All photos in this post are of Sam’s Creek, Bridgehampton
THE PROLIFIC MODERN ARCHITECT NORMAN JAFFE, who died in 1993, left the Hamptons more than 50 distinctive buildings — a collection of intriguing set pieces, not easy to find. There is no map of Jaffe-designed homes; most are discreetly sited at the end of long gravel drives with “Private Property” signs and dazzling ocean views.
“Every building is a new adventure,” Jaffe said, “which must be faced without preconceptions or loyalties sworn to a style.” Which means his work is famously inconsistent, ranging from avant garde landmarks like the 1969 Becker house in Wainscott, inspired by the ruined stone castles of Britain, to the ostentatious trophy houses of his later career.
Born in Chicago in 1932, and educated at the University of Illinois Urbana and UC Berkeley, Jaffe established a practice in Bridgehampton in 1967, when potato fields still dominated the landscape.
One of his unqualified successes is a group of five low-slung late ’70s/early ’80s houses in Bridgehampton called Sam’s Creek, nestled on one-acre lots and separated by landscaped berms. At Sam’s Creek, Jaffe seemed to be channeling Frank Lloyd Wright, transposing the horizontal stacked planes of Fallingwater to the Long Island dunes. Sam’s Creek happens to be on the map; I took a ride recently to see for myself.
Some subdivision, huh?