Sunday, October 24, 2010

House in Seal Harbor : By Peter Forbes, FAIA, Architects

Seal Harbor, Maine, United States
Peter Forbes, FAIA, Architects

Post By:Kitticoon Poopong
Photos © Fuji'iMage/Wayne NT Fuji'i
Faced with the task of building a new residence on the scenic coast of Seal Harbor, Maine—a pristine area which includes Acadia National Park and hosts the summer retreats of prominent families such as the Rockefellers—some architects would feel compelled to mimic the surrounding Victorian shingle-style homes. Not so for architect Peter Forbes. “The most recently built residences are simply copies of the older houses,” Forbes says. “For this project we wanted to create something that is conversant with the area without being yet another imitation.” The architect's pursuit to reference the vernacular while adding a modern twist has resulted in a house that, while maximizing the views, minimizes the impact on its surroundings.

Photos © Fuji'iMage/Wayne NT Fuji'i
An overriding aim of the design and construction of the house was to tread as lightly as possible on the rocky coastal land. The house is elevated above the ground to avoid disturbing the vegetation as well as the flow of water that nourishes it. “The environment is extremely fragile,” explains Forbes, “Any disturbance on the forest floor will be seen for decades, due to the lack of soil.” Even during construction, the architect was wary of the impact on the land and was careful to restrict work zones for builders and machinery.

Photos © Fuji'iMage/Wayne NT Fuji'i
With a core of structural steel and a façade that graduates from opaque to transparent, the house exploits its natural environment while, at the same time, respecting it. At 6,630-square-feet, this is no cottage, but the architect minimized its bulk and reduced its visual impact through clever camouflaging. In one example, a portion of the dual-winged, multi-level residence has an undulating wall clad in cedar shingles stained to match the lichen on surrounding rocks. The architect also points out that there is no large-scale, grand entrance. "You need to discover the front door,” he says.

Photos © Fuji'iMage/Wayne NT Fuji'i
The program includes two basic zones: the master bedroom, study, and living areas are clustered in one wing, while the other wing contains four guest bedrooms and additional living spaces. In yet another departure from the design of the surrounding homes that commonly suffer from a lack of natural lighting, Forbes connected the two wings with a clerestory walkway. “The house is tall and the clerestory helps to pull down light that is filtered throughout the house,” he says. In the living room, glass walls that slide open add to the abundance of natural light and transform the room into an outdoor space. But Forbes did not completely dismiss traditional regional elements. As a nod to the area's pervading architecture, he created private balconies for each bedroom.

http://archrecord.construction.com/projects/residential/archives/images/0507e_lg.jpgPhotos © Fuji'iMage/Wayne NT Fuji'i
The architect describes the house as being a kinetic experience—that is, to truly feel its impact, one must move through it, if only with a glance. For instance, from the back deck one is able to look through the living room, under a staircase, and back outside. It is details like these, Forbes points out, that create a mutually-beneficial relationship between the residence and its site. “Due to the house’s layers of transparency," he says, "there is a lot of ambiguity of what is inside and what is outside.”

First Floor Plan
Second Floor Plan

Gross square footage:
6,630 ft. sq.

the People
Tom Maniatis
Peter Forbes, FAIA, Architects
12 Main Street
Seal Harbor, ME 04675
207.276.0970 T
207.276.0971 F
Zaldastani Associates, Inc.
130 Bishop Allen Drive
Cambridge, MA 02139
Michael Boucher Landscape Architecture
4 South Street
Freeport, ME 04032
Archiglaze International
Via 4 Novembre, 11
Montespertoli, Italy 50025
General contractor
Bond Builders, Inc.
PO Box 155
Hulls Cove, ME 04664
Fuji’iMage/Wayne NT Fuji’i
273 Piper Hill Road
Weston, VT 05161
802.824.6123 T
CAD system, project management, or other software used
AutoCAD www.autodesk.com

the Products
Structural system
Structural steel core
Exterior cladding
Metal/glass curtainwall:
Butt glazed curtain wall with custom stainless steel components by Archiglaze International
Wood shingles, dipped; Beadboard, painted
Lead-coated copper, standing seam
Wood shingles, dipped
Custom windows by Details in Wood;
Marvin www.marvin.com
Modu-Line www.modu-line.com
Custom designed system of butt glazing with aluminum components
Marvin www.marvin.com; U.S. Aluminum www.usalum.com
Metal doors:
U.S. Aluminum www.usalum.com
Sliding doors:
Duratherm www.durathermwindow.com
FSB www.fsbusa.com
Hager www.hagerhinge.com
FSB www.fsbusa.com; Hafele www.haefele.com
Cabinet hardware:
Boffi www.boffi.com
Interior finishes
Cabinetwork and custom woodwork:
Cherry and oak cabinetry by Details in Wood in dining room and guest bathrooms; Kitchen cabinetry by Boffi www.boffi.com; Master bathroom cherry cabinetry by M. L. Pettegrow
Paints and stains:
Benjamin Moore www.benjaminmoore.com; George Kirby, Jr. Paint Co. www.kirbypaint.com
Horizontal Beadboard, painted
Floor and wall tile:
Jonesboro granite in master bathrooms floors and walls and entry floor; 2x2 white ceramic tile in guest bathrooms
Le Corbusier Villa Church chairs and 2 seat sofas by Matrix; Dining room chairs by Thomas Moser Cabinetmakers www.thomasmoser.com
Eileen Gray end tables; Dining room table by Thomas Moser Cabinetmakers www.thomasmoser.com
Interior ambient lighting:
Eureka www.eurekalighting.com; Lightolier www.lightolier.com; Flos www.flos.net; Bruck www.brucklightingsystems.com; AAMSCO www.aamsco.com
Prescolite www.prescolite.com
Task lighting:
Flos www.flos.net
Bega www.bega-us.com
Leviton www.leviton.com
Low-Flush Toilets:
Kohler www.kohler.com
Kitchen Sinks:
Boffi www.boffi.com
Kitchen Faucets:
Boffi www.boffi.com
Bathroom Sinks:
Kohler www.kohler.com
Bathroom Faucets:
Vola www.vola.dk
Master Bathroom Sinks:
Custom travertine by Peter Forbes, FAIA, Architects
Shower Basins:
Ceramica Flaminia www.ceramicaflaminia.it
Shower Mixers:
Vola www.vola.dk
Shower Heads:
Vola www.vola.dk; Speakman www.speakmancompany.com
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