Hidden into the natural environment of Martha’s Vineyard coastline, in Chilmark, Massachusetts, the "East House", designed by Peter Rose + Partners, amazes through its robust site-cast concrete façade. The gray and monotone walls provide the best shelter against New England’s coastal weather. The dramatic effect is achieved through the concrete walls that give the impression of a collection of concrete boxes.
The concrete square shapes are adorned with sustainably harvested Spanish Cedar window frames that give a subtle touch and welcome a great amount of natural light into the rigid boxes.
During the planning and design phase, the architects and the client were surprised to find out that the residence was sitting at a rate of coastal bluff erosion.
The best solution was to cast the floors, formerly wood framed, in concrete, creating from each of the boxes a three - maybe four - sided structural unit that would be individually separated and moved to another location in case of an erosion.
The plan of the 4000 - square house integrates several concrete boxes, with interstitial corridors, and light wooden areas that can be easily removed whenever the building is moved.
The concrete boxes are finished with stone floors in the interior and planked walls that are soft to touch but at the same time very durable for the windy weather on the coast. Breezy air and natural light circulate along the interior of the boxes.
The sound of the ocean together with the breeze enter the house along the operable large windows. Geothermal wells temper living spaces by using earth's thermo-conductivity. Radiant heating, window openings and a great mass of concrete help creating natural ventilation inside the house and reject the summer heat gain.