Bromley Caldari Architects
Fire Island Pines is a hamlet set amongst dunes and pine-wooded ridges, a windswept landscape that has long exerted its timeless appeal on the New York elite and stars of Hollywood. Fire Island itself stretches to the south of Long Island and since the 1950s has become a popular location for spending quiet weekends in contact with nature, and especially the ocean.
Here, gently resting on the sand, stands a single-family villa designed by Bromley Caldari Architects, a firm that has been practising in New York since 1991. Tasked with integrating the project into the landscape, the two architects highlighted the links with nature – on one side the ocean and on the other the pine wood – through an orderly collection of elementary volumes that extend across the beach, between the sea and the sky. The two hundred square metre villa consists of a main nucleus flanked by a fitness centre, a low volume housing a swimming pool and cabins, and a service annex. A gangway running from the central nucleus directly to the sea is suspended above the sand to preserve the dunes and vegetation.
The guiding theme of the project is the consistent and coherent search for a dialogue between nature and architecture. Every formal and material choice reflects the need for constant mediation between interior and exterior. It is a dialogue characterised by a kind of osmosis: the interior opens up to become airy and filled with light; the exterior takes on a warm, welcoming feel in complete harmony with the landscape. This is reflected in the choice of wood as the primary material for the shell of the house, including large, soft-grained panels that mimic the pine trunks dotted around the surrounding landscape. The large windows, which on the ocean side cover almost the entire elevation, allow light to flood into the interiors so that the natural environment and living space become as one. The thin line between inside and outside is expanded through the use of patios, terraces and balconies that allow the interiors to open out towards the sea. But despite its large glazed surface, the house conserves its privacy. While the living space opens onto the ocean, the sleeping area is located in a more secluded volume towards the internal elevation, with long, narrow windows looking out onto the forest. Here too the architects have played with the volumes to create a kind of home within a home. The bedrooms occupy a wooden cube suspended on columns and facing onto the living room, which instead extends upwards with a completely glazed elevation reaching as far as the roof.
The design of spaces with a strong visual impact is coupled with a sophisticated choice of finishing and surface materials. The material chosen for the floor covering is the Fashion Series porcelain tile collection from Emilceramica (Light colour and 30×60 cm size), which maintains the natural appeal and sophistication of the interiors. For this project the practice Bromley Caldari won first prize in the residential category of the Ceramics of Italy Tile Competition, an award organised by Confindustria Ceramica and the Italian Trade Agency to promote Italian ceramic tiles in the United States.
Emilceramica, Fashion Series
Water absorpion (ISO 10545-3): compliant
Chemical resistance (ISO 10545-13): compliant
Resistance to deep abrasion (ISO 10545-6): compliant
Stain resistance (ISO 10545-14): compliant
Frost resistance (ISO 10545-12): compliant
Modulus of rupture and breaking strength (ISO 10545-4): compliant
Thermal shock resistance (ISO 10545-9): compliant
Linear thermal expansion (ISO 10545-8): compliant