An Immaculate Fire Island Beach House by Richard Meier

Architecture & Interiors

Screen shot 2014-07-30 at 2.52.35 PMIt’s a measure of contemporary sizing standards—or just the tony circles in which Richard Meier travels—that a recently-designed 2,000 square foot beach house by the New York-based architect qualifies as ‘modest.’ By summer house standards, 2,000 square feet is a bit beyond modest, we think, but on New York’s pretension-free Fire Island, a barrier island with no inclinations to become the Hamptons, a house comprised of 25 tons of glass, and boasting 1700 square feet of decking is, no doubt about it, a very big deal.

But if there’s one thing Meier—who doesn’t bother himself with pre-conceived notions about what a house should be—knows something about, it’s how to go big. So it’s little wonder that the beach house he designed for clients who happen to be long-time friends, is a showstopper. Towering above the low-profile bungalows on the shoreline of an island conspicuously devoid of designer boutiques, and where residents saunter barefoot to local watering holes, Meier’s signature all-white, transparent cube of a house flies in the face of local architectural vernacular. But when a house is this ravishing to look at, maybe that little detail is wholly beside the point.Meier Fire Island Beach House LandscapeScreen shot 2014-07-30 at 2.52.51 PMScreen shot 2014-07-30 at 2.53.31 PMScreen shot 2014-07-30 at 2.53.35 PMScreen shot 2014-07-30 at 2.53.13 PMScreen shot 2014-07-30 at 2.52.44 PMMeier Beach HouseScreen shot 2014-07-30 at 2.52.38 PMMeier Fire IslandScreen shot 2014-07-30 at 2.53.07 PMScreen shot 2014-07-30 at 2.52.41 PMScreen shot 2014-07-30 at 2.53.10 PMFire IslandScreen shot 2014-07-30 at 2.54.04 PMScreen shot 2014-07-30 at 2.52.55 PMScreen shot 2014-07-30 at 2.53.00 PMScreen shot 2014-07-30 at 2.52.47 PMScreen shot 2014-07-30 at 2.52.30 PMScreen shot 2014-07-30 at 2.52.26 PMFire Island Beach HouseMeier Fire Island HouseMeier Fire Island Beach HouseImages: New York Times; Richard Meier & Partners

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  1. Paige N.

    Jul 30, 2014 at 2:20 pm

    Wow, these clients were apparently not big fans of having any privacy. Balancing great views and privacy could have been better achieved, IMHO.

  2. Michael

    Jul 31, 2014 at 9:50 am

    Wow, such a beautiful house! I don’t think it’s too ostentatious for the neighborhood. It’s a little different, but still in line with the demographics. Great post!

  3. Judy

    Aug 13, 2014 at 6:53 am

    25 tons of glass? I sure hope the residents don’t throw stones. Love the description “modest.”

  4. Chris Griffin

    Jul 23, 2015 at 3:49 pm

    You neglected to point out that this house is incredibly out of touch with its surroundings and emits a vibe that is diametrically opposed to the “barefoot” spirit of that part of Fire Island (that you correctly described). A while back, we were cursed with a behemoth white federal court house that went up across the bay and scars the once unspoiled northern horizon. Now this house achieves the same depressing “sore white thumb” effect on the southern horizon as you approach Fire Island. At the very least they could have built a roof with a slim line, instead of the clunky, over-sized slab of wedding cake icing that looks like it is pushing the glass house below into the sand. It might work in the FI Pines on the ocean, but not here. Oy.

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