The Barnacle House is a reconversion to a single family residence of an 1850s Victorian farmhouse. It sits on the eastern shore of the Hudson River, above the train station in Rhinecliff, New York. The clients wanted to maximize their view of the river, but along with spectacular views to the west and access to the rail line came serious sound, solar gain and glare issues.
The original house had been broken up into apartments and encrusted with a number of barnacle-like additions over the years. While the street façade had been maintained, the architectural vernacular of the house became ad hoc as the house reached for views. This pattern was evident throughout the village. Architecturally, it was kind of a “mullet”—traditional on the street and improvisational toward the river; we adopted a similar strategy in order to address the context and program. The overarching approach was to treat the original house as a found object and reinvent it, expressing what was old as old and what was new as new. We scraped off some barnacles, rebuilt others, and added a new barnacle that houses the master bedroom, dining room, and covered terrace at grade. Zinc-clad with an acoustically-engineered window assembly, and equipped with interior shades and exterior blinds, the western barnacle tempers the hostile exposure while fulfilling the clients’ desire for “life on the Hudson.”