An Architecture Tour for the Southampton Arts Center

Friday’s tour of four Shingle Style homes in Southampton – including an 1887 renovation and three more recently built – will benefit the Southampton Arts Center.

An 11 AM brunch launches the event, followed by a panel discussion on Shingle Style architecture with Gary Brewer of Robert A. M. Stern Architects, Ross Padlock from Kligerman Architecture & Design, John David Rose and Siamak Samii.

Next up: A two-and-a-half-hour, self-guided tour of the four homes designed by the firms included in the talk. The interiors of three will be opened; the fourth is a tour of the exterior only.

“The 1887 house is in proximity to Lake Agawam, while the others are a block away from the ocean,” says Samii, who renovated the 1887 property and lives in it today.

The Shingle Style is synonymous with the Hamptons, mostly because it is authentic to the area when it was first settled during the Colonia era. “They were very humble, in a salt box form,” he says. “Then in the 1880s an article was published by a young architect and included a picture of a vernacular home that was informal and unpretentious – and it became inspirational.”

During the post-Civil war years, the Shingle Style offered a nostalgic look back to the days of the Puritans, and other architects began exploring it in new works. New England cottages were being built in newly discovered areas like Southampton, when New Yorkers came out for the summer.

“Southampton had its share of Shingle-Style vernacular structures, and then McKim Mead & White and others started innovating in that style,” he says. “It’s a truly independent and American style, rather than the Queen Anne or Victorian style – it looked back at our own style and it became popular.”

After the 1900s the Shingle Style fervor began to dissipate with the advent of more modern buildings. But by 1964 Robert Venturi had designed his mother’s house with a façade composition inspired by the William G. Low House in Bristol, R.I., built in the Shingle Style by Charles McKim. “If you put them next to one another, it’s pretty obvious,” he says. “And then Robert Stern picked up on that and ran with it.”

One of the key elements of the style was its lack of pretension. “These were vernacular, smaller farmhouses without much decoration,” he says. “They were simplifying, with austerity.”

Rarely used in commercial buildings, the Shingle Style was usually ascribed to houses and cottages. “It’s a very picturesque architecture – it goes back to a rural vernacular,” he says.

For more on the tour, go here.