Collection by Jaime Gillin

Visiting the Fishers Island House


While reporting the March Profile story about Thomas Phifer (see it online here), I had the opportunity to visit one of his masterworks, the Fishers Island House, located off the coast of Connecticut. Andrew Mazor of Thomas Phifer and Partners, the Project Architect, accompanied me on the day trip. The 4,600-square-foot Fishers Island House is a second home for Tom Armstrong, the director emeritus of the Whitney Museum of American Art, and his wife, Bunty. It's a pavilion-like building surrounded by three acres of lush gardens, and one of the most exquisite houses I've seen.

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Here's the ferry that took us from New London, Connecticut, to Fishers Island, a 45-minute ride.
My travel companions were Andrew Mazor, project architect at Thomas Phifer and Partners, and my good friend Mary...
After disembarking at Fishers Island, we ran into Tom Armstrong in the ferry boarding line, whose house we were about...
After bidding adieu to Armstrong, we hitched a ride to the property with Armstrong's gardener.
Here's my first glimpse of the house. You can barely see it, right? That's the point.
The structure replaced a colonial house that burned down in 2002.
The trellis—made of a solid steel base and aluminum rods—modulates the daylight streaming into the house.
On one side of the house, a reflecting pool with an infinity edge seems to run right into the ocean.
Here's a view of the reflecting pool from inside the house.
A side view of the same reflecting pool, bridged by a concrete walkway that continues the unbroken promenade that wraps...
The loft-like living space is filled with the Armstrong's collection of 20th-century abstract American paintings, small...
There's a pleasing sense of symmetry to this seating area, with a Saarinen table bracketed by a pair of Noguchi Akari...
Mazor points out the outlets inset and hidden in the ebonized floor.
"Tom’s only instruction was that he wanted to sit in his house, looking at his art and at the garden at the same time,"...
The eleven-foot-high ceilings are punctuated and pierced with skylights that are computer-generated forms.
Mazor points out the vaulted ceiling, with a subtle six-inch rise that adds a sense of volume to the space.
Armstrong designed this mossy, zen courtyard garden to mark the division between the public area of the house (the...
Here's the master bedroom. "The bed is monolithic, almost part of the architecture," Mazor observes.
Another view of the bedroom, with a skylight overhead and a row of sculptures creating a subtle privacy screen from the...
This rock, located just outside the bedroom, was already there, and Phifer kept it in place.

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