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HGX Design’s Illuminating Approach Harnesses Light to Define Boundaries

April 29, 2024

HGX Design, a firm engaged in select projects of varying scale for commercial, hospitality, and residential clients, proudly introduces Hudson Valley Residence, a ground-up home built on a ridge overlooking the Catskill Mountains.

The home was commissioned for a client with multiple residences who envisioned a retreat providing scenic views of the surrounding mountains, serenity, and a gathering place for family. The centerpiece of a 35-acre property, the elongated home runs from north to south on the highest point of the property, with views of the mountain range to the west.

Set among the rolling hills of primarily rural farmland, access to Hudson Valley Residence II winds its way up a hillside to a front entry court on top of a ridge. Expansive glass paneling immediately draws attention into the home, while simultaneously framing the mountainous horizon beyond. In contrast to the vertical ascent, and the massive verticality of the mountain range to the west, the home itself extends horizontally along the entirety of the ridge. Comprised of a series of utilitarian, simple form buildings with a repetitive vertical rhythm, the home’s elongated footprint is reminiscent of the long, low-lying characteristics of agricultural buildings that dot the surrounding regional landscape.

“There are many ways to form relationships with nature, including by juxtaposing or by blending in,” says Hal Goldstein, AIA, Founder and Creative Director of HGX. “After exploring multiple design possibilities, we decided to embrace this project as a sort of typology of its own, without any preconceptions of what that typology must look like.”

Hal Goldstein, AIA, Founder and Creative Director of HGX

A seamless blend of earth and sky

Custom-stained external cedar siding, a classic and durable material, provides an inspirational nod to the character of the home’s agricultural neighbors. The siding harmoniously blends with 13-foot glass panels that provide the home with breathtaking transparency, and the materials interact with the sun to capture the colors of the surrounding earth and sky.

“The house meets the sky in a very minimal way, while remaining lightly seated on the ground,” notes Goldstein of HGX Designs. “It’s a predictable system that flows like a piece of music, with subtle tone-on-tone interactions with the elements that bring the colors and material palette to life throughout the day.”

Devoid of any roof overhang, the cedar siding, the glass panels, and their interactions with the elements collectively ensure minimal separation between the interior and exterior, and contribute greatly to the ambiance of the residence. On hot, sunny days, natural light filters through the expansive windows to interact with the silvery wash of the interior’s custom-stained walnut flooring, infusing cooler accents of blue into the interior. At night, or when the weather outside is cooler, warmer tones emerge from the color and material palette.

Through its floor-to-ceiling windows, and an elongated skylight, the home is laid out to capture morning sunlight from the east, and the setting sun to the west, helping define distinct spaces within a wide-open floorplan.

“Daylight casts shadows throughout the home, creating natural separations and boundaries that provide a sense of privacy in the smartly designed spaces,” explains Goldstein. “Privacy is created by distance, and every step of that distance presents a unique moment, whether it be a view, a piece of art, or a ray of light projecting onto a wall.”

Hal Goldstein, AIA, Founder and Creative Director of HGX

Transparent boundaries

The intimacy of the home’s smartly laid out spaces defy the traditional expectations of an open plan, with 11.5-foot ceilings throughout. Each space is just one-room deep, or approximately 28 feet wide, injecting a uniform purity into the totality of the volumes. Separations are defined by sunlight during the day, and artificial light at night, and the free-flowing spaces benefit from airflow from east to west, as well as north to south. There are no barriers to the visual or physical flow of the home, and a series of internal textures, including brickwork and exposed ceiling beams, further soak up the elements to introduce their unique interactive qualities.

Bookended by a master suite at one end of the home, and a series of three guest accommodations at the other, the interior includes a dining room, a kitchen, and a living room in the central portion, as well as a basement with a gym and media room, and a garage. Weaving through the central living spaces, select works of art from the client’s private collection are strategically positioned to provide surprises at every turn.

Distinctions of light

In the evening, the home’s external façade blends into its surrounding environment, while the interior comes to life like a carefully curated gallery. A warm glow emanates from pools of light within the larger volumes, creating focal points that extend beyond the spaces they occupy to greet visitors arriving from the external entry court.

Artificial lighting is kept to a minimum, with recessed lighting focusing on the art, walls, and centers of activity within the house. Between the living spaces, lighting levels drop off, further contributing to perceptions of separation between a series of intimately lit spaces. A few decorative fixtures are also strategically placed to provide added focus and intimacy to the spaces they illuminate.

“The land, the views, and the architecture combine in ways that contribute to a very spiritual place,” concludes Hal Goldstein, Founder of HGX Designs. “The overall flow is truly musical, like individual notes of a musical composition, which was the goal of our work from the beginning.”

Project Info 

Project Name: Hudson Valley Residence

Location: Germantown, New York, United States

Design/Architecture Firm: HGX DESIGN

Typology: Private Residential

Project Start (month/year): Jan 2018

Project Completed (month/year): Jan 2022

Total area: 7,300 sq. ft.  (5,200 upper floor + 2,100 lower level)

Photographer credits: Scott Frances with aerial shots by Peter Aaron

Team & Collaborators 

Managing Partner(s): Hal Goldstein

Creative Director: Hal Goldstein

Lead Designers/Architects: Hal Goldstein/Stefan Kusurelis

Contractors: CofH Builders Inc.

Constructors: Pete Mostaccio

Engineers: DiSalvo Erickson (Structural Engineers), Crawford Associates (Civil Engineers)

Landscape architects: Wagner Hodgson

Lighting consultant: Claude R. Engle Lighting Consultant

Mechanical: Crawford Associates

Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning: Crawford Associates

Materials & Suppliers 

Exterior Siding: Custom Stained Red Cedar Siding

Doors & Windows: OPEN AWD (Windows and Glass System)

Wood Flooring: Sullivan Source

Masonry: Consolidated Brick

Stone and Tile: Karen Pearse Global

Lighting fixtures: Erco (architectural – recessed), David Weeks (Chandelier), Via Bizzuno (Decorative), Meshmatics (Chandelier)

Bathroom fixtures: Fantini, Toto

Furniture: B&B & Italia, Vitra, Cassina, Via Bizzuno, Mark, Albrecht, BDDW, Espasso

Rugs: Fort Street Studio

Kitchen: Arclinea

Shade System: J-Geiger

About HGX Design

Founded in 2020 by Hal Goldstein, HGX Design is a New York City-based creative studio grounded in the fundamentals of architecture and design. Intuitive enough to improvise, the studio adapts those principles and practices to each of its projects, whether urban and rural, for corporate, commercial, and residential clients.

With more than 30 years of experience designing and managing a wide range of projects, Hal Goldstein’s professional background in architecture, structural engineering, construction management, and interior design forms the basis of HGX’s collaborative approach. With offices in New York City and Bridgehampton, HGX Design’s mission is focused on creating spaces that inspire human connection and fulfillment.

More information available here

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