Bates Masi + Architects LLC, a full-service architectural firm with roots in New York City and the East End of Long Island for over 50 years, responds to each project with extensive research in related architectural fields, material, craft and environment for unique solutions as varied as the individuals or groups for whom they are designed. The focus is neither the size nor the type of project but the opportunity to enrich lives and enhance the environment. The attention to all elements of design has been a constant in the firm’s philosophy. Projects include urban and suburban residences, schools, offices, hotels, restaurants, retail and furniture in the United States, Central America and the Caribbean. The firm has received 170 design awards since 2003 and has been featured in national and international publications including The New York Times, New York Magazine, Architectural Digest, Architectural Record, Metropolitan Home, and Dwell. Residential Architect Magazine selected Bates Masi one of their 50 Architect’s We Love. In 2013, Bates Masi was inducted into the Interior Design Hall of Fame.

Paul Masi spent childhood summers in Montauk and currently resides in Amagansett. He received a Bachelor of Architecture from Catholic University and a Masters of Architecture from the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University. He worked at Richard Meier & Partners before joining this firm in 1998.

Harry Bates, a resident of East Hampton, received a Bachelor of Architecture from North Carolina State University. After ten years with Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, he was in private practice in New York City for 17 years before moving the firm to Southampton on the East End in 1980. Our offices have recently relocated to a new office building of our own design in East Hampton.

Amagansett Dunes

Amagansett Dunes

Lot size: .14 acres

Building size: 1,725 sq. ft.

Location: Amagansett, NY

Program: Single Family Residence

Photographer: Bates Masi Architects

Contractor: Thomas Cooper Construction

Landscape Architect: Bates Masi Architects and Greg Condon


In a town famous for sprawling estates, the clients requested a house just large enough to accommodate their family, in a unique 1950’s development of modest cottages set among rolling dunes, a few hundred feet from the ocean. Local lore says that the dramatic landscape was once used as a film location for desert scenes in silent movies. The clients’ small lot backs up to a preserve, where the forms of windswept trees and dunes record the intensity and direction of the constant coastal wind. The wind scours the sand from around the scruffy vegetation, dragging it into crescent shaped parabolic dunes that point in the direction of the prevailing westerly wind. In the same way that the landscape is formed by the microclimate, so too is the house.

The house is oriented to face the street, the afternoon sun, and the prevailing wind. The entire west and east facades are comprised of operable glass, with small adjustable openings on the windward west side and expansive openings on the leeward east side. The difference in opening sizes creates a pressure differential across the house that promotes natural ventilation. The large doors on the east side open onto decks overlooking the parabolic dunes. On the west side, canvas louvers are oriented toward the southwest to admit the summer breezes that emanate from that direction, while blocking the winterwinds from the northwest. The orientation of the louvers also admits the winter afternoon sun while blocking the harsh summer afternoon glare. As a tertiary benefit, the louvers provide privacy from the street.

Each louver is cut from one piece of canvas into a form with tapered strips on one edge. The canvas is wrapped around a frame with the tapered strips twisted to increase their transparency on the southwest edge. The canvas pattern, developed through numerous digital and physical mockups and models, casts dappled patterns of light through the house during the day and creates an intricate woven lantern when viewed from the street at night. The louvers are part of a passive ventilation system that not only cools the house, but also pulls the scent of the aromatic garden through every room. The raised septic field in front of the house, required due to flood zone restrictions, is planted with a field of lavender, thereby hiding its utilitarian function. The house is filled with the smell of lavender, a scent that will forever trigger memories for the clients of summer in the dunes.

The form and details of the house are derived directly from the site conditions and thereby tie the house to the place functionally and experientially. The result is a regional architecture based not on style, but on environmental factors.