With his "mighty mighty" new luxury waterfront project in the heart of Sag Harbor, acclaimed architect Andre Kikoski shows his winning hand at preserving history while at the same time, making it.
photos courtesy of Andre Kikoski Architecture
Having spent many a sweltering summer in Manhattan, with only a rare few Jitney jaunts a now-distant memory, I guess you could say I'm a stranger to Sag Harbor. But after getting to know this project - an extraordinary collection of ultra-luxurious contemporary townhouses set in the enchanting historic village of Sag Harbor and enviably situated along the waterfront of Sag Harbor Cove - I'm a fan.
I guess you could also say that its creator Andre Kikoski - acclaimed for having completed numerous iconic projects in the cultural and commercial, residential and retail realms (for powerhouses such as The Guggenheim Museum, The Howard Hughes Corporation, Ligne Roset, Saks Fifth Avenue, Swarovski Crystal, and most recently, DHA Capital at 75 Kenmare Street) - was a stranger to me as well. I mean, yes... I've heard of him because it's my job... but no, we'd never officially met.
Now, after working on this story and getting to know him, guess what. I'm a fan!
How could I not be?
One might assume Andre would be standoffish considering the magnitude of his accomplishments and his soaring level of success. On the contrary, he's a sweetheart...
and a lovely person to chat with. The first time we spoke, he was in the middle of constructing a late-morning meal for his son, and like you'd imagine a master architect might do, he explained every element of his purposeful creation in great detail. (It sounded like the most glorious artisan breakfast sandwich ever built. My mouth watered through the entire interview.)
Alas, with him up there in New York and me down here in Florida, and many miles of coronavirus between us, for the time being I'd have to enjoy Andre's cooking, company, and spectacular Sag Harbor project from afar.
A little background: 2 West Water is a collection of distinct contemporary townhouses inspired by the significant historical heritage of the 312-year-old Hamptons village in which it exists. They seamlessly blend Sag Harbor’s architectural legacy with innovative building materials and dramatic indoor/outdoor spaces that are designed to maximize western-facing views of the harbor.
So here's what we discussed:
TDR: Prior to starting this project in Sag Harbor, did you have any personal experience with the town itself?
AK: I’ve been coming to the Hamptons every summer since 1995 when I finished grad school. Many of my close friends are from families that have been here for generations. I love the amazing history of this place, which goes back decades and centuries. I’ve lived all over the Hamptons. Sag Harbor was always the place you go to get on a boat, to get a great meal, or to have a few drinks.
TDR: How has the project altered your perspective?
AK: 2 West Water changed my thinking about the town as a lifestyle destination. It’s not potato fields turned into luxury housing; it’s a working town with a history of whaling and manufacturing that remains a year-round community of people who call it home.
TDR: What "homework" did you do first?
AK: My team and I studied the physical characteristics of the village and took cues from its architectural language. We made sure to pay close attention to the traditional heritage and craftsmanship of the area, but also placed an emphasis on innovation.
TDR: What did you discover about this village, and what do you feel distinguishes it from other parts of the Hamptons?
AK: We discovered that there is an incredible diversity of styles, periods, and sensibilities in Sag Harbor that is unlike anything else in the region. Half-brick, half-shingle structures where British troops stayed during the Revolutionary War. Egyptian- Revival churches. Highly-detailed public libraries. It's a collection of architecture that has integrity and excellence combined with a very rich history.
The front facade is comprised of handmade artisanal bricks reflective of traditional houses of the area, and is set with industrial-inspired metal casement windows.
The rear facade is a Miesian design (meaning: in the style of the influential mid-century architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe) with sleek structural sliding glass panels of unprecedented proportion and scale.
The result of thoughtful, skilled planning by celebrated landscape architect Hollander Design, open spaces between the buildings are designed with plantings and pathways that connect to neighboring Steinbeck Park, which was also masterminded by Hollander. The private beach and two boat slips accompany each residence.
TDR: How do you feel you were able to honor the past while still imparting a modern feel as Sag Harbor looks towards its future?
AK: We studied the past of these buildings to extract and distill what spoke to us about these works, then used that to create something inspired by the very DNA of the place. At the same time, we imagined the architecture in the context of the present and future as well as the past.
Inside 2 West Water Street - by premier developer Jay Bialsky - bold and loft-like contemporary spaces give way to gorgeous views of Sag Harbor Cove. Laid out across four levels, each residence offers between 11,000 to 12,000-square-feet of combined interior and exterior spaces. A dramatic open-plan living room/dining room/kitchen with adjacent outdoor terrace and private rooftop pool, and six + bedrooms, bathrooms, and suites are all designed to effect a seamless connection between indoors and out. The interiors feature top-quality finishes and exclusive furnishings by Giorgetti and Meridiani, and each unit is equipped with a custom Boffi kitchen.
“We chose textures and colors for the interiors that resonate with the sensibility of our facades... using an eye of elegant restraint that is inviting, complements the true beauty of this site, and creates truly sophisticated residences unlike any other in the Hamptons.” - Andre Kikoski
TDR: How would you describe the living experience of 2 West Water to a potential owner?
AK: There isn’t anything else like it in the Hamptons. The homes provide a unique opportunity to live in both the heart of the village, and also right on a deep-water cove.
Having been inside the steel frame of the buildings as they rose, it’s an amazing experience... even from the first floor. You don’t see land - it’s like living on a boat.
For more information about 2 West Water, visit: 2wwsagharbor.com
To learn more about Andre Kikoski Architecture, visit: akarch.com