Milestone Residence Achieves Metal Construction News Award

Elegant, restrained and refined are some terms the judging panel for the 2021 Metal Construction News Project Excellence Awards used to describe the Milestone residence in East Hampton, N.Y. Evenly spaced, vertical metal panels encase three volumes, which are themselves evenly spaced apart and connected by two open, protruding volumes with large, horizontal spaces, a porch and living room. The judging panel lauded the contemporary design for defining its own design vocabulary and gave it a Judges Award.

Deliberately proportioned metal panels, architectural elements balance house design

By Christopher Brinckerhoff

Photo courtesy of Bates Masi + Architects

The house is named Milestone for an old stone mile marker the owner and its designer, Aaron Zalneraitis, found on the property. With respect to the restraint of the design, Zalneraitis, an architect at Bates Masi + Architects in East Hampton, says, “The design was restrained by a tight budget and by a mindfulness of the neighborhood of relatively modest suburban and rural homes in which it is sited. Both of these demands required a compact and efficient organization. By alternating groups of private and service spaces with public and entertaining spaces, and using the latter for circulation, the house has almost no conventional hallways. Restraint also comes in the form of a limited material palette: metal, wood and glass that clearly defines zones of solid and void.”

Relative to the house’s overall architectural composition, Zalneraitis says there are two basic building blocks that comprise the house. “Tall, compact, solid volumes clad with vertically striated metal panels suggest vertical pins inserted into the earth, much in the same way that the milestones along the road, one of which is in the corner of the property, are pushed into the earth. The glass and screened-in spaces between these pins are lower, wider, horizontal and trimmed with natural wood, suggesting their connection to the ground plane, horizon and the landscape.”

Photo courtesy of Bates Masi + Architects

Importantly, the design of Milestone has its own, specific vocabulary expressed in building materials and spaces organized for connections between the interior and exterior. Zalneraitis explains, “The vocabulary represents a dialogue between the man-made, permanent, and the natural and weathering. Each of the solid volumes is finished with man-made materials: aluminum siding, rubber roof, linoleum floors and painted walls. These materials all support the analogy between these volumes and the permanent, man-hewn, granite milestone. Open spaces between the solid volumes are bound by glass on either end, wood floors and ceilings that weather naturally outside, and the exterior walls of the solid volumes on either side. In the case of the living room, this means that the exterior aluminum siding extends onto the walls of the interior conditioned space, reinforcing the idea that it is part of the outdoors and nature.”

Furthermore, the vertical metal panels on the walls reinforce the verticality of the house’s solid volumes and emphasize their insertion into the earth, Zalneraitis says. “The vertical ribs also cast shadows onto the flat surfaces of the metal panels that animate the facade as the sun tracks across the sky during the day and through the seasons. Elegant detailing is further enhanced by custom working all corner conditions and wall caps.”

To complete the project, Dan Loos Inc., East Hampton, general contractor, installed 2,800 square feet of Allentown, Pa.-based ATAS International Inc.’s Standing Seam Shingles. The 16-inch by 60-inch, 0.032-inch-thick aluminum panels have four-way interlocking edges and a 70% PVDF gray painted finish.

Photo courtesy of Bates Masi + Architects