Hamptons Architect Profile: Peter Cook

Cheng living room Peter Cook
Photo Courtesy Peter Cook

“In the Hamptons we get to live in this historic and bucolic natural environment while enjoying access to one of the greatest design communities in the world,” Hamptons architect Peter Cook says. “We have access to infinite design trade resources in New York City, sophisticated clients with exciting lifestyles, extraordinary building sites, inspirational light and vistas.”

The ideal collaboration between yourself and a client is…
I have always characterized my job as bringing my clients’ dreams to fruition. I enjoy working with clients who have a distinct lifestyle and aesthetic they are looking to express in the design and planning of their home. I have never considered myself a “stylized architect”—I design, not because of some preconceived idea, but based upon the inspiration of the building site and the homeowners’ program. The more interesting the site and definitive the program, the more fun it is to put all the pieces together!

Fueling creativity, finding new inspiration…
There’s no doubt that the project site together with the client’s program and lifestyle are the most inspirational single elements for design.The resurgence and availability of reclaimed natural building materials, advancements in lighting technology and refinements, as well as audio/visual/media technology also contribute to a broader palette and freer design process.

The most misunderstood aspect of architectural work is…
In this world of instant gratification, I think respect for the creative process and the time it takes to thoroughly investigate and create a quality custom project is often misunderstood. Additionally, the planning required to seamlessly, and often invisibly, integrate the myriad systems and mechanics of a modern home is overlooked and underappreciated. On environmentally sensitive sites the challenges, complexities and time required to complete the building and zoning permit process is underestimated by those unfamiliar with the process.

Your list of “5 Must See” examples of local architecture includes…

In no particular order:

Any Windmill: Beebe in Bridgehampton, the windmill in Water Mill and the Hook Mill, Home Sweet Home and Gardiner Windmills in East Hampton. They are an iconic part of Hamptons history, and visually enchanting.

Thomas Moran House was the 1884 home of Hudson River School painter Thomas Moran. And an eclectic example of cottage architecture, currently under restoration.

The Montauk Association, Montauk.

A collection of shingle style houses affectionately known as the “Seven Sisters” done in the late 19th century by the architect Stanford White. They are perched on a hill there like ships riding the rolling waves of the ocean.

The Parrish Art Museum in Water Mill; compelling exhibits housed in a tasteful example of restrained Modernism in the agricultural vernacular of the Hamptons, designed by the architectural firm of Herzog & de Meuron.

The First Presbyterian Church in Sag Harbor, also known as the Old Whalers’ Church. Go see what remains of the original Egyptian-influenced steeple tower and make a donation to the restoration fund.

The Peter Cook AIA, Architect office is located at 728 Montauk Highway in Water Mill.

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