East End Works In Progress: An Update


By Preston T. Phillips, ArchitectCan it have been a year since my 2012 column on East End Works in Progress? The calendar clearly indicates so.It’s been a very busy year with projects of varying size and import slowly and deliberately moving toward completion and occupancy. The scale and diversity of these projects indicates the extraordinary effort by scores of individuals, developers, architects, consultants of every stripe, and government agencies to ensure that the architectural imprimatur of the early 21st century is well defined on Long Island’s East End. From last July 4, following is an update of each project.

The Parrish Art Museum

Water MillCovered extensively in this column and elsewhere, the Parrish Art Museum opened in November of last year to great accolade and critical acclaim. If you haven’t been, make it a point to visit. 
While the building is important architecturally, (it was recently cited by Architectural Digest as one of the 10 most important buildings of 2012 worldwide) the galleries and ever-changing exhibitions are the main event here.

While the building looks vast, and by some accounts overwhelming from the exterior, the interior is quite intimate and calming. Inside, the collection, which spans the 20th century, is wonderfully showcased.

The landscape design by Reed Hilderbrand Landscape Architecture is the final piece of the composition to be fully realized. It’s worth visiting every few months just to see the ever evolving, maturing and seasonally changing landscape of inventive and native plantings on the 14-acre property.

The Greek Orthodox Church of The Hamptons

Shinnecock HillsI am pleased to report that the new basilica tucked into the hills of Shinnecock is progressing, albeit slowly, with great craftsmanship. I visited the construction site last week and was impressed, not only by the beautiful materials, but the detail in which the exterior is being fashioned.

The scale of the building is very well wrought, and an easy thing to get wrong. Based on a traditional Greek Cross plan, its copper-clad dome above the sanctuary is a thing of beauty.

Under a tent a lone carpenter was seen carving a tall slender wooden finial. This image has remained with me as a touchstone to the human element in architecture, a carpenter working diligently, alone and in isolation with his trade.

The Nathaniel Rogers House

BridgehamptonThe columns are back! How thrilling it was to see them arrive over the last month and slowly reappear on the portico. As I drive past this building daily, I had watched and waited for this critical component for over a year.

The Bridgehampton Historical Society is the governing organization overseeing the intense restoration of this Greek Revival landmark. Funding remains a challenge for this effort, but a recent grant guarantee from the Southampton Town Community Preservation Fund will allow work to proceed deliberately toward completion.

The Topping Rose House

BridgehamptonDirectly across Montauk Highway from the Nathaniel Rogers House, the campus of buildings which comprises Topping Rose House is now complete. The original Greek Revival house and historical barn were reviewed in this column last September, but the new modernist additions to the property officially opened only last week.

I attended the ribbon cutting and toured the project in great detail. A full review will appear in the coming weeks, but suffice to say that the building materials and architectural details are magnificently executed and of a level rarely seen on projects of such scale; a testimony to the architects, construction team and property owners.

The John Jermain Memorial Library

Sag HarborUp the turnpike a few miles in Sag Harbor, I have watched the restoration of the original 1910 Beaux Art library building emerge from its scaffold shroud of a cocoon as a thing of beauty, its brickwork cleaned and pointed, its windows restored, its limestone base, lintels, columns and cornice cleaned and dome refurbished. All eyes however remain on the excavation to the east and rear of the building where a sleek, modern, glass and limestone addition is under way.

Many in Sag Harbor are holding their collective breath, and judgment, on the juxtaposition of such a modern structure, not only against the jewel which is the existing library building, but also into the very heart of the historic district of Sag Harbor itself. No certain date has been established for completion.

The Bulova Watchcase Factory

Sag HarborClearly the largest and unrivaled undertaking on the East End since the original construction of the factory in 1881, the development of the 2½-acre Watchcase Factory site continues apace.

Much of the scaffolding along Division Street has, at long last, been removed. It seems as if it had been in place for decades.

A model penthouse apartment opened last week (the cost was $4 million; the size, 2,000 square feet), the first of the 47 apartments to be showcased. The 17 townhouses, which ring Sage and Church streets, are well under way.

Still a construction site of enormous scope, the underground parking structure for 130 cars, pool and accessory structures remain a work in progress. Look for updates in this column throughout the year, and with some success, occupancy by May 2014 for those currently in the long queue for ownership.

Next time: The Rose of Bridgehampton

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