Saratoga Springs, NY- Phinney Design Group, a multi-disciplinary Architecture and Interior Design Firm in Saratoga Springs, was presented with the AIAENY Residential Merit Award, presented by Paul Scoville, on Thursday, February 24, 2016 at The Arts Center in Troy. Phinney Design Group was recognized for their residential design work on a custom home in the Adirondacks. The Jury appreciated the reuse of the existing foundation on the shoreline site. They noted that the extensive use of glass gives the feeling of being outside while traversing the house.

Phinney Design Group was approached by the clients to help create their modern retreat in the Adirondacks. Re-establishing the sentimental tone between a legacy property and its natural surroundings is a delicate undertaking, especially when it is situated within a sensitive environmental area like Lake George. Goals for this single family residence were simple: occupy a beautiful place while not disrupting its essential character. This lake house project reflects the balance required to navigate the preservation of a place with the enjoyment and inhabitation of it. Re-using an existing footprint near the shoreline, an existing camp was removed to permit the creation of a solar oriented glass pavilion as well as a light glass breezeway to a new residential wing. This composition recycled existing infrastructure to permit the preservation of large pine trees that define the site. The canopy they establish was reinforced with architectural canopies including a ship’s prow roof system executed with clean and simple red cedar, and metal shade structures to optimize solar heat gain with the trees. The exterior walls of the building were clad with glass to permit the site and the interior to act as one.

Execution of the details of the building reflected a minimalist approach desired by the home owners. This included the use of glass railing systems inside and the anchoring of each pavilion with a massive fireplace rendered in local granite. Interior spaces focused on the maximization of exterior access, both visual and physical. Each space, including halls and corridors are layered toward the various views of the site and the lake beyond. A simple interior palette including very minimal colors emphasizes the exterior as the color and interest generating focus of the project, allowing occupants to both exist within the site and to connect the site with its occupants. In these ways, a balance was found between preserving the beauty and ecology of a natural resource and enjoying living in it. We find this balance is not so much a matter of skill as it is a matter of resolve and adherence to strong design and environmental principals, a necessary conviction of our time.