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The Water House


Located on an extraordinary coastal Connecticut site, this house sits at the edge of Long Island Sound.
A four bedroom, simple plan, 1950's ranch existed on the site when the project began. Its proximity to the water would not have been replicable if not for this existing condition.

A sixty foot long window wall, eight feet high now offers an unobstructed view of the Sound. The colors and materials of the interior range from grey to white and have surface reflectivity that ranges from matte to reflective.

The north entry side has few windows because of road traffic and privacy issues.

To prevent excessive glare and create a habitable interior several large skylights were introduced on the landward side to help balance the intensity of the light bouncing off the Sound. Each of the skylights is unique based on where it occurs in the plan, but in general, the geometry of the shafts is attenuated in a way that means that sunlight rarely falls directly on surfaces below the ceiling. The light in the interior has a palpable quality-a softness-which is quite unusual.

As the sun travels across the sky it enters the house from multiple directions. The interior is muted but sharp, connected to the sea but anchored to the land, horizontal but open vertically to the expanse from sky to sea.
The wood framed house has a stucco skin. The window glazing is Solarban 60 with clear anodized aluminum frames. The copings are titanium, and the decks and terraces are flamed granite. The floors are terrazzo, painted oak and plaster and the walls are painted gypsum and Venetian plaster. The kitchen cabinets are lacquer and the counters are solid surface resin.

The Existing House - Where we started.

Robert Benson Photography