Richard Meier & Partners Architects LLP

Hoffman House

East Hampton, New York

1966 - 1967

In the Hoffman House, an ordinary site allowed a certain freedom of design. Viewed from the road, the house appears as a three-dimensional abstraction of interlocking geometries. Two sets of double squares make up the plan: one set orthogonal, the other rotated 45 degrees at the entry point. This produces two interlocking forms, one parallel to the road, and the other diagonal to it.

The intersecting wall planes facing the road serve as an opaque screen, concealing the living space from passing traffic. To the west, the fireplace with its freestanding chimney is pulled out from the glazed corner of the house. The living room is a triangular space defined by columns supporting a balcony, which acts as a canopy over the main seating area. Light enters this space from three sources: the main glazing and two clerestory windows set above the second-story bedrooms.

All of the major spaces take on a dynamic quality, a complex spatiality within a discrete envelope. The site’s unremarkable views and topography, a flat property fronting a public road, presented a challenge. Unlike the Smith House, where the compelling landscape determined an open architecture, the spatial dynamics of the Hoffman House are almost entirely inward-focused and private, with the site dependent on the house as an animating force.

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