A two-hour drive from Manhattan, deep in the forest that blankets the banks of the Hudson River, sits a very special contemporary house. S3 Architecture has worked closely with Aston Martin Design to create Sylvan Rock, an innovative residential compound in New York's Hudson Valley. The result is a modernist mansion, an elegant structure of timber, glass and steel embedded in the contours of the land.
Designed by Christopher Dierig and Doug Maxwell at Manhattan-based S3 Architecture, the house is completely integrated into its surroundings, 55 acres of beautiful wooded landscape. Maxwell and Dierig worked alongside Aston Martin Design to add bespoke elements to the house, including a spectacular garage space, all reached via a showcase drive.
Rhinebeck is a small town with a reputation for discretion and disconnection from the bustle of nearby New York City. "Sylvan Rock offers a reimagined modern lifestyle," says Maxwell. "It is a residence with a strong connection to nature, multi-use structures for extended-stay guests and natural recreation, as well as wellness at the core of the vision. The result is truly unique." The structure is built atop a rocky bluff, with the plan rising up from the entrance at the lower ground floor level.
"The roofline mimics the jagged edges of the rock ledge reaching down into the earth, as if the home is born of and launching from the landscape," Dierig says. "You approach the house via a drive through the landscape, past rock walls and through a small gorge before you see the house for the first time, silhouetted against the trees - it's a very dramatic presentation. You then effectively drive into a hidden lair in the rock to reach the garage."
The cave-like canopy created by the roof leads to an impressive entrance stairwell with a custom-designed light installation. This entrance level also contains the home office and lounge, together with a wine cellar and an automotive gallery for three cars. The lounge is separated from the cars by the glass-walled wine cellar, with racking created from Aston Martin Design's signature cross-hatched lattice work, sandwiched between two layers of glass. The principle reception rooms are at eye level with the forest, with living, dining and kitchen areas all available furnished with pieces from the Aston Martin Home Collection by Italian manufacturer Formitalia. A separate hot tub, sauna and gym are housed in their own pavilion, linked by a glazed walkway, alongside an external pool and raised terrace. Luxury finishes throughout include lighting by Flos, Havwoods flooring and millwork by Poliform, blending modern lines with natural materials and textures.
Upstairs are four bedrooms, with the master bedroom occupying a cantilevered wing that reaches out over the trees, giving far-reaching views across the valley. Sylvan Rock offers 8,430sq ft of accommodation and the plot includes three 525sq ft guest "pods", each with a bedroom, sitting area and bathroom. There's also scope for a custom-designed treehouse retreat.
With its façades of glass and blackened timber, Sylvan Rock is a bold piece of architectural sculpture, an object that reflects the surrounding forest. The winding 2,000ft driveway makes its way through the contours and ridges of the landscape, from which Sylvan Rock rises up among the trees like a natural geological outcrop.
"The house is revealed just like you experience one of our cars - there is no single façade that dominates," says Cathal Loughnane, Head of Aston Martin Partnerships. "As you approach the house, we wanted the owner and their guests to experience the three-dimensional feel of it in an organic way."
This interview is an extract from an article featured in the AM46 issue of Aston Martin magazine, out now. If you're not already a subscriber, visit magazine.astonmartin.com/magazine-subscription so that you can read the full story.