Combs Point Residence by Bohlin Cywinski Jackson

Combs Point Residence by Bohlin Cywinski Jackson

Asher 5:45 pm 11:20 am

Combs Point Residence by Bohlin Cywinski Jackson located in Finger Lakes, NY | The Hardt


Combs Point Residence by Bohlin Cywinski Jackson located in Finger Lakes, NY. This property had a wildness that captured the client’s interest immediately. They understood the raw beauty of Seneca Lake when they began looking for a site on the exposed eastern shoreline. A hunting lodge once sat on the site, but burned to the ground many years ago. It wasn’t until they hiked upstream, into the 100-plus acre property’s deep cut ravine that they found a waterfall, hidden within the site’s botanically diverse plant palette. It was the site’s inherent drama and ephemeral delicacy that bound the owners to this place and ultimately defined the design direction for the house and landscape.

Project Program


The project scope included a four-season weekend retreat for a family of four that supported their active life on the lake and love of the out-of-doors. In addition to three bedrooms for the main house, the architect was asked to create areas for office, exercise, and guests, in addition to a boathouse and garage. From the beginning, the Landscape Architect (LA) worked closely with the design team towards a strategy that would repair and enhance the site’s ecological function.

Site Planning


The design decision to break the program down into separate but connected structures came from the need to respond to the narrow site, the solar orientation, and the disturbed area of the old hunting lodge. The extrusion of the parts along a line of circulation, the site’s outdoor hallway, created opportunities for outdoor rooms formed by the interplay of existing trees and the framing of the space by the building walls.



The design resolution locates the primary family room on the point, like a boat, with its prow forward, exposed, and open to the drama of the seasons and the prevailing eastern winds at the water’s edge. The more private rooms of the house gather behind this front room and are more protected, nestled in the ravine. A bridge for pedestrians and the family’s all-terrain vehicle spans the creek and connects the main house to the boathouse, which sits at the water’s edge. Further still is a three-car garage on the bluff above the main building site. All cars remain high on the bluff at the garage, thereby limiting the primary circulation around the house to foot-traffic.

Landscape Strategy


The LA, the architect, and the client agreed that the site’s inherent natural beauty and ecological diversity needed to be prioritized over all other site decisions. The client stressed the desire to be responsible ecological stewards so grading was minimized to pathways and roads and the diverse plant palette carefully edited to allow the house to slip into the existing landscape.



The charge of making the site appear untouched was far more difficult to achieve than it might seem. The LA began with a comprehensive survey of the existing plants and determined that the diversity of the herbaceous groundcover was both remarkable and unusual, even in the Finger Lakes. The LA, with a staff trained in landscape architecture, arboriculture and horticulture, determined that the project sat within four existing ecological communities: Dry Upland Forest, Moist Upland Forest, Floodplain Forest, and Seasonally Inundated Wetland. The project planting plan mixed these communities into five planting zones (See Planting Zones Diagram). The plant list is composed of plants that fall within a mix of vegetation communities (See Plant List).



Plant groupings within each zone reflect variations in elevation, slope, and aspect. The most interesting lesson learned was that the shale soils change pH radically as they degrade. The tops of the relatively shallow ravine have much lower pH than the bottom. The result is extreme diversity in a small area because of the dramatic changes in soil pH, light, and weather (Seneca Lake’s deep waters moderate the temperatures on the site, so it can be snowing at the garage when there is no snow at the main house). There was not an analog upon which to model this project. Finding the appropriate plant material in nurseries proved challenging and it was difficult to find trees that blended seamlessly into the forest. The layout of the plants mimicked existing conditions so that the plants looked to be the result natural propagation in the microenvironments where they occur naturally. The careful culling or retention of existing material was an integral part of the project. Three years later, the site is healthier than ever, with bursts of trout lilies, trillium, and ferns in the early spring.

Site Forces


This is a highly volatile site and the weather extremes are felt throughout the seasons. The builder and the LA discussed in detail site drainage and water flow to save existing trees. The LA planted the slopes and pinned down dead trees to provide slope and wind erosion control during seasonal storms and to trap organic material so seedlings could grow rather than wash out. Vegetation grows easily in the fertile soils of the flatland with its high water table at 18” deep. The stream run can be violent in the spring and after heavy rains, with water elevation changing from flood stage to nearly dry throughout the year. Rather than guarding against these conditions, the design team saw these ephemeral shifts as an essential part of the experience of the place.



During the two-year planting process, it became apparent that a traditional approach to landscape management would not work. The LA wrote a meadow management plan for the different meadow areas but the plantings would require constant editing by someone who understood the plants over time and could choose which volunteers to keep and which to pull. The LA and client searched for the right person and found a botanist from Cornell University, who became so attached to the property that he now serves as a consultant that supervises the on-going site work. His discovery of a threatened New York State species on-site, Agastache nepetoides- Yellow Giant Hyssop, deepened his commitment to the place.

Materials and Site Details


All aspects of this project were carefully adapted to the site and considered for their regenerative results. The house design has a respectful relationship to the land and site, using sustainably harvested tropical wood for the boardwalk, a beach shale gravel path excavated from the shore edge of the site, New York granite paths, and beach shale splash blocks and drip lines. Through careful siting and thoughtful interplay of architectural elements, this project shows the result of a highly collaborative design process where the role of each discipline is blurred to create a simultaneously bold and ethereal composition, unique to its place and time.



