August Moon Main House is a waterfront summer retreat overlooking Maine’s Western Bay, designed in 2021 by Span Architecture.
On the waterfront overlooking Maine’s Western Bay, a new home was constructed. The property, August Moon, was Brooke Astor’s private summer retreat and echoed her world travels, with a predilection for Asian influences. Two structures built for her in 1964, a Cottage and a Glass Tea House, served as a point of design inspiration. While paying homage to architect-landscaper Robert Patterson, the client’s desire for a modern sensibility and their complimentary reverence for the surrounding natural environment led to our biophilic-forward siting and detailing.
The new house takes its cue from the hillside strata of rocks, moss, ferns, and trees. Like the cottage roof mirroring the distant form of Blue Hill Mountain, the upper floors of the house are captured below an unfolding form pinned by the large, stone hearth – the sky toned zinc-coated roof is a great gesture. In contrast, the lowest floor is nestled discreetly into the valley saddle providing private access to paths and the coastline with a private green roof lawn above. Many rooms in the house can be viewed from different angles – like a cinematic experience. Walking through the house parallels the feeling of wandering through the landscape.
The structure lives in situ with a minimal carbon footprint limiting the palate to natural materials. Cedar, Fir, and stone from the same quarry that Patterson used were processed and fabricated within 2 miles of the estate. The glass master suite flies free cantilevering akin to a treehouse; you sleep within the canopy of the forest. The new Corten steel Moon Gate embodies the essence of the home, a starkly modern adaptation of a traditional Chinese design. The renovated gardens are connected with the home’s entry sequence while incorporating a simple, falling water feature on its narrow side celebrating the tremendous amount of groundwater from the local snow melts.
Photography courtesy of Span Architecture
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