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Architect: STEVEN ROBINSON, 1976.

As described by architect Steven Robinson, “This ecologically pioneering, year round vacation house is nestled in the sand dunes of the barrier beach. The profile of the house follows the natural forms of the dunes and accommodates an array of climatically responsive strategies. The exterior cedar walls blend into the beach palette.

The sloping north wall reduces winter heat loss; the south façade provides glass walls for passive solar heating, active solar collectors for water and swimming pool heating and overhangs for summer shading. An innovative thermal draft-inducer ventilates and cools the house naturally. All human and organic waste is collected in an anaerobic composting system and recycled as fertilizer for the eroding dune grasses.”

Its client was a colorful figure named George Davison-Ackley, a lawyer and businessman from a prominent banking family who also maintained a palatial city residence at the Dakota and hobnobbed with Jacqueline Onassis. He was profiled in Life at the Dakota: New York’s Most Unusual Address: “George Davison-Ackley is the kind of fellow who complains that his telephone rings so much it drives him to distraction, and yet maintains six separate listings….He is also the kind of man who, each time he pours himself a fresh martini, pours it into a fresh Baccarat glass.”

A subsequent owner, advertising executive Peter Rogers, was no less colorful. He oversaw the iconic Blackglama campaign that asked readers “What Becomes a Legend Most?” The stars got to keep the fur that they wore for the shoot. Claudette Colbert, the only subject to appear twice for Blackglama, was a frequent visitor to Rogers’ home. 

Color house images: Steven Robinson. George Davison-Ackley portrait: Charles Steiner. Black and white house image, Blackglama image, and background: courtesy FIPHPS.

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