Photos by Nic Lehoux



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The Inverted Warehouse/Townhouse by Dean-Wolf Architects

The Inverted Warehouse/Townhouse by Dean-Wolf Architects

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The Inverted Warehouse/Townhouse by Dean-Wolf Architects | The Hardt

The Inverted Warehouse/Townhouse by Dean-Wolf Architects is an addition and renovation of a Tribeca loft building. The existing structure, a traditional New York warehouse covers the entire lot, consuming the exterior space traditional in domestic construction. Inverting the conventional townhouse organization recovers this coveted ground. Dissipating energy into the dark center of this converted warehouse, three double story voids animate the missing “garden” of the townhouse providing light, air, and visual contemplation.

Admitting light and townhouse “garden” uses, these new spaces provide the structure for domestic life. Exterior court, reading court, and playroom are suspended into the void. Conceived as a new construction built upside down into an existing building, they dissipate a radiant energy into the host.

Self-structuring corten steel panels are suspended in the voids, their shingle style layering allowing the frameless burgundy glass to float down through the walls. The suspended corten structure extends into the double height volume of the playroom with two-story shelving. Continuing the flow of dissipating energy, the downward trajectory opens the floors of the lower levels, inserting two glass floors. Framed with rolled corten sections, they connect the spaces vertically while opening them to light. Countering the downward hanging of spaces is a courtyard layer of silicone-glazed glass, which lifts delicately to the skyline.


Consistent with the logic of inversion, the main entry is onto the fifth floor. Opening onto the tense juxtaposition of exterior and interior voids, the garden lifts to the rooftop while the stair court descends into the private spaces. Two sequences separate public and private routes through these spaces. The upward route joins the public spaces, ending in a continuous roof deck inhabiting the larger space of the city. The downward route traces the inversion into the bedrooms, playrooms, and study through the stair, culminating in the glass floors and extending a view back up through all the gardens to the sky.
© Paul Warchol


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Tribeca Loft (2013) by Andrew Franz Architect

Tribeca Loft (2013) by Andrew Franz Architect

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Tribeca Loft (2013) by Andrew Franz Architect located in a former warehouse in New York neighborhood of Tribeca | The Hardt


Tribeca Loft (2013) by Andrew Franz Architect located in a former warehouse in New York neighborhood of Tribeca. In Manhattan’s landmarked Tribeca North area, the 3,000-ft² (278 m²) top floor and roof of an 1884 caviar warehouse are reconceived as a residence with large open entertaining zones and a fluid connection with the outdoor environment. The residence is transformed by a relocated mezzanine where a sunken interior court with a retractable glass roof connects to the planted green roof garden above. This gesture of subtracting volume from the interior brings the outdoors into the primary living zones. The roof, peeled back, showers the spaces with natural light. When open, ample air flow enters what was once a poorly ventilated and dark loft. By night, the court acts as an internal lantern illuminating the loft below.




Embracing the building’s industrial past, a visual discourse between new and old is devised through insertions of modern materials along with restored or reclaimed materials from the loft. A custom steel stair repurposes timbers from the old roof joists as treads and landings. The multiple level residence is unified by a walnut fascia that serves as a conceptual datum. To add to its sustainable nature, new and energy-efficient mechanical systems and appliances are employed. The project reclaims and reuses loft materials while bringing in new, locally sourced products including the appliances, retractable glass roof, architectural metal work, and cabinetry. The new roof terrace utilizes reclaimed bluestone pavers and a majority of native plant species that require little water while insulating the environment below.


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Sam Shahid’s Apartment in Greenwich Village

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Sam Shahid’s Apartment in Greenwich Village, “As an art director, Sam Shahid composes pictures that make you stop and look: a young couple, nude, on the back of an elephant; a tangle of men engaged in a game of sexual Twister. His provocative advertisements for Calvin Klein, Banana Republic and Abercrombie & Fitch stirred controversy throughout the ’80s and ’90s, paving the way for a more open-minded approach to branding and inspiring countless imitators drawn to his spare aesthetic. Shahid, in his uniform of khakis and a crisp white shirt, describes his style as American Pure. I always use the words ‘simplicity’ and ‘direct’,  he says.

To enter Shahid’s three-story prewar apartment in Greenwich Village is to understand those words, and to get the sense that success has bought him something else: silence. In a way, it is a reaction to the demanding whirl of fashion. He has created a nearly empty setting in which even his most soul-satisfying possessions — books, art — are banished from sight behind doors that blend seamlessly with the walls. It’s as though he has chosen to contain his passions in order to clear his head and, at the same time, draw out the openness of the space.”
Cumberland Street Townhouse (2014) by Elizabeth Roberts

Cumberland Street Townhouse (2014) by Elizabeth Roberts

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Cumberland Street Townhouse (2014) by Elizabeth Roberts Architecture and Design located in Brooklyn, New York, USA | The Hardt


Cumberland Street Townhouse (2014) by Elizabeth Roberts Architecture and Design located in Brooklyn, New York, USA. The Cumberland St Townhouse is located on a park block in the neighborhood of Fort Greene in Brooklyn, NY. The house was in a dilapidated state when the owners purchased the building; the rear wall was falling down and water had been entering the building for several years.




The house was completely transformed with a new rear wall and a two-story addition at the back of the house. The addition is open to the living room above and is connected through interior steel and glass windows that mimic the two-story exterior windows. The doors at the garden open completely to create a seamless connection between the kitchen / dining level and the garden. Vines were planted in recessed planters along the 2 story party walls in the dining room–the room was designed to be an indoor-outdoor space where the garden melds with the interior spaces. The vines now cover the double-story party walls and add an organic quality to the connected interior spaces. The top of the addition serves as a private balcony for the master bedroom


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