stem set perpendicular to it and the main view, and along which the remaining spaces are arrayed from east to west, thereby establishing the structure of the house on the site.

Although the house has about it a sense of formally separate rooms (the kitchen, for instance, is by choice apart and does not open on to the dining room), the circulation layer clearly isolates the compartmentalized servant spaces in the northern zone of the house from the group of served major spaces to the south - the living and dining rooms and the pool deck,' which relate to each other with a more modern special overlap.

Nevertheless, although the double fireplace with its chimney punctuation is the only separation between living and dining areas, the intent is that each retain their specific associational character - the living room a sort of baronial hall overlooked by the bedroom passage balcony, the dining room a glazed conservatory to the pool deck beyond, and the pool deck itself a grand, broad, walled hilltop terrace to the castle keep.

Apart from the rest at the end of the children's bedroom hall, the master bedroom is the only space given all the views. Like a tower room, it is an aerie in the sky.