Weekend houses, traditionally a luxury afforded only to the wealthy, lend themselves to a bit of whimsy, folly and architectural chutzpah. The string of high-priced enclaves that dot the Atlantic Ocean at the east end of Long Island and comprise the hoity-toity Hamptons have a long history of iconic and architecturally extreme houses by celebrated architects such as Gordon Bunschaft, Charles Gwathmey and Richard Meier. No house on the East End, perhaps, illustrates weekend house caprice more than the multi-colored Bioscleave House in East Hampton.
Created by intellectually esoteric architects Arakawa and Madeline Gins who believe that architecture can help prolong life and defeat mortality, the Bioscleave House boldly and unapologetically challenges any and all notions of what a house looks like, how it is lived in, the manner in which it is experienced by its residents and guests and, in fact, the actual purpose of a private residence.
The center of the Bioscleave House is comprised of a vast, amorphous space with a bumpy and wildly undulating floor made from a mixture of concrete and hardened soil that looks more than a little like sand dunes on the moon. The deep-thinking architects’ intent with the bizarre interior terrain is tied to their somewhat radical theory of Reversible Destiny. Arakawa and Gins' supposition is that occupants can retain their youth — or at least youthful capabilities — longer by keeping all physiological cylinders firing at all times through the unexpected and sometimes strenuous movements necessary to navigate through a built space.
While Arakawa and Gins have effectively flipped any preconceived notions of residential architecture on its ear, they did stick with one traditional notion, which is that the kitchen is the heart of the home. At the center of the irregularly shaped main space are the well-equipped kitchen and a dining area with a built-in table but, of course, the way, way, way out of the box architects sank the spaces into the abstractly undulating floor causing some concern for anyone attempting to navigate the surrounding terrain who might be tipsy or otherwise not nimble on their feet.
Four essentially rectangular rooms project out from the main, free form living space. Two are designated as bedrooms, a third as a study/bedroom and the fourth contains one of the home’s two bathrooms. The multiple paint colors, puzzle-like carpeting, oddly placed windows and power plugs installed at cattywompus angles ensure residents remain on their visual tippy-toes at all times, but fortunately the four winged areas do provide less challenging physical spaces that actually allow for the placement of “regular” furniture pieces like, say, a bed or a chair.
Although fitted with deluxe amenities like an egg shaped bathtub built for two and, thankfully, a flat floor, like the other rooms that radiate from the central space, the bathroom provides little in the way of privacy. Fortunately, the architects have provided a myriad of hooks in the ceiling that will allow for the house to be divided by fabric panels, thus ensuring at least a modicum of privacy in what is usually the most private room in the house.
The house is unquestionably esoteric, architecturally provocative and, at the very least, challenging to those who prefer and are accustomed to more traditional living spaces. However, given that we live in a culture obsessed with youth and beauty, it’s quite possible that Arakawa and Gins just might be at the vanguard of the next trend in our collective quest for the proverbial fountain of youth. If we’re willing to spend hours at the gym, beaucoup bucks on Botox, and go under the knife in order to maintain our youthful qualities, why not ratchet up the effort and spend big to live in a house specifically designed to keep occupants looking and feeling young?
Though this house won't be officially on the market until February, for More information on The Bioscleave House, which we're told will be listed at $4 million, contact Ursula Reimann (631)-324-6000 at Sotheby’s International Realty in East Hampton, N.Y. Photos Courtesy of Sotheby’s International Realty.