Water leading to water is a subtext in this award-winning home built for husband and wife doctors and their family. The house faces Little Neck Sound, as does the front door, which cannot be seen from the street. The entrance is tucked around the side of the metal curved form, which, incidentally, is a peaceful Zen room.
The architect, Stuart Narofsky, wanted an organic way to not only lead visitors from the street to the front door, but to also express the water theme. “The idea of a water table was to establish a connection to the water behind the home,” says Narofsky.
Enter Mel Gassman, a marble and granite fabricator from Lemned Corp. Gassman was hired by landscape architect Lemuel Hegwood to turn the concept into reality. Hegwood had installed the water system and it was then up to Gassman to figure out how to dramatically move the water from one place to another.
Using absolute black granite, Gassman designed and installed a bowl fabricated from a four-foot square piece of granite. Water rises and flows from his creation. In fact, the water table is the first object that captures visitors’ attention as they arrive. The striking black granite water table guides guests toward the entrance, which is not yet visible. As visitors proceed, stepping on concrete rectangles set in a field of black stones, the cascading water flowing down both sides runs alongside a 40-foot trough, escorting guests to the entryway.
“The water falls off the sides symmetrically,” says Narofsky. “It’s amazing.”
Ultimately, the visitor and the trough reach another floating granite platform that supports and displays artistic sculptures. Gassman’s water journey leads visitors within 80 feet of the Sound and finally to the dwelling entrance.
Gassman loved the challenge of creating the water bowl and trough. It took him three days just to carve out the bowl, hand grinding with a high-speed water grinder and polisher. He drilled 16 holes at the base of the bowl to enable the water to bubble up from the plenum below. The granite fabricator says, “The project was thoroughly creative and something out of the ordinary.
“It’s all about the procession and experience, which is unusual for a residence,” says Narofsky. “People usually want to see the front door; they want the ‘big entry impact.’”
This pathway certainly delivers.