Too often, architecture fixates on the visual sense, with little regard for the other faculties of perception. The location of this house, in the heart of a bustling resort town, demanded special consideration of the acoustic sense. Research in architectural acoustics drove the form, materials, and detail of the house, not only shielding the property from the sound of the village, but also manipulating interior details to create a unique acoustic character for the house, one that will instill lasting memories for the family and their guests.
The house is comprised of a series of parallel walls that provide layers of privacy and insulation from the sound of the village. The walls project beyond the living spaces and ascend in height, building from a human-scale wall at the entry to a high wall along the center of the house. The walls diffract the sound waves moving past them, casting an acoustic shadow over the property to create a quiet outdoor gathering area. These walls provide excellent thermal insulation and an extremely low sound transmission coefficient.
The custom stainless steel clips that attach the wide cedar board siding to the walls were designed to prolong the life of the siding. The spring-like clips hold the boards in tension against the house while allowing freedom for the natural movement of the wood. Inside, variations on the clips are utilized as robe hooks, cabinet pulls, and as hinges for an adjustable sound baffle in the central gathering space. The hinges hang cedar boards in front of a felt panel with spaces between them. The hinges allow the spacing of the boards to be adjusted so the room can be acoustically tuned for intimate gatherings or boisterous parties.
Bates Masi + Architects, a LEED accredited firm with roots in eastern Long Island for over 40
years, responds to each project with extensive research in related architectural fields,
materials, craft and the environment for unique solutions as varied as the individuals for whom
they are designed. The focus is neither the size nor the type of project but the opportunity to
enrich lives and enhance the environment. This attention to all elements of design has been a
constant in the firm's philosophy. Projects include urban and suburban residences, schools,
offices and furniture in the United States, Central America and the Caribbean, many of which
have been recognized by AIA Design Awards and numerous publications.