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Morris Cove

Bates Masi + Architects

Sag Harbor, NY, United States

September 2022


Paul Masi (Lead Architect)


Aaron Weil (Project Architect, Bates Masi + Architects), Men at Work Construction Corp (General Contractor), Steven Maresca (Structural Engineer), Stimson Studio (Landscape Architects)


Wayward Partners LLC


Bates Masi + Architects


The mass of the house is broken into 5 pavilions containing the private functions: primary suite, 2 guest suites, kitchen, and family room. The interiors of these pavilions share an intimate ceiling height and palette of materials: plaster walls and bleached oak floors and ceilings. Each volume is centered around a courtyard with a unique garden design. Like terrariums, the intimate gardens contrast the wildness and openness of the outside landscape. Roof runoff is directed into the garden courtyards rather than being hidden in downspouts. In light rain the runoff trickles down the copper siding leaving patina patterns over time. In heavy rain, it arcs down into the gardens in dramatic streams.

Beyond enhancing the experience, the home’s components have practical functions as well. The folded form of the roof structure creates the necessary depth to house mechanical equipment safely above storm surges, and its form directs runoff into the courtyards.

By designing the building elements with both functional purpose and experiential meaning, the home aspires to improve its environment and further deepen the owners appreciation of it.


A family whose love of this special place makes them stewards of the site more than just owners of it, wanted to build a guest house on a narrow peninsula with spectacular views and access to the water on all sides. Their deep connection to this place inspired a design that not only enhances their experience of the site, but improves it in tangible ways by reducing erosion, mitigating flood risk, and improving water quality. The design solution is a series of discrete pavilions with an overarching roof structure. The spaces between the pavilions are adaptable based on the environmental conditions, creating unique experiences that change with the weather and seasons. Meanwhile, the roof and the courtyards at the center of each pavilion functionally improve the hydrodynamics of the site.


The courtyard foundations, concrete retaining wall rings set on piles and elevated 3’ above the grade, have multiple functions. They act as piers upon which the elevated house sits, reducing the footprint of the house on the ground and minimizing the floodwater it displaces in a storm. The gardens within each courtyard function as rainwater storage and filtering devices, preventing erosion and improving groundwater quality. Layers of soil, gravel, and sand in the gardens quickly accept a large volume of roof runoff but slowly filter and disperse it into the aquifer only after the storm subsides.

The intimacy of the courtyards and private pavilions is contrasted by the openness of the public spaces between them, as well as their connection to the landscape. The roof structure sits atop the pavilion structures creating a higher ceiling height in the interstitial spaces. The outside walls of these spaces are operable glass doors that completely disappear into the walls when the weather allows, dissolving the barrier to the outside. In this configuration the public living space becomes a seamless extension of the exterior deck, the private pavilions become individual cabins in the landscape, and the halls become outdoor boardwalks connecting them. The exterior material palette of ipe siding, decking, and copper soffits continues through these indoor/outdoor public spaces to further dissolve the boundary between exterior and interior.

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