When an experimental modern dance choreographer tapped Anik Pearson Architect to design and build a legacy family compound in Upstate New York, the New York City-based firm took to the challenge by not only finding an appropriate site, but also designing the master plan, which includes the recently completed main house. Clad in timber and set on a steep slope, the spacious abode prioritizes low-maintenance care, sensitivity to the environment and energy-efficient design. In addition to the use of naturally resilient materials, the Hammersley Ridge Overlook, or House in Wingdale, uses a ventilated facade system to effectively seal the building envelope against water and air while maintaining an indoor-outdoor connection.

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When Anik Pearson was tasked with finding the site, she was bound by the requirements that the property be easily accessible from New York City via public transit and within easy reach of hiking trails. The answer came in a 68-acre lot in Upstate New York near the Appalachian Trail and the Hammersley Hill Nature Conservancy. The master plan, created in collaboration with a landscape architect, called for various site infrastructural improvements as well as a large family compound — including a main house, a guesthouse, a caretaker’s house and a dance studio — that would be completed in phases over the course of a few decades.

Built for multi-generational use, the House in Wingdale is defined on one side by a three-story external ramp that connects the ground floor with the sleeping porches and a green rooftop terrace. The house is built from a combination of timbers with traditional materials that include whitewashed board paneling, white cedar, walnut and oak, as well as copper, granite and glazed encaustic tile. In contrast to the muted facade, the light-filled interiors feature bright pops of color inspired by the owner’s bright dinnerware. Large windows and a screened-in porch help bring the outdoors in.

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“The main house is designed to promote a connection to the land and to the outdoors through an external ramp linking balconies, porches and a terraced green roof,” reads the project statement. “Sensitivity to the site is observed through water conservation, absorption and recapturing. On the structures, emphasis is given to energy efficiency and ease of maintenance through naturally resilient materials and assemblies.”

+ Anik Pearson Architect

Photography by Philippe Cheng, courtesy Anik Pearson Architect