by Shelly Rosenberg
Spring is a symbol of new beginnings. It is the season that joyfully brings forth that which has silently germinated beyond our awareness. And it is the perfect time for us, to launch and reveal the richness of modernism in New York. Our mission is to study the modernist movement and to illuminate modernistas who elevate and perpetuate its core values. One such visionary is local architect John Berg, who’s story is as interesting and compelling as his concise body of work. Berg was born, and spent his formative years, on the unique and charming archipelago that is Bermuda.
The ambitious young man followed his heart to architecture, and to the Big Apple, and he has remained in this bustling city since. Yet, his ability to connect with the earth’s natural while exploring his well-edited compositions throughout the area.
With spring on its way, and our attention turned toward the slower-paced days of summer, Berg’s Old Stone Highway project, in East Hampton, caught our discerning eye. The coming season draws New Yorkers to the Hamptons like a magnate. This high-brow hot spot is considered to boast some of the highest property values in the nation. Still, we, of the modern persuasion, might assume the area to be full of traditional mansions and dare we say, cutesy, over-sized beach bungalows. Fortunately, we would not be correct. Although there may not be many, we have uncovered a residence, on the quieter East side of Long Island, that is a John Berg modern jewel.
A quick look at Burmuda’s architectural history reveals the foundation for Berg’s sensibility typical simple stone structures with native wooden roofs and floors. Homes here are geometrically simple and take advantage of natural land structures for protection. They also make the most of environmental advantages like cross-wind ventilation and abundant sunlight. Berg has adopted this respect for an essential relationship with nature and competently translated it into the environmentally conscious, low-impact style we call “modern” today.
Almost nestled within a green grove, Berg’s unassuming structure extends a peaceful welcome. The 2200 square foot abode is what Berg describes as “a modern interpretation of the Long Island agricultural vernacular.” The attractive and solid façade exudes a quiet presence. There is a timelessness to the edifice that lends a sense of place and belonging. It’s bucolic appearance disguises, however, technological advancements like radiant flooring, low-impact building components, a geothermic HVAC system and Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs), allowing for better control over indoor air quality and overall efficiency while reducing waste.
The notable volume within the amiable abode is quietly commanding and a signature of John Berg. He reveals a “fascination, as a child, with the grand and moving spaces inside local churches.” Soaring ceilings and massive windows can feel contrived in the wrong hands, but Berg has elegantly blended a reverence for space with human scale. The living spaces make sense and relate seamlessly to each other, as well as to the outside. Pure light undulates throughout the multi-leveled, asymmetrical interior, creating artistic shadow play. Retractable glass walls and French doors allow activities to spill out onto the landscape and around a sleek pool, affirming Berg’s reverence for participating with nature. The overall effect is engaging in just the right way…the perfect respite for a sophisticated summer stay.
for additonal information
John Berg Design Architecture