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Profile

LineSync Architecture

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n September 1988, just as the real estate market went bust, a couple founded their architectural practice in the no-stop-light town of Whitinghm, Vermont. Fourteen years later, their practice thrives in a new studio behind their 1860’s farmhouse in nearby Wilmington Vermont; they have five employees, interesting projects, and a number of awards. They believe the guiding force for their success is the implementation of various philosophies: having art in everyday life, promoting teamwork, believing that integrity in design is its own validation, and daring to make a difference. LineSync Architecture is the integration of both the names and talents

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of Julie Lineberger and Joseph Cincotta. Mr. Cincotta was born in Queens, New York, the son of a building contractor; Ms. Lineberger is a third-generation Californian, the daughter of an entrepreneur. He is the eldest of four children, while she is the eldest of three. Brooklyn Tech met UC San Diego in graduate school at Harvard, and their ambitions led them to distant places like the Sultanate of Oman and Thailand. After several

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years they returned to the United States to create something for themselves and their family in Vermont. Vermont appealed to the couple for many reasons. First of all, Vermonters are more driven by practicality than glamour. There is an innate distrust of things contrived and, more importantly, a strong appreciation for things of natural beauty. The idea was to create architecture “as good as my grandmother's tomato sauce,� in the words of Mr. Cincotta. It wins devotees by its simple seduction of all the senses, and no amount of intellectual jargon is necessary for its enjoyment. The goal is to create spaces with direct appeal that do not 00


require explanation. If LineSync Architecture's architectural approach were to be described with one word, it would be integrative. It is not one object next to another, but a unified statement. The Pool Grotto When a couple with young children purchased a home that had been designed by LineSync Architecture in 1994, they contacted the firm to request an addition. They wanted to build an enclosed pool to the side of the house to take advantage of magnificent lake views in the distance. To minimize the impact of this sizable addition to an already large home, Mr. Cincotta conceived the pool as a separate world apart from the house: a world of water, a Grotto. Utilizing a space carved out of the solid rock adjacent to that on which the house rests, an alternate subterranean world was created. Originally conceived as a place to entertain their employees for corporate functions, the Pool Grotto —an intimate indoor complex of pool, slide, jacuzzi, sauna, steam room, and 00

January/February/March 2003

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bar— evolved beautifully into a place for family recreation and fun for the owners’ and their children. The structure is partially nestled underground, is open to lake views from the back side, and boasts a “living roof” where wild strawberries will grow in sight from the kitchen windows. From the entry side of the home, the grotto structure is not perceptible except for the shallow vault of the roof —a subtle bulge in the landscape which will soon be further disguised by vegetation. The Pool Grotto was inspired by the basic elements of Fire, Earth, Air, and Water. To achieve the essence of the Grotto, Mr. Cincotta held rigorously to a palette of basic materials: stone, wood, and glass. Special care was taken in choosing materials that address the demands of pool humidity. Massive tapered stone piers provide support for an elegant arched canopy of glue-laminated wood girders and purlins. Door and window frames are constructed of mahogany. Infilling the spaces between piers are single panes of glass, leading the eye out to trees and the land sloping down to a lake. To transition from the house to the pool, a door leads visitors into a changing room clad in the same luminous stone they will soon discover in the Grotto. The first thing that is apparent is a change in axis; visitors are directed diagonally away from the house, signaling that they have entered a different space connecting to something new. Three spaces separated by partitions of polished stone offer a changing area, shower, and basin carved from a single slab of the same stone. On the opposite wall a tactile, hand-carved mahogany bench crafted by noted wood artist Eric Sprenger invites a brief rest and foreshadows the relaxation the Grotto is meant to induce. From the changing room visitors are led through a corridor towards the stair tower, where windows on both sides make a connection to outside. It is here that one is aware of having left the main house and of passing to the new space. After one flight of stairs down, a porthole from the landing reveals the mystery as it looks onto the Pool Grotto. Visitors descend another

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flight of stairs to find themselves in front of a curving stone slab bar, festively lit by multicolored pendant lamps and backed by a wall of cedar siding. When one passes between two of the stone piers that create an entryway into the pool area, the reaction that is elicited without exception is one of amazement. The space is at once cozy and majestic. Something about the solidity and natural feel of the surrounding stone walls coupled with the continuous motion of water as is spills

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over an invisible edge at the foot of the pool and reappears at the top of the graceful slide, while encircling the bubbling hot tub, makes one feel comfortable and at peace. In daytime sunlight washes the water's surface and splashes across the walls. The apse area that would otherwise feel dark and enclosed by comparison is accented by a circular skylight directly overhead. After dark, electric lighting designed for the main vaulted space uplights the wood ceiling using a warm light in the east and a cooler

