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ASID Industry Partner

July 15-31, 2006


FEATURES

On the Waterfront

(Page 2 of 4)

Suddenly homeless on the weekends, the men decamped to Fire Island for several summers. In the meantime, they began three arduous years of dealing with zoning issues, negotiating with architectural review boards and essentially fighting for the right to rebuild on their property.

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"It wouldn't have happened if Jamie hadn't fought and fought," Pennington says admiringly. "He was a pit bull."

Securing a building permit was contingent on not expanding the original footprint of 1,100 square feet, so most architects the men interviewed suggested plans that were only a slightly modified version of what had been. Then Vincent Ashbahian, a New York City-based architect, offered a radically different idea.

"I spent a few days swimming out into the pond and looking at the land from there," Ashbahian explains. "My signature style is to create volume and light, and so I had this idea to go more vertical and create a little jewel, a precious object that just glimmers."

Ashbahian's offshore epiphany resulted in a two-story glass and steel rectangle that rises directly from the water's edge. It's modestly sized, but made to feel much larger by double-height ceilings and scant interior structure. Other than those that surround two bathrooms and one small storage cubicle (a combined laundry room, broom closet and wardrobe), there are no interior walls whatsoever.

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