At the heart of the firm’s work, no matter the scale, is a thoroughly resolved and researched logic, albeit one that is often shrouded in mystery. In the case of the main house, Young tailored what was essentially an orthogonal courtyard plan to the nuances of the site—raising that timber volume one story up, above the 100-year floodplain, and cranking its form to preserve trees and embrace scenery. (The primary suite, for instance, juts out for 270-degree views.) The roof—“sculptural and sinuous, like you’re pulling a thread”—belies its own underlying reasoning. Constructed from 160 unique scissor trusses, jack trusses, and rafters, its peaks rise at bedrooms and flatten at outdoor gathering areas, helping to coax breezes.
Rather than add traditional downspouts at the low points along the roofline, where rainwater pools, Young devised a series of ghostlike channels using off-the-shelf, stainless-steel mesh. Reminiscent of Ruth Asawa sculptures, these ethereal columns, which double as structures for climbing plants, hint at the material innovations that have underpinned Young’s work to date. “There’s always a research component,” he notes. “For each project, we try to unpack what goes into generating a given material, asking how we might use it to construct what we call a productive ambiguity.” Or in other words, a special something to induce double takes.
In the Dominican Republic, for instance, Young gathered stems from felled palm fronds into formwork for the main house’s concrete base, leaving a dynamic if unrecognizable texture (rather than the wood grain so often left by boards). But nowhere is the sense of mystery as heightened as at the Glitch House. “On the one hand, this structure has the most alien quality,” reflects Young. “On the other hand, it’s made from the most commonplace elements.” The form itself is constructed out of basic cinder blocks, overlapped at times to create a jagged silhouette. Young covered all the façades in standard, locally made, eight-by-eight encaustic tile, enlivened with his own carefully mapped pattern of quarter-circle arcs. “The tile works in concert with the relief and with the interference of light and shadow to create this glitchy visual phenomenon,” Young notes of the house’s name. “We’re using everyday materials in a provocative way for a radical language to emerge.”
Since it was completed, in 2020, the property has fulfilled its promise of total escapism, hosting blissful weekends for the clients’ extended inner circle. Spread out among the three structures, as many as 40 people can gather at a time, coming together in the main house’s airy ground-floor living spaces or retreating to the myriad alfresco lounges for privacy. Beachside, by the pool, a pavilion has served as a lunch terrace, a yoga deck, a DJ booth, and a dance floor. Says Young, simply: “This place parties really well.”