Over the past 20 years, we have helped envision, design and build a diverse range of structures and spaces from affordable pre-fabricated micro-homes to private residences, we've built installations, commercial and cultural spaces at the overlap of technology and art, places of worship, affordable multi-unit housing, specialty museums and public spaces.
Our built work is dotted in numerous locations on the East End of Long Island (Hamptons), in New York, and Germany; and we have envisioned projects for New Orleans, China, Austria, Kenya, Papua New Guinea, and Chile.
Working on the East End of Long Island between the Long Island Sound and the Atlantic Ocean, amongst estuaries, wetlands, and farmland, and above two aquifers from which we pump our drinking water, as well as in the highly dense environment of New York City, gives us a critical opportunity and challenge to carefully observe the relationship between human settlement and nature, and the long-term impact of buildings on the environment. The study of localized patterns of living, human interaction with buildings and nature, material exploration, the understanding of localized construction processes, limitations, and techniques, and an appreciation of the common, visible but unseen aspects of architecture all guide us in our research.
Whether working in the city or in rural areas, our work is informed by the contrasting interdependence of Nature and City; making the built (or the building) in our work a mere component, albeit a vital one, of a total environment.
Maziar is a graduate of Tulane, and Cornell Schools of Architecture and the Institute for Architecture and Urban Studies.
He is an Advisory Board Member at the Tulane School of Architecture, a guest curator at the Parrish Museum of Art, and a member of the AIA Peconic where he served as a past president.
Maziar's work has been exhibited at the Salomon Contemporary Gallery, the Parrish Museum of Art Road Show, the Outsider Art Fair, and the Australian National Maritime Museum.
Working on the East End of Long Island between the Long Island Sound and the Atlantic Ocean, amongst estuaries, wetlands, and farmland, and above two aquifers from which we pump our drinking water, gives us a critical opportunity and challenge to carefully observe the relationship between human settlement and nature, and the long-term impact of buildings on the environment. More recently, with the opening of our satellite office in the heart of New York City, the highest density large city in the country, we closely observe the distinctions of high-density living in multifamily high-rises and low-density living in single family homes. We experience first hand the real and measurable effect of buildings on our drinking water, wetlands, natural barriers, plant life, and air quality and the critical importance of making real improvements. We strive to tread our grounds with care while recognizing the inherent challenge of building sustainably in an area dominated by single family residences.
We don't just design buildings; we create integrated environments. In fact, the built (or the building) in our work, in particular in our recent design projects, is a mere component, albeit a vital one, of a total environment. In the case of our short-listed proposal for a 600 person Baha'i Temple at the foot of the Andes, for example, the experience of the complete cycle of nature and nature-based uses led to an architectural design that relies on the geological features of the site for its spatial definition and completion. This fundamental shift in attitude, a reversal of the conventional relationship between buildings and nature whereby buildings are a component of much larger Architecture of the Environment, characterizes our approach to design.
In 2008, we built the first green-roof in Montauk. This minimized storm water runoff, added additional insulation, and made the roof an inviting and livable space. For our next project, the Arc House, we went beyond planting sedum on the roof and buried much of the structure within the landscape. This took advantage of the naturally temperate ground temperature and substantially decreased the house’s energy consumption. In addition to the naturally regulated subterranean part of the house, the rounded shape of the above-ground portion of the structure created a natural convection in the space and stabilized the temperature of the room. Most recently, for the the Sayres House and Hanging Gardens, we created multiple landscaped terraces adding more green-space to the property than we removed by building the structure. As architects, our specific role is to demonstrate alternative methods of planning and construction that promote our total ecological philosophy while helping preserve, sustain and regenerate the environment.
As practitioners, our challenge is to apply this attitude to every project, large or small, affordable or luxurious. While the physical results vary, we consistently aim for the maximization, wherever possible, of contiguous natural habitats. By clustering buildings and increasing managed landscapes, we leave nature to perform its self-healing, self-cleaning processes. We like to explore site layouts that reduce or otherwise draw attention to the impact of buildings on the environment. In our proposal for 90 units of affordable housing in Norwalk, Connecticut, for example, alternative building technologies are integrated with a site plan that reverses suburban and wasteful development while creating a model for the regeneration of a neighborhood. The use of passive systems which take advantage of solar orientation, wind direction, and landscaping are fundamental to our decision making process while the examination of efficient and alternative materials and building technologies is a fulfillment of that promise.
To find out more, or to discuss your next project, send us an email.
I built my first house in East Hampton long before the words 'sustainability' or 'green' were common vernacular. In fact with less than a handful of exceptions every house or building on the East End of Long Island was designed in a variation, often deformation, of the 'Shingle Style' [click this to read about the Shingle Style]. Modernism on the East End, while vibrant, experimental and profoundly captivating in the 60s and 70s, was hardly to be seen in the 90s. Developers, homeowners, realtors, with a unified front, wanted everything shingled. It was in this environment that I opened the office in East Hampton and began from the start to re-envision how a house could be designed or built.
I recall a developer who came to my office and after seeing my portfolio of more modern architecture, asked to see more 'traditional designs'. And I promptly referred him to the phone-book as nearly 30 out of the 33 architects practicing on the East End were already proficient designers of buildings that look old. I didn't see the need to be architect #34 in that line; but more, while I was enamored with the salt-boxes, the homes of Stanford White in Montauk, or some of the more common rambling gable-roofed houses of the past century, these were not the reasons I went to architecture school. So I stuck with what I liked to do and slowly, but with confidence, began to design my first house in Georgica on land that I purchased before the 'Hamptons' were referred to with one word.
The house in Georgica took its cues from the drawings, site plans and constructed buildings that the Shakers developed -with a simplicity that is hard to match. It consisted of two barn-like shapes and a flat-roofed bridge in between, with an interior that was open. It was a hybrid and as a design strategy it has become much more common than it was in those early days.
I've done many houses, buildings and other types of projects since then. While always maintaining a steady approach, I see that the public sentiment is now fully shifted to where I started. Everyone wants a 'modern' building now. Contractors and builders who reluctantly answered our calls many years ago, now call persistently to get in on the action.
We find ourselves in a good place: everyone has come around. But there is a problem. I'm already on to the next thing.