Blink and You Miss It: The Spencertown Residence

Spencertown, NY, is a church and a post office and a general store. It’s actually not even a town; it’s a hamlet. New spec and owner-built construction is common enough—a growing number of second homes are located here—but you’d hardly expect to find world-class contemporary architecture sited within minutes of the blink-and-you-miss-it main street.

The Spencertown Residence by Thomas Phifer and Partners

But it’s there and I found it. Accidentally. I knew that starchitect Thomas Phifer had designed a home in Taghkanic, NY (some 25 miles south), but I wasn’t aware of Phifer’s 2006 project in Spencertown—that is, until I spotted it from the dirt road leading right past the property.

A typical dirt road in Columbia County, NY

As quickly as the flash image of the wing-like roof disappeared from the rear view mirror, I doubted whether I’d actually seen the low-slung, unabashedly modern profile that so strongly defines the design.

The Spencertown Residence by architect Thomas Phifer

The Spencertown Residence by Thomas Phifer and Partners

There’s much to admire about it (this weekend home that I later discovered to be The Spencertown Residence); there are details I see now that, going by in a car, I never would have recognized or appreciated. But as an architecture lover, I can’t help commenting that it’s a special experience to encounter—even, or especially, fleetingly—a beautiful building in a beautiful place just when and where you’d never expect it to be.

The Spencertown Residence by architect Thomas Phifer

The Spencertown Residence by Thomas Phifer and Partners

For more contemporary homes and house tours, consider:
Home Sweet Container
House Tour: Hudson Passive Project 
Aviation Aesthetics: Second Flights for Salvaged Aircraft