Gallery: CRAB HOUSE: Modern Take on the American Beach Cabin


Cabins are meant as relaxing getaways in inspiring location, like the mountains, woods, or the shore. Architect Andrea Salvini revisits the American cabin, with this updated version of the beach house meant for Fire Island, NY. Of his trilogy of projects on Fire Island, the most interesting is his Crab House, an “anthropomorphic” house inspired by a crab. The stilts raise the vertical cabin off the ground, in order to preserve land as much as possible. The front of the house, which faces the ocean, is almost completely glass with a large open air solarium on the top floor.

The cabin may stand out a bit from other homes on the shore, but it has a small building footprint, and like Salvini’s Modern American Cabin, it is energy efficient and built with environmentally responsible materials. Salvini’s trio of Fire Island homes focuses on updating the concept of the American cabin. Each cabin maximizes space on a limited footprint, emphasizes recreational space for socializing, and yet has a sense of privacy to encourage relaxation and a reconnection with nature.

+ Andrea Salvini


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  1. van August 11, 2008 at 10:18 am

    The term you are looking for is not anthropomorphic (giving animals, objects human characteristics) but zoomorphic – giving objects animal characteristics.

  2. Visualante August 3, 2008 at 7:34 pm

    Call it a Crabin.
    Looks pretty cool, i want one,

  3. keithhanlan July 29, 2008 at 9:25 pm

    You wrote: ‘“anthropomorphic” house inspired by a crab.’

    I think that would be “arthropomorphic”. (note the ‘r’)

    More seriously, the idea of “preserving land” on an ocean beach is rather silly. Preserving beachfront is a futile exercise. The best you can do is build (and maintain) a breakwater. This design would more accurately be described as one which minimizes the disruption to erosion.

    Finally, the entire idea of being “environmentally responsible” while building a second home (or, perhaps third, if you include the ski chalet) is rather hypocritical. It’s a fun design exercise perhaps but certainly not one worthy of accolades from those who are truly concerned with our environment.

  4. SH July 28, 2008 at 1:23 pm

    Wow! Where can I get one?

    Seems like really easy to construct too—were you thinking it would be prefab? I’ve heard getting building materials to fire island is a real pain, so having a really compact and efficient house with modular building components seems to make a lot of sense.

  5. SavDav July 27, 2008 at 10:56 pm

    In response to Mr. Moyer: There is ample precedent for these designs in the work of Andrew Geller, an architect whose imaginative and futuristic homes were built on Fire Island between the 50\\\’s and \\\’60s. Furthermore, you can find a parallel contemporary example with the design of the TREE HOUSE in Fire Island by Bates Masi Architecture at the following link:

    Re: green grass lawn — I\\\’m sure the designer took poetic license in the rendering. This is what design is all about.

  6. Bridgette Steffen July 27, 2008 at 12:55 pm

    Please take note, I incorrectly referred to Andrea Salvini as a she. Please accept my apologies on this misunderstanding. The Italian name through me off. The designer also wanted to pass this information on about another project he worked on:
    I previously collaborated with Peter Gluck on a built-new institutional project, a new community health services center in East Harlem, New York, called Little Sisters of the Assumption, designed to consolidate a number of programs for low income families under one roof — which also comprises a nursery and classes for adults. Being Italian, I was trying to introduce in our design the precepts of the Reggio Emilia Program — see link below — and the use of color in a working and educational environment — the New York Times also wrote an article about the Little Sisters project.

    This project was the recipient of the AIA-New York State 2004 Design Awards and the 2004 AIA New York Chapter Architecture Awards. You can see the project at:

  7. danielmoyerdesign July 26, 2008 at 11:31 pm

    Fire Island calling Andrea. Small footprint yeah, but way big head. Completely sure your 1 and 2 story neighbors with the same small footprints will lose their minds even if you COULD sneak it past ZBA in Islip. Better off in your imagination or maybe further East. Let\\\”s not even talk about your green grass lawn replacing the wetland in your rendering. Inhabitat away for the weekend?

  8. dastudio July 26, 2008 at 3:47 pm

    To writer – –
    In the article, the architect is referred to as a woman. But it’s a man, check his website link given in the article.

  9. alphabetix July 25, 2008 at 6:37 pm

    What a great look for such tiny of a footprint. I like it!

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