Make Way for the Davinci Haus

Rapid construction, locked-in price
Punit Chugh and Anjali Gupta display a model of a premade wall. Below, this modernist Davinci Haus was custom designed. Durell Godfrey

If you have traveled on Montauk Highway, going in and out of Bridgehampton during the last six months, you may have noticed and wondered about white posts standing off to the side of the property just east of the Bridgehampton Inn. 

Punit Chugh and Anjali Gupta, a husband-and-wife team who own Aman Developers, have recently won approval from Southampton Town to build what they say is a minimalistic structure that will showcase the type of construction technology they offer. The posts outline the space on which they plan to start building this month.

The new office will be an example of the Aman Developers’ work. As the exclusive representative of Germany’s Davinci Haus in the United States, Aman is introducing passive home technology that provides a custom-engineered house with architect-designed style and floor plans, along with rapid construction, for a locked-in price. It is called a smart haus. 

These passive houses have a rigorous standard for energy efficiency, which reduces their ecological footprint. Germany was the first to meet the demand for such energy efficient concepts, developing techniques that were eventually brought to this country. The price is $350 a square foot, which is typical of most houses here, and the cost goes up based on finishings. The savings is in the locked-in price once the contract is signed, whereas with other houses there always are contingencies. 

“This is the Tesla of homes,” Mr. Chugh said while showing designs for a specific Davinci Haus known as the beach house, created with an oceanfront view in mind. It has high-performing insulation, air-tight envelopes, energy recovery ventilation, and high-performance triple-glaze windows. 

In addition to reducing the energy required for heating and cooling and having the cost fixed in advance, a smart haus has a shorter building time. “There’s uncertainty that comes into play when building a house — typically a two-year building window,” Mr. Chugh said. But a smart haus can be built, from start to finish, in 28 weeks. The house is made watertight in 10 days, which is one reason why it comes with a three-year warranty as opposed to a more traditional one-year warranty. “You won’t lose a season of not being able to live in the Hamptons,” Mr. Chugh said. 

The new part of the Aman Developers office is just 15-by-15-feet square. There is no bathroom or kitchen. 

“The site, the mature beech trees and the landscape around, called for a structure that looked organic and built respecting the landscape,” Mr. Chugh said. The space will be three feet above the ground, with a reflection pool beneath it. Built on nine helical piles, its thin white columns will contrast with the darker trunks of trees nearby. The exterior will be white and gray with glass, and a natural stone copper Bahama roof. 

“The size was intentionally small and the clearly defined lines of the space with its raised platform provides a vision of a floating structure amid the nature-perfect setting.” he said.

The square-sized office addition is on a diagonal axis so that it can be viewed from the street. Its direction is meant to make it seem inviting. The couple call the area around it a “pocket park,” noting that those walking or driving along the street now find most of the buildings right up against the walkways. Their existing office is the only one set back — 80 feet. “There’s no place to find a peaceful moment,” Mr. Chugh said. 

The location was also key to the design. Situated close to the highway, the multilayered wall system will help create a noise buffer. They are made in Germany and shipped here in containers. “We want to show that you can shut out the traffic,” he said. 

When Mr. Chugh was investigating Davinci Haus, he traveled to Germany and spent a night in one of the company’s show houses. “It was eerily quiet. You couldn’t hear anything.” 

The couple hope their office will be a showcase for their work. “With the design studio, we’re hoping to show the value of our construction.” 

Aman Developers’ new office will be in a Davinci Haus to the east of the traditional building that is its office now. State-of-the-art technology will reduce the carbon footprint. Bill Chaleff of Chaleff and Rogers
The Eden Mountain Estate in the Swiss Alps is a Davinci Haus.