Architecture is a field dominated by men. In fact Pamela Glazer was one of only six women in a class of 121 when she was a student. This makes it all the more impressive that Glazer has risen to prominence as one of the East End’s most sought-after architects, known for her impeccable aesthetic with a focus on eco designs. We spoke with Glazer to find out more about her background and her earth-friendly designs in the Hamptons.
Tell us a little bit about your background—did you always have an interest in architecture?
Growing up I was interested in studio art, but having a practical mother, I had to be employable after graduation. I excelled in math so I applied to architecture school. On a school trip to New York, I fell in love with the city and decided to move there after graduation. My first housing experience was low-income, multi-unit buildings in the most impoverished neighborhoods. I think this taught me how to understand the absolute essentials required to make a home.
What is it about Hamptons architecture that you find particularly appealing?
It’s not a particular architecture in the Hamptons that appeals to me, but the special light and views that give inspiration to design. There is a unique sea-level elevation that projects out into the Atlantic Ocean 110 miles and gives us full light from sunrise to sunset. Almost every site has a special view to focus on, whether it’s a dramatic view of the water, a farm field or a neighbor’s 150-year-old tree. It inspires great architecture whether it’s classic or modern or somewhere in between.
Do you have an architectural pet peeve?
My pet peeve is a poorly sited house. I cannot stand it when a house does not address the property it sits on. So often a house ignores the view, the sun and the neighbors. You can always adjust the aesthetics of a house, but you can’t move it. The most important thing is to orient the house properly. Use the sun to gain heat in the winter and design a way to shade it in the summer.
What are your favorite design details?
I am a bath person, so I like to project the bathtub area out past the outside wall so that there is glass on three sides of the freestanding tub. It makes the most sense when there is a view, and you feel like you are bathing outside in the sun or in the snow.
What’s one thing people who are about to undertake a big project should keep in mind?
People should keep in mind that the house is for them and how they live, not how their friends or neighbors live.
What are some of the green architectural elements you’re most excited about?
I love the geo-thermal heating and cooling system. The idea of using the constant 55° temperature of the earth to heat and cool instead of oil or gas is great.
What’s your most memorable eco amenity?
The most memorable amenity would have to be a swimming pool system that required no chemicals at all. It was the first one on the East Coast. The designer of the system came from California to build it using ozone and copper. The pool water was cleaner than bottled water.
What are some of your most memorable projects?
The Cowfish restaurant outside bar on the Shinnecock Canal. Designing a “nonbuilding” on the water, which has to withstand hurricane winds provided a novel situation. There were no walls to provide lateral support and the bar needed to be locked up and watertight, as well as being fun. Also, my own house in Shinnecock Hills. This was an opportunity to design in the elements that were exciting to me and to incorporate old building parts that I have collected over the years. When it was finished, it had every feeling I wanted in my home.
Pamela Glazer, Architect, 54 Eastway Drive, Southampton, For more info, call 631-283-8898 or visit pamelaglazer.com.