Kyle Page is an architect whose Brooklyn firm Sundial Studios specializes in residential work and historical preservation. After years of searching, in 2015, Page found a property Upstate to share with his wife, landscape architect Hardy Stecker, and their two sons. The 19 acres in Sullivan County was defined by a central pond and the surrounding woods and federally protected wetlands frequented by eagles and blue herons. In 2016, Page began construction on the 1,200-square-foot Modernist cabin his family now calls their second home.
Below, Page discusses the process of designing the home and Sundial Studios' architectural point of view.
What was the inspiration behind the design of your Upstate retreat, the Pond House?
Primarily, I wanted to create something beautiful for my family. But I also wanted to experience the responsibility and design freedom of being both the owner and architect. It was a challenging, sometimes exhaustive, and incredible experience, and I am very pleased with the results!
The Pond House features a striking combination of corten steel, blackened cedar, and concrete. Can you talk about the importance of selecting and using these materials?
The form and design of this cabin had to be minimal and subordinate to the site and the scale of the site features, namely the pond. Considerable study went into determining the simplest form and cladding to enclose the small footprint, and to tune this to the site. The few materials used at the exterior, and the expressive sizing and detailing of the windows, perform these tasks admirably.
The exterior cladding of weathering corten steel and blackened cedar siding, atop an exposed concrete plinth which steps down towards the pond, has a quiet character that blends into the wooded surroundings.
What were the design considerations that went into siting the house on the property?
Are there any design aspects of the Pond House that are particularly special to you?
One of the greatest successes of the project is the dynamic between the interior of the cabin and the pond. The living space is focused outward through the fully glazed south wall overlooking the water. The light from the dawn and the dusk, the passage of clouds, wind and rain, and the brightness of mid-day all reflect off of the pond and creates an ever-changing atmosphere to this room that varies through the day and seasons.
Are there any aspects that are iconic to your style as an architect?
All of our projects are unique, though many of the ideas articulated in the description of this project are ideas that we usually bring to the design table. Materiality, form and space, inside/outside dynamics, and site relationships are considerations we look to develop in most all of our projects.