cocoon cottage in the hamptons filters sun through colored skylights

cocoon cottage in the hamptons filters sun through colored skylights

named ‘cocoon’, this cottage in the hamptons is truly a house of two halves. approaching the dwelling, 16-foot (5-meter) high rounded walls — wrapped in the vernacular cedar shingle cladding — provide the property with shelter and privacy. conversely, the other side of the house, facing south, takes in ocean breezes and views through full-height windows. by responding to the site’s specific context, and with the help of environmental technologies such as photovoltaic panels, the building aims to benefit the environment, as well as its inhabitants’ well-being.

all images by caylon hackwith



the project is the work of nina edwards anker, an architect, designer, professor, and writer who leads nea studio. the cottage is the architect’s summer home, and the majority of the furniture and lighting, including the beanie sofa made out of lentils, the algae lamps, and the solar chandelier, has also been designed by edwards anker. the L-shaped footprint of the house is defined by the legal restriction to build at a 150-foot (45m) radius from the wetlands and to keep a 35-foot (11m) distance from the adjacent properties.



to the south, sunlight filters through the translucent colored skylights, reflects off of the water cistern, and enters through the glass façades. positioned above the hallway of the bedroom wing, the skylights are based on the color theory of goethe, used by william turner in his 19th century paintings of sunlight above water. the hues range from vermilion red, which signals sunset and rest, above the master bedroom, to deep yellow, which signals zenith and activity, nearest the living room.



according to the architect, the changing daylight on the round projection screen connects residents to solar rhythms throughout the day, directs attention to biorhythms in the passing of seasonal and diurnal cycles, and marks hours through slowly moving light patches. ‘it’s meant to serve as a cinematic screen, its round shape abstracting the play of light and shadow, cocooning the interior like an ocean wave with light hitting its surface,’ explains nina edwards anker.



as well as views, the southern glass façade provides passive heating gain, while the thermal masses of the thick northern/western walls keep away humidity and retain heat while ensuring privacy. a variety of passive strategies have been employed in order to achieve a comfortable temperature. during warmer months, the sliding doors open to catch sea breezes that temper the heat while interior shades reduce solar heat gain by 50 percent. in winter, the glass façade collects heat from the southern sun to warm the property.


video by corey richardson



project info:


name: cocoon cottage
location: southampton, NY
architect: nina edwards anker, nea studio
photography: caylon hackwith

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