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Hamptons Life

Apr 17, 2017 10:13 AMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

Hampton Bays Architectural Design Competition Seeks Fresh Minds

1 Oceanview Road in Hampton Bays is the subject of an architectural design contest. COURTESY MARC CHIFFERT
Apr 17, 2017 10:40 AM

Southampton architectural engineering firm Chiffert Engineering P.C. is hosting a design competition for a residential property in Hampton Bays to spice up the area with original and creative designs.

“I think it’s a great way to bring new ideas and give an opportunity for anyone to participate and come up with their own ideas,” said Marc Chiffert, the president of the firm and coordinator of the competition. “The Hamptons is a very creative area; we have great people in the Hamptons but it’s time to get new and fresh ideas.”

Partnered with Century 21 Agawam Town and Village Realty, the firm is holding the contest on an approximately 2.2-acre property at 1 Oceanview Road right off Montauk Highway that overlooks Shinnecock Bay. Mr. Chiffert described it as a “special property” because of its remarkable views and close proximity to the Hampton Bays village center, Southampton Village and the Shinnecock Canal.

Contestants must create designs for two single-family residences that will be built on adjacent lots on the site. Since the property is situated on a hill, one house will be built on the lower portion of the property and the other on the higher portion.

A site visit on Friday, April 28, will provide contestants with more information about the requirements and limitations their designs must adhere to.

“That’s where all the constraints and all the limits will be presented to all the contestants, which are like the boundaries of where the designs have to be,” Mr. Chiffert said. “We want a design that’s creative, yet it has to be compliant with the regulations.”

Mr. Chiffert has been an architectural engineer for almost 40 years, working around the world in Canada, Brazil, his home country of France, New York City and now the Hamptons.

He explained how in France, where he had an office for 12 years, many design projects are done through competitions, in which the first-place winner gets the job and the second- and third-place winners are awarded smaller prizes. He decided to hold his own design contests in France and Brazil, and now he wants to offer a similar opportunity on the East End.

Mr. Chiffert’s company primarily advertised this contest at local architecture and design schools, but he stressed that anyone with an interest in design is welcome to participate.

“We think it’s a great opportunity for students to be able to design in a context of real regulations, real constraints, zoning regulations—that can be done on a real property,” he said.

For this site, Chiffert Engineering had initially proposed a 24-room hotel that was similar in design to Gurney’s Inn in Montauk, but the Southampton Town Planning Board was not in favor of such a large-scale proposal.

“The regulations are kind of designed and written in a way to prevent hotel developments,” Mr. Chiffert said. “We were not able to get a hotel through the town, so we decided then to go through the other use of the property which will be a single-family residence.”

He added that single-family residences are allowed as-of-right on this size and type of property, meaning that it does not need to be approved by the town.

Contestants must register by Friday, April 21, and must attend the site visit. Preliminary submissions of designs are due Saturday, June 3.

The final designs will be presented on Saturday, June 24, at a dinner and cocktail reception and the jury will decide on the best one.

“The competition really focuses on coming up with a design that’s going to be the most enjoyable for the people who live there,” Mr. Chiffert emphasized.

The winner will receive a monetary prize of $1,800 and a three-day weekend in Hampton Bays for two, in addition to having his or her design used for the two residences.

Once the best idea is chosen, Mr. Chiffert said they would like to begin construction in the fall.

For more information, contact Denise McCauley at 631-353-3375 or

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