Get to Know Architect Deborah Berke
East Hampton native and architect Deborah Berke has been responsible for the design of many private residences and projects in the Hamptons area, including the Derby Lane House and renovation of the BookHampton space. Read on to learn more about this female architect in our recent interview:
How did you get into architecture?
I had a childhood friend who was a couple of years older and had started architecture school at Cooper Union. He and I would walk the streets of our neighborhood in Queens at night, and look at all the different houses.
We’d figure out, based on the outside and what lights were on, how they were laid out on the inside – in effect we were relating elevation and inventing plans in our heads. That activity made me happy – we would do it night after night after night, so eventually I thought, 'I want to be an architect.'
What are some of your favorite milestones from your career?
I generally prefer to look ahead rather than dwell on the past. I think we’re working on some great things right now, including The Women’s Building, a global hub for women’s organizations, two new residential colleges at Princeton, which will allow the institution to grow in a sustainable way, and an amazing art center in New Haven with the brilliant artist Titus Kaphar. We’ve got great things ahead.
Tell us about the project with BookHampton! How did this come about?
The owner of BookHampton is one of my close friends and a client and we’ve both always shared a love of books. In 2016, we collaborated to dramatically redesign BookHampton after she bought the shop, and I couldn’t be more pleased to work with them again. The 40 East End library seemed like the perfect opportunity to get BookHampton involved to select the books. I hope the residents in the building will really use and enjoy it.
What does luxury mean to you?
I think the real estate industry overuses the word luxury. For me, it’s important to live in a place that reflects who you are, how you and your family live, and how you want to live in the future. I believe that being sensitive to the site and the landscape is one of the most important things when designing a house, and that orienting a house toward light and views creates spaces that are humane and affirming.
How would you describe your work?
Our work is modern, restrained, place-specific, and human-centered.