Clueless Design - 27 East


Southampton Press / Opinion / Letters / 1779726

Clueless Design

As the author of the recent Rizzoli book “New York Splendor: The City’s Most Memorable Rooms,” and a writer about architecture and design for Town & Country, House & Garden, Architectural Digest, Architectural Record and The New York Times for the past 35 years, I wanted to share my thoughts on the proposed Ferris design for Bay Street Theater.

In addition, I served on the Architectural Review Board of Sag Harbor for five years.

1. The building is an egotistical object divorced from the small-town urbanism of Sag Harbor, where buildings play nicely together for the benefit of the whole, rather than establishing their own self-centered rules and vocabulary.

2. The huge roofs are out of scale and totally disconnected from the small-scale building blocks that add up to one of the most successful examples of 19th century urbanism on the East Coast.

3. The natural wood finish further separates this invader from the painted traditions of the town that has supported this theater for so long.

4. Whereas the existing theater connects to Sag Harbor’s small-town urbanism, this outsider physically separates itself from town with the extension of a park. The park is passed off as an amenity, but in this location the proposed park extension weakens the definition of the northern edge of town.

This is a suburban solution to a place that needs strong small-town urbanism. Designed correctly, this building could strike the right balance between fitting in and creating an appropriate civic gesture and anchor to Main Street North.

5. So, rather than celebrating the village, this design celebrates a park and a road, turning its back to the village.

The building is clueless about urbanism and cultural and architectural context. Looks like it could be a firehouse on the outer edges of Aspen.

Wendy Moonan

Sag Harbor