Skipping a flat stone across a summer pond is a childhood rite of passage: a rock carefully flung, bouncing off the water’s surface, in a magical moment of levitation. For AD100 fixture Steven Harris, it also inspired an architectural fantasia on oceanside acreage in the Hamptons.
Part sculpture, part retreat, part flight of fancy, the pool pavilion that Harris conceived for a New York City couple is tucked beneath a sinuous canopy that holds more than 20,000 gallons of water—not for swimming, mind you, just for effect. “It is one of the most heroically engineered things you can imagine,” Harris says of the airborne creation, which he describes as a “flying reflecting pool” and which contains a kitchenette and storage area in its base. The superstructure is not unlike a ship, in terms of construction, with an undercarriage of steel ribs that is encased in wood planking and then sheathed in weather-resistant plaster stucco finish. Harris compares its free-form silhouette, as well as the similarly shapely limestone terrace around it, to the undulating motifs of the late, great Brazilian landscape architect Roberto Burle Marx. “He had this ability to make organic forms that were abstracted architecture.” As for the actual swimming pool, which the flying oasis partially shades, its water is precisely calibrated so that it’s level with the surrounding terrace. Harris calls it “a feat in itself.”