An Energy-Efficient Glass House in East Hampton Shifts With the Seasons

An Energy-Efficient Glass House in East Hampton Shifts With the Seasons

By Kathryn M.
A modest composition of wood, glass, and concrete, the Wuehrer House in Amagansett allows forest views to take center stage.

Tucked away in the East Hampton town of Amagansett, the Wuehrer House is a striking holiday home of glass and wood. Designed by New York architect Jerome Engelking for his Austrian in-laws, who use it as a family retreat, the 2,500-square-foot dwelling rests gently on a sloping forest clearing and is encompassed by serene nature preserves.

Rectangular in plan, the one-level Wuehrer House sits on a secluded forest clearing in the seaside village of Amagansett in the East End of Long Island, New York.

The holiday home has been configured using a series of "dematerialized" modules, which "highlights the tactile qualities of the carefully curated palette of materials: unadorned wood, glass, and concrete."

Screened by white oaks, a few eastern red cedars, and the occasional pitch pine, the home is accessed by a long, private gravel path. To maximize the tranquil setting, Engelking explains that "the design of the house mutes architectural metaphors, avoids overt symbolism, and conceives of a contemplative structure that is simple, discreet, rational, and generously open to the surrounding landscape."

From its minimal use of materials to its simple yet elegant geometry, the home effortlessly blends the use of modular fabrication with the craft of traditional construction methods.

With floor-to-ceiling glazing lining the home, fluctuations in light and shifting seasons affect the interior environment.

Stretching across one level, the home has been created from a unique, "dematerialized" module. Reducing the dwelling down to its outer frame, this subtractive strategy assists in showcasing the primary ingredients in the palette of materials: unadorned wood, glass, and concrete. 

Clad in textured timber, the interior ceilings allow the structural material to speak for itself, while also providing a warm contrast to the minimal design.

"The structure is made of a high-quality, high-strength southern yellow pine, laminated and milled into beams and columns with highly precise profiles," explains the architect. "The Canadian manufacturer IC2 was one of the few companies that was able to combine facade mullions with the columns of the house into one slender glulam element."

"The design of the house balances the use of modular fabrication and the craft of traditional construction methods," states Engelking. "With its simple geometry and minimal use of materials, natural light becomes the prominent element defining the space, celebrating the ever-changing seasons and the remarkable wooded vistas."

A slender, black, double-sided fireplace distinguishes the living room from the dining area.

Wood finishes continue into the light-filled kitchen, which is just steps away from the pool.

To create a low-energy house, several passive environmental strategies have been incorporated into the home, including a heated floor system and exterior automated wood blinds. "Natural air ventilation in every room and cross-ventilation between opposite facades keeps the need for air conditioning to a minimum," explains the architect. 

Natural light creates playful compositions on the fractured wall planes, while also changing the tones of the living spaces throughout the day.

Stretching across 2,500 square feet, the dwelling is divided into two zones. The living areas are housed on the west side, while more private quarters—including the master suite—are sited on the eastern part of the house.  

A peek at the Wuehrer House glowing gorgeously at night.

Related Reading: 50 Jaw-Dropping Glass Houses That Shatter Expectations

Project Credits:

Design Architect: Jerome Engelking / @jerome.engelking 

Architect of Record: Kirsten Youngren, R.A. 

Structural Engineer: Stutzki Engineering

Cabinetry Design: Minimal USA

Structural Façade Manufacturer: IC2 Technologies

Exterior Wooden Blinds: Skirpus

Photography: Nic Lehoux / @nic.lehoux


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