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archways, and satin and polished tile in “Galaxy” pattern for some low walls and secondary rooms. The negative edge spillway at the foot of the pool was laid as rough stone and polished to the desired curve. A light, smooth grotto floor comprised of a German fossil limestone tile sets off the schist and has the appearance and texture of fine sand. Expert stone mason Keith Thomas organized five 2man crews, working simultaneously at the height of the building process, to lay the stone in various areas. Designing the Pool Grotto to have particular experiential qualities presented challenges, many of which were overcome by the use of detailed 3D modeling produced by LineSync Architecture on VectorWorks software. The renderings helped the team visualize the effect of light on the space and provided assurance that the design could achieve the intended result. The most impressive achievement of this ambitious project was the harmonious integration of the work of tradespeople of many different fields light in the west —mimicking the light in the natural sky. One can relax in a chair next to a stone pier or step into the glass-enclosed steam room or cedar-lined sauna between piers. At the end wall at the foot of the pool, sliding glass doors can be fully opened to take advantage of good weather and the stone-paved patio. Along each of the side walls are remote-operated clerestory windows to improve ventilation. A small powder room —or powder “dungeon” as the owner playfully calls it— is tucked away in a back corner under a stone arch, actually making it an adventure to visit. The stone used for the walls and piers of the Grotto is a type similar to the native Vermont schist that was excavated for the project. The nearby quarry of Ashfield Stone, L.L.C., provided Mica Garnet Schist, a rock with remarkable variegation and a subtle iridescent sparkle. A geologist’s report indicated that the only location outside of this area where this type of stone can be found is in Argentina. Two finishes of the schist were used in the project: a snapped face veneer for the major surfaces of walls, piers and 00

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Building Stone Magazine


of expertise, and their evident pride in the work they produced. The project demanded a high level of sophistication of construction, to which the general contractor, Wallace Construction, responded eagerly and competently. Stone masons, electrical, mechanical, landscaping, living roof, pool contractors, and many others followed suit. The concrete forms required for the especially thick walls and the apse, the curving retaining wall at the head of the pool, were non-standard and required the skill of a concrete contractor who normally works on large commercial and highway projects. Equally as sophisticated was the process of creating the cavity for the Grotto, as the rock had to be blasted to within inches of the existing house. The contractor did the job with precision; a video taken in and around the house. before and after the dynamite. revealed no adverse effect on the house. Mechanical systems were specially designed using radiant tubing and air ducts running beneath the slab to reduce humidity in the pool environment, and actually to heat the space

through dehumidification. It is the combined effort of all team members that deserves the credit for the success of this project. Other Projects In addition to the Pool Grotto, LineSync Architecture is currently working on designing the offices of capital management firm R.G. Niederhoffer located at 1700 Broadway in New York City. The 39th floor office incorporates an internet based trading floor with a custom monitor rack system and faceted glass office partition wall. In Vermont, LineSync Architecture just completed a solar straw bale home for a couple and their children who had a strong desire to live off the grid. Mr. Cincotta designed a simple post frame structure of heavy timbers wrapped with a thick, insulating straw bale wall to accommodate the couple’s respective businesses on the lower floor and their home above. LineSync Architecture maintains offices at 14 Castle Hill, Wilmington, Vermont 05363.


Pool Grotto Credits: LineSync Architecture: Architect and Designer - Joseph Cincotta, AIA Management - Julie Lineberger 3D CAD & Design - Sabine Dickel, Michael White, Jonas Schaefer Interior Design - Annick Porter, ASID Research & Design - Amy Seek Support Staff - MaryAnne White, Elin Westrick Wallace Construction - General Contractor: Management : Mark Wallace, Kristen Wallace, Jim Lynch Trades: Allyn, Art, Chris, Glenn, Rich Subcontractors: Electrical: Ward Electric; Dover, VT Mechanical: Encompass Mechanical Services; Williston, VT Plumbing: Mountain Plumbing and Heating; Manchester, VT Stone Mason: Keith Thomas Masonry; Newfane, VT Stone supplier-schist: Ashfield Stone, L.L.C.; Ashfield, MA Stone supplier-floor: Solnhofen Natural Stone, Inc.; Germany Masonry Installation Systems: Laticrete International, Inc.* Landscaping: Creative Landscaping; Putney, VT Painting & Drywall: Froment Painting and Drywall; Wilmington, VT Pool Consultants: Aqua Pool and Patio; East Windsor, CT Slide: Summit USA; CA Glue-Laminated Beams: Unadilla; Yarmouth, ME Master Wood Craftsman: Eric Sprenger; Wilmington, VT Excavator: Lawrence ©¯Coop©˜ Bills; Dover, Vermont Blasting: Key Drilling and Blasting; Springfield, MA Eagle Windows and Doors; Hatfield, MA Custom Glass: May-Jon Glass; Bennington, VT Concrete: William E. Dailey, Inc.; Bennington, VT Hawk Mountain Iron Works; Springfield, VT LIghting Design: Michael Bareece, Line Associates; Chicago, IL Lighting Manufacturers: Bega; Carpinteria, CA and Elliptipar; Westhaven, CT Living Roof Consultant: Garland Roofing; NH Cleaning: Larry Brown; Dover, VT Finlandia Sauna; Portland, OR Wilmington Home Center; Wilmington, VT WW Building Supply; Wilmington, VT *Special thanks go to Laticrete International, Inc., for their generous technical advice and superior quality projects. Without the Laticrete team©ˆs assistance, such excellence in masonry construction could not have been achieved

Building Stone Magazine January/February/March 2003, LineSync Architecture Profile  

LineSync Architecture Building Stone Magazine January/February/March 2003 LineSync Architecture Profile

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