Project : Chatham House
Location : Columbia County, New York
Firm: George Ranalli Architect
Associates: Silman Engineer
Chatham House is a project for a new house, at the highest point of a four-acre site of rolling green hills. The locale is just outside the Village of Chatham, New York, at the northern end of Columbia County, New York State. Originally Groat’s Corners, Chatham was established in 1869. Surrounded by working farms, by 1900, the Village of Chatham had become a bustling railroad destination for travelers from New York, Albany, and Boston. And although most of the rail traffic has long since been routed elsewhere, the trains still pass through Chatham on a daily basis, and the Village values a sense of its vital local history. The site for Chatham House, on the outskirts of the Village, offers spectacular views of the Catskill and Berkshire mountain ranges.
The architecture interprets the owner’s aspirations for beauty, serenity, and community. Balancing a specific program and environmental sensitivity, the house is made of weather-resistant stone, wood, and copper. Each space inside offers distinctive design for its particular functions. At the entry, for example, an oval-shaped reception area leads to a small enclosure, above, supported by spindle-like columns – an observatory at the tallest point on the bucolic site. A large living / dining space below also partakes of magnificent view. At the center of the plan, an outdoor courtyard landscape of cypresses trees presents interior garden views, and spaces connect to a large color-infused indoor pool. The architectural interpretation of the clients aspiration for the use of color is expressed in compositions of form, material, and detail. Importantly, the architecture for a durable house introduces a new structure into the setting with the potential to remain viable for a century or more.