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Jul 17, 2012 12:07 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Machado & Silvetti Associates Shares Ideas For Southampton Center Building

Jul 18, 2012 9:53 AM

Architect Jorge Silvetti of Boston-based Machado and Silvetti Associates introduced himself to Southampton Village Board members and village residents on Thursday night, July 12, as he and his firm have been selected by the Village Planning Commission to renovate and restore the future home of the Southampton Center on Jobs Lane, the soon-to-be-empty Parrish Art Museum.

“We are always thinking about context,” Mr. Silvetti said. “We’ve been presented to the public as experts on restoration of old buildings and renovation, but we do much more than that.”

Jumping straight into the history of the current Parrish building, Mr. Silvetti outlined different phases the structure has gone through since its construction in 1897, including features such as four types of siding, wood shingles, glazed blocks, brick and white stucco from its many additions over the years.

“They’ve done research on the building,” Mayor Mark Epley said last week. “I learned information about the building that I had never known, during their presentation.”

Out of nearly 30 firms, Machado and Silvetti was chosen based on its commitment to preservation. Mayor Epley said during a presentation to the Founders Committee, a group he formed to help shape the future of the Southampton Center, that he felt the firm had read his mind. “They understand the importance of restoring the building and the flow inside of the building,” he said.

While no plans have yet been drafted, Mr. Silvetti suggested the main entrance and way people approach the building be examined. Instead of bringing people through what is now the front door, Mr. Silvetti said there was a potential to “act in the round,” meaning there could be many entrances, especially since the building will be used for multiple purposes.

“I think the building has a lot of potential and some restrictions,” Mr. Silvetti said. “No matter what, serious technical restoration needs to be done.”

Opening the original entrance on the eastern side of the building, for example, would be a good way to increase access and reintroduce the path into the museum that Parrish Art Museum founder Samuel Parrish used to take from his home on First Neck Lane, Mr. Silvetti said.

Mr. Silvetti showed several different examples of his firm’s work, including the repurposing of the Getty Villa in Malibu, California and the Rockefeller Stone Barns in Pocantico Hills, New York.

“There are a lot of surprises always in buildings,” Mr. Silvetti said. “We don’t know what surprises are here. We’ll start working with the building first so ideas can be generated. Some programmatic ideas that were interesting at the beginning may not be possible.”

Mayor Epley said the renovation project would cost approximately $10 million, and while renovation will begin only after the Parrish Art Museum moves to its new location in Water Mill at the end of this year, exactly when the work will be done depends upon the Founders Committee’s ability to raise funds.

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